Turns out we didn’t get away from the organised trips completely. We were picked up from our hotel in Dubai at 8.30 am today and then taken to a gold and precious stone souk, followed by a leather souk. Now, don’t get me wrong, I completely understand that things work differently in different countries in regards to how shop assistants behave and what is considered good customer service for them. Like for example, my dad had told me that in the Philippines there are assistants at the end of every aisle ready to help if you need it. But at the same time I think that if you work in a place that many tourists comes then maybe it would be a good idea to adjust your approach accordingly, as this would probably work out better for them in the long run.
Basically what happened, in both souks, is that as soon as we arrived the assistants were on us like vultures! I might have bought something in the jewellery souk if had been given the freedom to just look around on my own, but when someone is hanging over me telling me to look at certain things, or trying to make me try on different things it just makes me feel uncomfortable. What I really don’t understand is when we did look like we weren’t interested in anything due to them pestering us, they basically kicked us out! “Exit is that way!” I would have loved to have a look at all the jewellery they sold, and maybe even buy a little something if I had managed to get it cheap enough, since we were told they were open to bartering, but with the way they behaved I was happy to get out of there.
Just a tip if the same happens to you though; wait inside the souvenir shop! In the first souk, we walked outside, and the coach had gone somewhere else, so we couldn’t sit and wait in the coach for the rest of our group. The stop was scheduled for 1.5hr, and it did get rather warm and uncomfortable after a while. At the leather souk we just stopped inside the souvenir shop, it was still boring to have to wait, but at least it was air conditioned and we didn’t get kicked out.
After the souks the coach drove around Sharjah to show us a couple of landmarks, excuse the yellow tinge to the pictures but they were taken though the tinted coach window as the coach didn’t stop to let us off.
Again we arrived at the hotel in Ajman before we were able to check in. So we changed into our swimwear to use their facilities while we waited. This hotel is actually on the beach, which we have been looking forward to since we found out about the holiday. The first thing Paul did as he was about to run into the sea, was to step on a dead fish, which had a bone sticking out of its body! The bone went straight into his foot so he had to get checked out by a lifeguard, luckily he was fine, they put some iodine on it, but he had to wait a bit before going into the water.
Other than spend time by the pool and sea we didn’t do much today. We were going to get a taxi back to Dubai this evening, but because Phil didn’t feel great we decided to have a meal in the hotel instead. The hotel was doing an iftar buffet, so we decided to see what that was like. The food was really nice. They had all sorts, curry, pasta, rice, desserts, and just lots of different things. I love buffets, it’s the easiest way to try something new, but not feel like you’ve wasted you money if you don’t like it, because even if you don’t like one thing, there is sure to be something else that you do like.
After dinner we walked to the Fairmont Hotel next door, which is the other hotel we might have ended up at instead of Ajman Palace, and we had a drink. Ajman Palace is a “Dry” hotel, so they don’t serve alcohol but Fairmont had a really lovely bar where we could get a few drinks, and because it is low season and Ramadan it was really quiet, there was hardly anyone else there, and luckily, no one that was smoking!
For the first time on this holiday we are planning to have a lie in tomorrow! We haven’t been able to so far because we have either had plans or it has been transfer day. But tomorrow we have nothing planned, so I am looking forward to being able to just wake up naturally and get up when I feel like it. We’ve not even made plans to meet the others for breakfast, we’ll all just meet at the sunbeds when we’re all up.