I tried to check out of the hotel at noon but when I asked where I could leave my bag they said I could have the room until midnight. Apparently I paid for the room for 24 hours. Weird. I took a taxi into the Deira side of the city center. My first job for the day was to get my air tickets straightened out. Since I didn't use the Cairo - Nairobi - Dar es Salaam - Nairobi - Cairo and Dubai - Tehran - Dubai legs I have a lot of extra miles. I'm hoping to forget Taiwan and get back to the US on the ticket. I spent a half hour with an Emirates Air representative. Just for fun I tried to see if I could extend my stay in Dubai a couple more day, but there just weren't any seats available to Bangkok past tomorrow morning - the flight continues on to Hong Kong and apparently there is some kind of big conference going on there. So I'm still leaving for Thailand very early tomorrow morning. I wanted to cancel the rest of tickets after Bangkok and get new ones issued but they couldn't issue the new tickets without an Ok from the issuing office (in Australia), so I have the reservations (Bangkok - Tokyo - San Francisco) and I can go check in Bangkok. Hopefully there won't be any problems.
Spent the rest of the afternoon exploring Deira. I wandered around the Dhow docks - this was my favorite place in Dubai. They weren't the friendly little dhows of East Africa - these were mammoth ocean going cargo vessels - still made of wood, but very few even bother with having a sail. The variety of cargo be offloaded was staggering - produce, sections of cars, and mattresses were just some of the things I saw sitting on the wharf.
Next up was a wander through some of the souqs (markets). In Beniyas Square I found a bookstore and bought a couple books. I bought Lonely Planet's South-East Asia on a Shoestring so I won't be arriving in Bangkok totally unprepared (I still can't believe I'll be in Thailand tomorrow morning!) I also bought the second book in the Harry Potter series. Deira Souq (the Spice Market) and the gold souq were a little disappointing. Deira Souq has all the spices and strange things that one expects in a middle eastern bazaar, but lacks the atmosphere, and having been in Cairo's Khan el-Khali just a couple days ago I was let down. Lonely Planet says the gold souq was not to be missed - I found it a monument to tackiness and nothing special. It could have been at home in Las Vegas. I also wandered around the al-Sabkha Road shopping district until long after dark when my feet got tired and I headed back. In my hotel room I took advantage of having someplace to lay down, air-conditioning, and a bath tub.
At the airport I checked in and wandered around but couldn't summon any more enthusiasm for shopping (the main activity in Dubai's airport) so I sat down and read until it was time to load the plane. The flight was comfortable but even though I managed to score an emergency row seat with tons of leg room I still didn't get any sleep.