Saturday, March 28, 2009

Dubai Trip

We are home (after only 32 hours of travel) from our fun-filled week in Dubai. It was really fun to go and visit Amy and to see all of the places she has been telling me about. I will put all of my pictures on Picasa, and just put the best ones in this post.

We got to Dubai on Thursday night, and Amy took us right to the Mall of the Emirates and to her favorite restaurant for Phad Thai. I think we ate there 3 times during the week, so that shows you how much she loves it! It was fun to walk around the mall after dinner. We even saw the famous Ski Dubai, which is an indoor ski run - inside the mall - in the middle of the Arabian desert!



Friday is the holy day in the Middle East, so we went to church and then back to Amy's place to watch a movie, and take a nap, and play some games. Amy is a killer Uno player!

Saturday we drove for a couple of hours out to Hatta, which has some mountains. It was great because the whole landscape changes. We were still in the desert, but the sand was a different color, and there were these rocky hills. I can't really call them mountains because I live in the midst of the Rocky Mountains, but they are pretty high for the area! We started at a pretty park, where we hiked up a hill to a replica watch tower and took some pictures. Then we went over to the Hatta Heritage Village and had fun walking through some restored buildings. Then we grabbed some lunch and headed back to Amy's place.



The jet lag did not really seem that bad. The biggest effect on me is that I woke up for 2 mornings at 4 a.m. I was always able to go back to sleep, though!

On Sunday Amy headed back to work, and Greg and I hung out at her apartment for a while watching movies. Then we went on a Desert Safari. This was quite an adventure! We started with dune bashing, which was my favorite part of the night. Luckily Greg got to sit in the front seat, and he did not get sick. Go motion sickness pills! Our driver was very good at spinning all over the dunes and running us up and down. It was great.

Then we got to the site for dinner and were able to ride a camel for a few minutes, and try on traditional headgear, and watch a belly dancer. It was fun to sit on the ground and eat traditional Lebanese food. You can hear the wind whipping around in the camel clip. I had a little narration that is totally lost in the wind!
video video
One interesting thing to me about the trip was how much garbage was in the desert. There was garbage everywhere. There was also a sandstorm happening, so it was hard to keep my eyes open, and they got really irritated. I think I would have enjoyed it much more if I had not had to keep my sunglasses on the whole time - even after dark! But we got to ride the camel and spin around the desert in Land Cruisers.

Monday was probably my favorite activity. We went on the Big Bus Tour, which took us all over Dubai. We got to see a lot of the city, and we listened to a narration that gave a lot of background and information. It was fun to listen to things like, "on your right, you will see a great view of ..." the whole day.

Maybe the best part of the day was going on a cruise on the Dubai creek on a dhow. We went up and down the creek and got great views of the buildings. It was also a lot cooler on the boat, with great breezes from the Arabian Gulf blowing all around. It was hot that day as we were walking around, but worth it!


I love this picture showing the old and the new. The dhows are still used as trading vessels between the United Arab Emirates and places like Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran.

One highlight of the tour was seeing license plates number 39 and 456. Apparently, the Sheikh has license plate number 1, so the closer you are to that the more important you are!

After our day on the Big Bus, we met Amy at the Mall again, and ate Phad Thai (again) and then went and had some Haagan Daz. It's not a real vacation without that, is it? It is amazing as we walked through the mall how many stores are there that are the same as the US. Brands are the same - we truly live in a global economy where you can get anything, anywhere.

On Monday we took a taxi (we spent time in a taxi almost every day - they are pretty cheap and it was the easiest way to be able to do our thing while Amy was doing her thing) out to the Palm Jumeirah and the Atlantis hotel. The Palm Islands are insane, and considered the 8th wonder of the world. They are built, out of sand, and totally manufactured in the Persian gulf. They are chock full of resorts and private residences. Definitely an experience to see it. You can see from the first picture that there is a walkway, and maybe 100 feet of visible rocks, and then bam - it is the ocean. Crazy what humans can do.


While at the Atlantis resort, we paid 100 dirhams each (about $30) to see a little aquarium. We both love aquariums (Greg especially, who is fascinated by the ocean) but we were a little disappointed. The big huge tank was viewable for free, and that was the best part. Worth seeing the resort and the free part - not worth paying that much money to walk around for 15 minutes to see the inside part. Keep in mind as you listen to the audio on this little video clip that I was channeling my inner Virg!
video
That night, Amy had gotten us tickets to Cirque du Soleil, and it was awesome! I have always wanted to see one of their shows, it was over the top and impressive. One of the fire dancers had been at church on Friday, and it was neat to talk with him and his family about his job. We met Amy's friend Athena for dinner and then headed over to the show. I can't even pick a favorite act because they were all good. There were contortionists and trapeze artists and acrobats on trampolines and clowns. A fun night!


On Wednesday we visited Amy at her school and attended class with her favorite choir - 7th grade girls. They were cute girls, and they performed a bunch of their songs for us. Then we headed off to the beach. It was awesome to relax and feel the cooling breezes off the ocean! (Have you gotten the picture yet that it was HOT there?) Then we went shopping and out to dinner. On the way back to the car after dinner, it started raining hard, and it even hailed a little bit. Amy had told us it only really rained in January, so it was fun to get caught in a storm.

Thursday was our last day and it was a lot cooler after the rainstorm. We went to the Jumeira Mosque and had an interesting tour. Then we walked around for a while, and had lunch at an American restaurant. Recognize the logo? Then we walked around the beach again, and I got a great picture of Greg with the tallest building in the world behind him, the Burj Dubai.


We went with Amy to the mall one more time, and did last minute souvenir shopping, and Amy had Phad Thai (again) while Greg and I had something else. I can see why the cute girl at the counter knows Amy so well, and gets her order started when she sees Amy walking up!

Then we went back to Amy's place and finished packing and said our final goodbyes and headed off to the airport.

And that is our trip in a nutshell! Today I like it a lot more than I did yesterday. 32 hours of being in airplanes and airports does not work well for me. It was great to go, and it is great to be home. A big thanks to Amy for the invitation and the free place to stay!

8 comments:

Renee said...

Wow! I have been thinking about you all week and am so glad you had a great trip! We are glad that you are home safe and sound!

Natalie said...

Your pictures are so cool, Heather! Look like you had a great & safe trip! Mmm... Thai food... and that ski run in a mall is pretty spiffy! Anyway, you'll have to tell me more during our meeting!!

garddawg said...

GREAT pictures! What a fun time! Glad that everything went so well!

Bobi said...

Welcome home! It's hard to encapsulate an entire trip like that. You did well. Ciao!

Kelly said...

So glad you are back safe and sound! Looks like you had quite the adventure. You should bring your laptop with pics to BC on Wednesday so we can see more!

Life's Journey said...

Looks like you guys had a blast! So glad you made it back home safe.
By the way, great pictures.

Kathryn said...

What an AMAZING trip! What fun it will be to share your world-travels with your children. :)

The Burninghams said...

I am so glad that you guys had so much fun!! It is always fun to have a little getaway.

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