Sunday, October 30, 2011

Day Thirty Eight - False Start

Today we were supposed to be flying home and to be honest I was kind of excited ... after thirty eight days of travel we wanted our own home and our own bed and not living out of a suitcase would have been nice. 

We arrived at the airport early hoping to get to a nice seat however when we arrived at the check in counter we were told we couldn't check in and we were to go to another counter. Obviously my blood pressure started to rise as we walked through to the new desk. We were told there were no seats on the plane .... what how can we have no seat? Apparently there were no seats and we were "bumped" but wait its ok because they will put us up in a nice hotel and we will be given transfers, meals etc. Fine there is nothing we can do about it so lets make the best of it. We get booked on the next days flight and transfer back to the hotel. 

We should have realised the minute we got crammed onto the transfer bus this wasn't going to be pretty but we were still kind of positive that Emirates would have our best interests at heart. 

Now the hotel they took us to was horrid .... horrid isn't even an over exageration. The lift and room smelled so strongly of cigarette smoke i could taste it and felt icky ... you know that crawling feeling you get when you touch the lift buttons or hand rails on a bus ... I got that feeling the minute I walked into the room. The bathroom was a disaster with mould and cracked tiles. I started having a panic attack the minute we arrived and after calling reception to try and sort out another room we were told there was no option, that was our room.

Our last night in Dubai should be traumatic and obviously the hotel wasn't able to help us so we checked out, went back to our old hotel (at our own cost) booked into a suite... had a shower to get rid of the "icky" feeling and then went off to the markets. Hey our last night on holidays should be fabulous.

The markets we chose were tourist markets meaning they were reproduction of authentic souks however it was lovely to walk around in the sun, the canals were so pretty and it was a great way to spend the afternoon.

So again back home to wait for tomorrows flight ... please please please let us be on the flight.

Day Thirty Seven - A Day of Fun

Today was our last day in Dubai and so we decided to have a day of fun. No obligatory sight seeing, we were going to be kids and just have fun.

In the morning we skied and it was great, freezing cold but great, hot chocolate half way down the slopes ... chair lifts and no falls meant we were having a great time.

After that we raced back to the room, got changed and went to a little water park called Atlantis. Now this is a revelation, usually with water parks you wait in big lines for rides, not this one, all of the rides are connected through a giant lazy river so you sit on the river until you hit the turn you want, move onto that river and it either puts you onto the ride or else you take a conveyor belt with your tube to the top of the ride. Brilliant, I had a fantastic day here and didn't even get sun burnt thanks to 50 plus sunscreen you are able to get here.

After that we went back, got changed, brought even more shoes and then off to dinner. We dinned in this amazingly flash restaurant off the mall ... can you imagine a restaurant off the mall to look like this. I had steak, Ben had frogs legs since he missed out on them while in Paris ... He says they are great if not a little bit intimidating to look at... Im not a big fan, to fatty for me but hey .... go Ben!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Day Thirty Six - A Small Screw-Up

So today we had big plans, in the morning we had planned to go to Old Town and visit the Souks, in the afternoon we were doing Friday Brunch. Easy right? Well no, Not a great deal was open on Friday morning. See their weekend is Friday / Saturday so we wandered around a market mostly closed ... sad but true. 

We crossed the creek on a public boat and I have to admit it was a really hot day. We visited the tourist markets and I found the most amazing shoes ever .... they have such pretty shoes! Look at this picture, see how many pairs of shoes I had to choose from? If you look at the above pictures of Old Town and compare them to the pictures below from New Town you can see the huge amazing differences. I like old town, its got soul and history but new town is pretty mind blowing. 

Then it was about 2ish and most brunches start at 3.30 so back to the hotel to get ready .... printing out the receipt I realised that the brunch we booked started at 12. That would mean we missed it. Oh dear - Slight screw up and no brunch.

So off to Dubai mall where we had a look at the ice rink, Aquarium and fountain show.... I also made some additional purchases including another pair of shoes, a lovely orange clutch and of course this amazing head piece for out show and tell wall. 

