The Gold Souk in Dubai is pure extravagance. Curiously, no rose gold nor platinum is visible. Just pure yellow gold in every shape and form with an aim to make royalty of the common man (and woman). I don't like wearing jewellery, so, while neat to see, I really had no interest in purchasing anything. Besides, as one of the only visible tourists in the area at this hour, the touts had honed in en masse.
"Je n'ai pas parlez anglais" I would state repeatedly and walked on, thankful that my years of French study have paid off in the memorization of at least one useful phrase.
I wandered until I stumbled upon the Perfume Souk, which is less a market atmosphere and more just a bunch of fragrance retailers in close proximity to one another. I love perfume and wear it daily, never truly feeling like myself without it. Having said that, I am rather boring. I like smelling "fresh"; certainly not floral and definitely not musky, which is too strong for me, In the Middle East, the latter reigns supreme. Fragrances are heavily aromatic and lean towards earthy topnotes such as sandalwood, amber and oud. The bottles that hold them are intricately designed and embellished, like jewellery for one's nightstand. I regret that I didn't find anything to satisfy my olfactory sense but it was fun to window shop and just breathe in the air of the area.
From the Perfume Souk, I then made my way to the Spice Souk to overdose on yet more scent. There were no touts here, just curious shop owners making every attempt to sell me saffron.
"I don't know how to cook" I would reply.
This was enough to stop them dead in their pitch, pausing for a moment to quizzically look me over and ponder which planet I was visiting from.
From Deira, the metro stopped at Dubai Mall enroute back to my hotel. I decided to check it out, less for the shopping and moreso to take photography of the Burj Khalifa from its base (the tallest building in the world is adjacent to this largest shopping centre in the world). Following the herd who were also getting off, I made my way down a long – SUPER long (seriously, I cannot stress how long this was) - walkway into the mall proper. It was good exercise. Thank God, it was air conditioned. There were moving walkways but I decided not to take advantage of them as I was traveling faster than the hordes casually using their service.
Searching through the mall for about an hour or so, I couldn't find an exit. I did find a café serving camel milk lattés, as well as a fast food joint curiously specializing only in corn-on-the-cob. I also found a Japanese bookstore where I purchased several flip animation books to add to my growing collection. This was a win but my feet were getting sore and I decided to give up. Perhaps people live in the mall?, I thought to myself. I can't get IN the other one and I can't get OUT of this one. What are the fire codes like here?
Back at the hotel, defeated, I met with my friend who had spent the afternoon nursing jetlag. She had also stopped in Dubai Mall on the way back from the Souks. "Hey – did you see how to get out of the mall to access the Burj?", she asked.