Note to self: do not visit the mall on weekends.

There are some things you learn relatively quickly when living in a foreign country. The golden rule for Dubai seems to be to avoid Dubai Mall, Mall of the Emirates and IKEA on a Friday or Saturday after 12pm. Because we are suckers for punishment, we managed to fit all three into one weekend. We’ve learnt our lesson. Mall shopping – not browsing – will now be completed first thing Friday or on a weeknight, thank you very much.

In slightly cheerier news, we found a food truck festival. This was really my first experience of Dubai – apart from a lovely dinner with Andrew and Nikki, and brunch at Lime Tree Cafe – that wasn’t in a shopping mall. I was excited!

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The Fiji water lady insisted on taking our photo, so I could upload it to instagram with the hashtag #fijilovesfood. Apparently you could win a years worth of Fiji water. Matt was hoping the years supply would be provided in slightly larger bottles.

After hitting the crowds at Carrefour to purchase, amongst other things, some eggcups for James (a fellow new start), we headed back to his apartment and started the trek to Burj Park. What was apparently a 10 minute walk on Google maps turned out to be slightly longer than expected. After walking straight through a busy construction site with diggers and trucks ready to take us out (no health and safety issues here!), we managed to take a very longwinded route to the park. In related news – Nikki kindly asked me to the Dubai Opera next week, which I can see out of our apartment window. I’ve said yes, as long as she knows how to actually get us there.

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Dubai Opera, you are so close, and yet so far away.

The food truck festival was actually pretty cool. Eat the World DXB is part of the Dubai Food Festival 2017, which runs until 11th March 2017. Because it was quite cold outside (it even rained.. quelle horreur!) it was very quiet, and we even got a seat. Given the lack of alcohol, it was a rather dignified affair compared to the events back home. There was even a falcon, complete with little hat, perched on its owners arm. My first falcon sighting! I’m not really sure why you would need to bring your pet falcon to a food truck festival, but hey, I enjoyed it. Matt and James sampled some epic looking toasted cheese sandwiches and chicken burgers, whereas I had a BBQ beef roll and some disgusting looking yellow cheesy fries.

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They were actually delicious. I’m guessing those fries contained very little actual cheese, considering I fared well after eating.

We also tasted some tempting local popcorn. It was overpriced.. everything here is. But it was a nice way to kill a few hours, there was entertainment, and it felt good not to be in the mall.

But, because we just love the mall so very much, we went there next.

It was teeming with people, because the Dubai fountains were about to do their next show of the night. We tried to grab the things we needed in a hurry, but there is no real way of doing ‘things in a hurry’ in Dubai – particularly when it can take 30 minutes to get from one end of the mall to the other. I only lost my rag about, say, five times until we finally climbed into a taxi to go back to the hotel. I need to learn to be more patient – those malls are very testing when they are that busy.

In happier news, we get into our apartment on Tuesday. We are both looking forward to saying farewell to the horrible bed at the hotel, and the terrible Indian music played by our hotel neighbors for the last two nights (who thankfully appear to have checked out). Matt went to check on the painters tonight, and informs me they have, in fact, painted the place white. We’ll have curtains in a weeks time, and Matt has his residency card. We are slowly making progress.

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