So today was a day of shopping instead of Brunch. Tomorrow we are doing nothing but fun .... whatever we feel like doing we are going to do it ... Last day of holidays and then flying back home. Im kind of sad to be ending the holiday but i'm also pretty excited about actually seeing the progress of the house. I will make sure to post pictures the minute I see them.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Day Thirty Five - A Day of Opposites

Well today i'm out and about and loving it. This morning we went skiing and it was surreal to know that it was 45 degrees outside and -4 degrees inside. 

This is one of those "well duhh" statements but snow is such an oddity in Dubai that its almost a magical place. This is going to sound almost sappy but there is so much joy in this place you can help but get excited and giggle. It seems that mostly tourists and expats that actually ski, the locals seem happy playing down the bottom on the tubes and slides. The actually process could have been long and painful but they have it so well worked out that it was a well oiled machine, buy the ticket at one counter, get boots and clothes next, move into change rooms, get ski's at the final counter, swipe card and then out you go! 

Now here is the lovely juxtaposition of the day, after a morning in the cold we got changed and went on a desert safari. I have had quite a few people telling me this was not something I should do but to be honest it was amazing. The dune riding was very cool, sand spraying all over the car lots of hills and scary moments and the driver seemed to smile every time we squealed. After that we arrive at the camp and got to play, there was dress ups, henna painting, dancers, a lovely buffet and shisha. Now shisha is the flavoured smoke and I have not tried it before, so I thought ... what the hell. Is it something I would want to do at home? probably not, was it great to try? .... hell yeah! Apple flavoured smoke, weird but fun and blowing it out in patterns like a child ... hell yeah!

So snow in the morning, desert in the evening ... very very awesome. So far I like Dubai, I think its a bit like a grown up Disney Land, obviously there is a serious historical side to it but for us, this is going to be the week of fun. Tomorrow we will be doing a very famous Dubai custom of Friday Brunch ... apparently it can be excessive and decadent but we will see.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Day Thirty Four - A Guest Blog by Hubby

So I was stuck in bed yesterday again and in aid of this blog (apparently) hubby deserted me to go and look around. He has kindly offered to share his thoughts and experiences as I can imagine you are sick of me talking about how nice the room is.

First let me start by saying ... I'm not a blogger but I did like Dubai. The taxi drivers (like we all saw in Europe) all seem to be ex formula one drivers. The fear of leaving space between cars is too much for them  with excessive acceleration and braking happening constantly. Luckily my wife wasn't in the car for this trip as she would have her nails digging into my arms ... I found it well worth the fare. 

I survived the taxi ride and was dropped off at the Dubai Mall where from the outside it doesn't look as impressive as the Mall of Emirates (where we are staying) but once inside you can see that as a mall it can definatly hold its own, with around 1200 shops this is not nearly a mall but a small city, with an olympic sized ice rink, a huge aquarium, an indoor theme park and over 100 places to eat. I'm a male who has never taken much interest in labels but I'm pretty sure my wife would run a-muck here. I spent a couple of hours walking around on my own not sure what to do wishing my wife was there to make the decisions for me (Please note readers he laughs evilly at this point) 

At the back of the mall is the Dubai fountain which is adjacent to the Burj Kalifa - the tallest building in the city. Its mind blowing how big this pool is sitting in the middle of the desert and in this city its easy to forget that its a desert because everything is green and everywhere you look there is a fountain. Sitting up in a cafe looking down at the fountain I noticed there was eight people working and cleaning the pool and fountain, it must be a very time consuming dog as I struggle just to keep my backyard pool clean. 

After more wandering I was feeling a bit down because we havn't really done much in Dubai because my wife is terminally ill in bed, well she is not terminally ill, but she certainly is acting like it. I decided to book a dive in the aquarium at the mall. The aquarium is huge, no surprises there with around 50 species of marine life including an array of sharks, stingrays, eels and some beautiful looking gropers. It was good just swimming around waving to the little kids as you go past.

After drying off I wandered down to the ice rink to watch two of the local teams here play some ice hockey. I have never experienced a game like this one, I was watching a game in the middle of a shopping mall. There were people sitting in the stands with me watching but more shoppers leaning over the balcony for a quick look. 

So far Dubai comes across as a city that has no rules and is constantly trying to outdo itself. They have an ice rink .... lets build a ski field. A few people have told me Dubai feel fake, I don't think it's fate I just think their imaginations and budget have no limits. Im looking forward to the rest of the trip and hopefully taking my wife out to discover some more of Dubai.