We again got up early in the morning but this time there was no usual hurry(even my friend Shubhankar felt at peace that morning). It was going to be a full day at the beach and we got totally engrossed in the vacation mode. This time we didn't even take a shower as we had a plan to bath in the sea whenever the sun would show up. A sunny day was in the forecast and we just couldn't wait for our fun to begin, so we quickly popped out of our room with backpacks stuffed with towels and pairs of extra clothing.
We were happy to leisurely amble on the beach and allow the fresh sea breeze to seduce our senses with its soft gusty sounds and aromatic scents. We also saw many locals jogging with great energy along the sea and some children playing football on the damp sand close to the sea. It was still quite early and tourists had not yet populated the beach area, it would be a territory of the local Dubai people for 1 more hour until hordes of tourist buses and cabs start to line up in the parking zone. We just kept going without stopping until my travel buddy spotted a red Ferrari parked nearby and he went berserk as usual. I knew what I had to do and I quickly shot several of his pictures from all angles, showed him the pics for his consent, immediately got them approved and then we moved on towards the other end of the beach, close to Burj Al Arab. We came to know that there are many sections of JB(Jumeirah Beach) like Kite Beach, Surfing Beach etc which are reserved for specific activities like Jet ski, para-sailing, kite flying, surfing, bathing and the like.
After having walked the full length of the beach, we turned back and started moving towards the bathing and relaxing area. The sun was out and it was shining as if it was promising a perfect beach day for us. People had also started pouring in and the beach was slowly coming to life with life guards taking their position on vantage points, guides bringing out their water sports equipment and some over enthusiastic folks already jumping in the water here and there.
Once at the bathing section of the beach, we looked for a clean and safe space and then we quickly spread out the beach mat on the sand, just a few steps from the inviting sea water. We set up all the necessary things on the mat, took off our clothes, popped out the SPF onto our skins generously(we are so brown already, we don't wanna get charred with excess tanning) and were all geared up to test the waters of the Persian Gulf that seemed to welcome us with open arms. We had a nice and quiet time in the water, clicking pictures, admiring the backdrop formed by the towering 7 star property(Burj Al Arab), swimming in shallow and sometimes deeper waters and happily watching the crowd doing all sorts of funny things around us. After spending quite some time there, we popped out of the water, changed into a comfortable set of beach clothes after a brief shower and were ready to go to some place that could satisfy our starving souls.
As we moved in the direction of Burj Al Arab, we were sure to find some good restaurants to choose from in the area. There was Jumeirah Beach Hotel hosting several delightful cafes and restaurants like Jamie's Italian and I am really fond of Italian but my friend wanted to try something more local and hard to come by back in India and he definitely had a point, so we passed by the hotel and continued with our food search. Next we saw a Turkish Cafe called Sultan Baba Iskender Restaurant and it had awesome traveler ratings on the net, so we decided to try some authentic Turkish cuisine that afternoon. The ambiance was lively, light soulful Mediterranean music was playing and the food was very authentic indeed. They also served us some complementary Turkish Tea post lunch and that gesture surely won our hearts(kehete hein naa, peit ke saath saath neeyat bhi poori bhar gayi :D ).
Turkish Tea, a cherry on top of our lunch
Now we were feeling so refreshed and upbeat that we felt like walking in the whole of Dubai and our wish was to soon become a reality. Uber didn't work for some reason, buses didn't stop or the desired bus route didn't turn up at any bus stop or perhaps we were a little impatient to keep waiting at one place. All these factors led us to literally walk from the Turkish place all the way to Jumeirah Madinat(a luxurious 5 star property designed in a traditional Arabic style very similar to Alladin's Agrabah city) which is open for tourists for dining, sightseeing and shopping. Our mission was to take as many pictures as possible and the architecture of the place was so breathtaking that I began to take some random pics as well(the photographer in me came alive).
We walked in the mall, by the river and along the many cafes to absorb the essence of the place. When we were done, we came out and decided to do the final thing in out itinerary, a tour of the Atlantis hotel at Palm Island(the first and one of the largest man made islands in the world). We took a cab to the Tram station that would take us to the Palm Island. Atlantis, The Palm was the last station on the line and we got off the tram and moved towards the entrance of the legendary hotel without wasting any time. There were so many shows happening all around for tourists, one of them was a live musical by the poolside where people were having a good time. We went inside the hotel and saw many designer shops and Michelin star restaurants lined up along the promenade. I saw Master-chef Gordon Ramsay's Bread Street Kitchen which I really wanted to try, alas my tummy was full.
Worth posing in front of the Atlantis, The Palm
Well we popped out of the property and clicked a few pictures of the magnificent structure that was shining like a golden fortress. We noticed that there was an entire street market along the sea shore(much like the Marine Drive in Mumbai) and took a quick glance of all the shops and eateries lined up. It was very late now and we decided to head back to Thierry's place(our host) at Jumeirah Beach. We took the return tram to the mainland and boarded a cab to our residence from there. While riding in the cab, I thought about the man made island, felt fortunate to have experienced it first hand and wondered how mankind is able to accomplish just about anything from its endurance and hard work.