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susan smitten

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Where we buy our toiletries [Jul. 4th, 2006|05:28 am]
susan smitten
doc_cathode wanted to see where we buy our toiletries and food. The truth is, I buy most of our toiletries in England, Thailand, Singapore, and New York. But when we buy toiletries in Dubai, we buy them at Carrefour. Are you familiar with this French hypermart? It's like Wal-Mart but all the products are different.


[User Picture]From: dubaiwalla
2006-07-05 06:06 am (UTC)

Carrefour has spread its evil tentacles everywhere, but only the first three ones you listed are in Dubai proper. I insist you treat Sharjah as a separate town because that allows me to feel smug and superior to its denizens. Although Ajman, which is also in the same urban area, almost certainly has its own Carrefour as well.

The Bur Dubai one is my least favorite of the four you mentioned. It is the most crowded and the hardest to get to in Dubai despite possibly being the closest to me (traffic is a bitch out in that area). I suspect it also carries a smaller range of goods than the others, but don't take my word for that. I am surprised you stay near there though- the surrounding hotels are amongst the seediest in Dubai.
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[User Picture]From: octal
2006-07-05 07:49 am (UTC)
The "Souk Al Kabeer" is there (i.e. all the computer/etc. parts vendors I deal with), and Yo! Sushi at BurJumann, and the Sheraton Four Points is relatively non-seedy. Arabian Courtyard is also fairly non-seedy, and Dubai Nova was the best value found (by midendian, a former coworker) during a high season...something like AED 110/night for a week or two. Dubai Nova is more like "expatriate indian business housing" and not "a girl-friendly hotel". I think Four Points gets used for that kind of thing, but it's also used by business travelers, and I am into the starwood loyalty points game.

It's definitely a very seedy area.

Sheraton Creek and the various Jumeirah properties are the only ones I really like, though. Although actually the "Green Community" marriott down by the jebel ali free zone is really nice, if very empty.

I think my goal next time I'm in Dubai for a spare 1-2 days is to stay at the Bab Al Shams desert place and do some horse riding in the evening. It's a pretty long drive to/from the city, though.

My default residence is hopefully going to change to W Festival City in 2007 once it's ready, even though Festival City is a pretty useless area. If it weren't for loyalty points, and I could get a good rate, Grand Hyatt might actually win, since it has the really excellent steakhouse, and an amusing garden-in-lobby thing.
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[User Picture]From: dubaiwalla
2006-07-05 08:30 am (UTC)
Being vegan, I've never eaten at Yo! However, I am told by a friend with a taste for such things that their sushi is substandard. Sumo on Sheikh Zayed Road (next to the Fairmont) is alright. I will try and get more names for you later if you are interested.

Four Points has a nice Indian restaurant on the mezzanine floor- Antique Bazaar. I also ate at an Indian restaurant on the mezzanine floor of the Arabian Courtyard once, but while the food was good, my drink tasted like mouthwash, and the ceiling seemed to be only barely higher than my head. And I'm all of 5'7"!

I haven't heard of the Nova before. You aren't referring to the Novotel by any chance, are you?

It's definitely a very seedy area.
Oh yes indeed. And right next to Khalid bin Waleed St (aka Computer Street) is this shop sign:

"Green Community" marriott down by the jebel ali free zone is really nice
I've heard as much, although I've not been to the Green Community at all- too far away, and nothing to do there.

amusing garden-in-lobby
Closer to a rainforest, I think. It's actually humid in there. I take friends who visit Dubai to the lobby. It is a symbol of how crazy things are here.
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[User Picture]From: octal
2006-07-05 03:01 pm (UTC)
Yo! has mediocre sushi, but it's fast and convenient, and I think a couple of the "sushi chef" (really, "sushiesque food product assemblers") are cute. I find it a never-ending source of amusement that they're Chinese and can understand English or Arabic names for the sushi, but not Japanese.

Hrm...I've never actually been to that indian restaurant. Four Points has really mediocre room service, but it doesn't come from the restaurant kitchens or menu. I guess I should give it a try.

I've actually been in the York bar to get drinks...it's pretty much impossible to go from the door to the bar without being accosted. The really amusing thing is, as I hid in the corner drinking my beer, I saw a bunch of KBR guys wearing "Iraq!" type clothing, also being mobbed.

Mmmm, Grand Hyatt Manhattan Grill. Have you tried any of the other restaurants there? I think there are 11.

Arabian Courtyard room service is also quite tasty, but their japanese place is *pathetic* -- much worse than Yo!, on the order of Carrefour.

Also, prepared food from Carrefour was pretty much how I lived during Ramadan, in Ajman/Sharjah/Dubai. I'd go in, stock up, and hide out in the parking lot eating.
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[User Picture]From: dubaiwalla
2006-07-05 03:15 pm (UTC)
By contrast, being brown, younger, and non-touristy-looking, I have actually avoided unwelcome attention in the York twice. This may have had something to do with timing (entering at 7 PM and 5 minutes before midnight on new year's eve), being with a friend and actually talking to them rather than scanning around the room, and generally keeping my head down. That having been said, it was still the York, and I'm sure I deserve some sort of medal for pulling it off. I suppose my face looks incorruptible or something. Only wish that didn't mean I have to get carded often. Still, I am sure an undercover career as a trusted middleman awaits me, etc.

In the Grand Hyatt, the only place I've actually eaten has been the really big one right next to the mini-forest. It's got several cuisines. It was alright. Being vegan, I've not tried out Dubai's steakhouses and suchlike. But if you ever want me to show you where to fill your stomach on reasonably authentic Indian food for $2-4, just say the word.

Some restaurants are open in Ramadan in the fancy hotels. Also in some places that are completely sealed off from street views, e.g. the Planet Hollywood next to Wafi.
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[User Picture]From: octal
2006-07-06 01:34 am (UTC)
I need to figure out how to not look like a tourist. I think this is difficult -- I can probably only pull off "business tourist" or "tourist tourist".

People card in UAE? What for?

Ahh...vegan! That does limit food options somewhat.

I've found some decent indian and sri lankan for AED 8-20. I'd be interested in regional indian food subtypes, especially food which isn't exclusively vegan.

The hotels served room service, and usually would have a restaurant or two blocked off and open, but I think some of those were days I didn't have a hotel (due to having arrived at midnight and hotel not being open, or flying out at 0200 and checking out the previous day at 1600, or driving)
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[User Picture]From: dubaiwalla
2006-07-06 04:39 am (UTC)
Pulling off non-touristiness would indeed be hard. When I walk through the markets here with white friends of mine who live here, the shopkeepers immediately pay a lot of attention to us. In their minds, white people are rich, and this is indeed generally true here, at least relatively speaking.

They card in order not to get shut down by the government for violating the law on serving alcohol to minors. Some places are stricter than others, but if you're clearly underage, you will have a hard time here.

I'd be interested in regional indian food subtypes, especially food which isn't exclusively vegan.
I can think of several cities/regions whose cuisine is represented here. Bombay fast food ("chaat") is quite common, but there's also Chettinad food, from a district in Tamil Nadu, Udipi food, which I think comes from the state of Karnataka, Hyderabadi food, and so on. And that's all within 5 minutes walking distance of my house. Ah, gotta love Dubai.
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