A WEEKEND IN DUBAI (A Money Diary)

February 16, 2018

 

The weekend falls on Friday and Saturday in the United Arab Emirates. I try to make a point of doing something nice on a Thursday evening to make the weekend feel a little longer. After work I walked to yoga with two of the girls from the office. I find yoga to be such a great way to wind down after the work week and luckily there are lots of great studios around Dubai. This time we went to Fitness First in Downtown where my friends are both members. One friend has special status due to being a long-term member so she signs me in as a guest for free. The instructor was great so we left feeling zen. One of the girls lives just above the yoga studio so we popped up to hers afterwards to undo some of our good work with a G&T before heading for dinner on the Boulevard. The Boulevard is the main street in Downtown. It's lined with twinkling palm trees and curves around the Burj Khalifa, Dubai Mall and Dubai Fountains. It has lots of bars and restaurants. We went to a restaurant that serves traditional Emirati food with a twist, called Karak House. I'm vegan and I find Middle Eastern food to cater to this really well. We shared a couple of mezze plates - the beetroot falafel there is to die for! It's finally starting to cool down here after a long, hot summer so we were thrilled at the novelty of getting to eat outdoors (with the assistance of a large aircon machine aimed directly at us!). Afterwards I walked home along the Boulevard, takeaway from Karak House in hand for David. I used the time to call my Mum back in Ireland for a quick catch up. David was at after work drinks at a place called Dusty's in the DIFC and was delighted to see the Karak House bag in my hand. Brownie points! We chatted while he ate and headed to bed as we have an early start ahead tomorrow.

Yoga - Free (thanks Sarah!)
G&T - Free (thanks Laura!)
Dinner & takeaway - $30


Thursday Total - $30
 

 
FRIDAY

David & I got up at 7.30am, had a quick coffee and jogged to FlyWheel for the 8.30am class. It's the best spinning studio in Dubai in my opinion. We are both ClassPort members which is an app that is partnered with various gyms and studios around Dubai. It allows you to attend one class a day and each studio or gym up to three times a month. I like the variety. FlyWheel is one of the studios on it so I guess it was free, or at least it felt that way! ClassPort membership is $120 per month and I usually make it to 15 - 20 classes each month so it works out at about $7 per class. A friend from home happened to be on the bike beside us so we had a quick but breathless chat with her afterwards. We walked home via Souk al Manzil where we grabbed a Starbucks ($6). A friend from our apartment building came in as we are waiting so we talked with him for a while before walking the rest of the way home. We got ready, grabbed a Careem which is basically Dubai Uber ($15 for a 25 km journey) and picked up some friends. And that, my friends, is where the healthiness and frugality of the day ends with a crash!!!

It was our friend's birthday so his wife organized a big gang to go to a brunch to celebrate. Brunch in the UAE is a very different affair to just about everywhere else in the world. It usually kicks off at midday (sounds normal so far right?!), lasts until about 4pm, costs anywhere between $75 and $175 and involves all you can eat and drink during that time. In a place where a single drink is $10 minimum, brunch is a pretty irresistible offer. It's crazy indulgent though so we try to limit them to special occasions for the sake of our waistlines and wallets. The brunch we went to was in Al Qasr hotel and is widely considered to be one of the best in Dubai. It's usually $160 but it was on special offer so it cost only $80 each. During the summer things are often on offer as tourist numbers are down due to the heat. Brunch was great fun and afterwards we all took abras across Madinat Jumeriah while taking in views of the Burj Al Arab to Bahri Bar which is a popular after brunch spot. It was loose! If you are one of the many people that thinks alcohol is inaccessible in Dubai let me just tell you that you are misinformed. David and I headed home at about 6pm because we were having four friends over for dinner (a cunning plan hatched a few days before in an effort to keep us sensible during brunch - cue epic fail!!). We grabbed a taxi home and got our cook on - Mexican was on the menu. Our friends came by at about 8pm and we all just sat around eating, drinking, listening to music and chatting until the early hours. How we didn't burn the place down or poison anyone is a mystery!!

ClassPort - $7
Coffee - $6
Careem - $15
Brunch - $80
Drinks after brunch - $20
Taxi home - $10
Dinner & drinks ingredients - $100


Friday Total: $238
 

 
SATURDAY

We absolutely could have done with a sleep in to recover from Friday's antics but we had booked a 9am paddle boarding session on ClassPort and didn't want to have to pay the late cancellation fee so we hauled ourselves out of bed at 7.45 and drove there ($7). After our paddle boarding we went to Surf Cafe Jumeriah Beach Road for some actual brunch. It's really popular so there is always a waitlist but it's worth it. I had an acai bowl, David had avocado and eggs and we both had a coffee and water ($20 each). We went back home and hung out at one of the pools at our building for a couple of hours reading. Luckily it's a few levels up and in a bit of a wind tunnel so the breeze and regular jumps into the pool make the temperaturemore bearable. When the heat became too much we popped to the gym in our building for an hour. We went back upstairs, showered, made ourselves presentable and had a light bite for dinner (to leave space for the popcorn we were about to eat!). We went to the Roxy Cinema in City Walk to see American Made which is such a good movie! ($21). When we got home David used the computer in the study and I took my iPad into our bedroom and we both called home on Skype. What would we do without Skype!? We reconvened on the couch and round down the weekend with an episode of Narcos and a cup of tea. Barry's teabags of course!

ClassPort - $7
Brunch - $20
Pool - free
Gym - free
Cinema tickets - $14
Cinema snacks -$7


Saturday Total: $48
 

 
                                                         Weekend Total: $316

This is pretty typical of a summer weekend in Dubai (minus the brunch!) During the rest of the year, when we can spend extended periods of time outside, Dubai is a totally different place. I'll check back again soon when things cool down. Later Trulos! xx

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