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Thursday 23 January 2020

UAE2020 Day 03: Ibn Battuta Mall

We arrived at IBN Battuta Bus Station promptly at 10am. It took us exactly an hour and a half to get here from Abu Dhabi despite the express bus faithfully abiding by the speed limit of 80km/hr.

entrance to the mall from the bus station

but we had business to attend to here first

We first walked into the Metro Station nearby to 'recharge' our Nol cards. We first tried our luck with a self-serve kiosk but failed. We then went to the counter and managed to 'recharge' our Nol cards with sufficient balance for the return trip back to Abu Dhabi, with a little extra in case we decided to ride the Metro later.

All that business out of the way, we took the escalator up to the overheard bridge that would take us across the busy street to Ibn Battutta Mall.

nope, not this time Brendan

we spent a fair bit of time here

Ibn Battuta Mall has a very special place in our hearts. It was the very first mall we visited the first time we visited Dubai in 2016. It was here that we bought our first pairs of Skechers; here that we were first introduced to our favourite cafe that is Caribou Coffee; here where my trusty Nikon D610 came from.

among the first things we came across


headed to Caribou Coffee

always worth the neck-crane

we were early so had the mall almost to ourselves

named after the famous explorer

an insightful permanent exhibition

always worth a stop

We absolutely love the layout and totally buy in with the overall concept of the mall, with 7 separate 'courts' showcasing different regions of the world. It has been our long-held wish to traverse the entire length of the mall and experience all 7 courts, but this will be a wish that we will hold on to a little longer. We have also written extensively about this mall here in the past as well.

we are at the Chinese Court!

a sight that never ceases to amaze

almost life-sized

it was the first sight we caught all those years ago

always made us feel welcomed

one last glimpse

headed back in the opposite direction

we'll be back!

We however note with some sadness that our favourite cafe, Caribou Coffee had since closed down, replaced with Starbucks. While we have nothing against Starbucks we miss the cosy comfy lounge chairs and sofas scattered around the old Caribou Coffee seating area. It often provided us with a place to rest our feet after a long day of wandering, besides providing us with their very own brew of coffee quite unlike what we are used to in Malaysia. Oh well, all in the name of progress we suppose.

headed to the Indian Court

always a sight to behold

the elephant clock

intricately ornate

on the hunt for lunch 

we eventually had chicken

After a couple of hours walking, exploring and shopping we decided to have lunch before catching the express bus back to Abu Dhabi. After considering several alternatives and wanting to avoid fast food joints that we could easily find in Malaysia (Brendan was chomping at the bits to go to McDonalds) we finally decided to try a fried chicken shop, Spiky Chicken.

something new to us

small and quaint

reasonably priced

as we wait to be served

we settled for the lunch set

typically Middle Eastern fare

Brendan didn't mind

generous portions of chicken

time to dig in

the place was great

the service, not quite

While we found the dishes delightful, we felt that we had to write something about the general state of affairs when it came to service providers from the Philippines here in the UAE. As the days and weeks progressed we noticed a trend in the level of service provided by a Filipino. Exemplary service will be given to Philippine nationals; good service given to Emiratis, Middle Easterners and Caucasians; indifferent service to everyone else. Due to our facial features we are often mistaken as Filipinos, and given exemplary service at first. As soon as it is discovered that we are Malaysians the smile goes away, replaced with a scowl, and in some cases we were even snubbed. Oh well, what goes around comes around in the end, eh?

We finished our lunch at about 1.30 and headed back to IBN Battuta Bus Station to catch the express bus back to Abu Dhabi.

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