After 13.5 hours direct flight from Chicago to Dubai, we arrived at the hotel, Intercontinental Dubai Marina around 9 pm.  They arranged an airport pick up, and after a quick smooth check in, we were off for a short walk to dinner at Dubai Marina to stretch our legs and get some fresh air.

The first day we decided to take it easy.  Kids jumped into the pool and after some R&R, we took a taxi to the old town, Deira (Dubai Creek), the oldest neighborhood in Dubai. For lunch, I really wanted to try authentic Emirati food and by doing a quick google search, we found Al Bait Al Quadem restaurant. Located among the trading shops, just a few minutes walk from the souks, this place had a great ambiance, good variety of Arabic menu options, and filled with locals and tourists alike. I would definitely come back there again.
Old Dubai is famous for its souks, where you can shop for gold, textiles, perfumes and spices from Iranian Saffron to traditional spices like Bezar and Zaatar used in Arabic cooking. We made a stop at the famous Gold Souk (prices are slightly negotiable, and you can find the highest Karat gold here, 24K). Next to the Gold is a Perfume souk, where you can smell famous Arabian oud and vendors are happy to blend oils to create original scents, Textile souk (check the opening hours if you decide to go on a Friday), and Spice souk. After some hard negotiations, we bought spices and tea, and took an Abra (traditional wooden boat) across to the other side of the creek. There, we walked around some more, and visited the Dubai museum offering an interesting overview of the history of Dubai and the UAE.