Friday, 27 June 2014

My Bedouin Dish

So today is our last day of play as tomorrow we'll be up and at the airport early. Mum flies in at about 7.30am local time and we all head for Sydney around 9.30am. Though first let's finish yesterday.  We headed back to the Dubai Mall for dinner as we wanted to catch the water show. We also checked out some shops and bought Garrie the full Bedouin outfit.  The white robe us called a dishdash, the head scarf a keffiyeh and the black band an agal.  
Doesn't he look a treat!
One thing travelling teaches you is how little we know of other cultures and what myths and fears are perpetuated.  This link is easy to read and talks about the differences in what people wear.
Basically what Arabs wear comes from their Bedouin heritage. Burkas are Afgan not Arabic and turbans come from Asia not here.  The white keffiyeh denotes the UAE whereas the red and white is for Saudis.  We are invited to a party where "world dress" is the theme - being a Bedouin will be perfect. In watching the locals we can see how similar we all are. They love theirs kids, their fun, their shopping and are all stuck on mobile phones.

We took a quick shot of our hotel on the way to the shops. Our suite being the second down on the left.

The beer of the day is a non-alcoholic marguerita (well this the UAE).
I had a mango and berry daiquiri
Garrie had crispy fried jumbo prawns
I had prawns filled with crab and lobster.
All yummy!  So then off to the water display which happens on the half hour from 6pm to 11pm. We caught the end of the 8pm so waited in what seemed a good position for the 8.30. Here are a few of the pics.
This really doesn't capture it. It is the most amazing display I have ever seen and this one was set to the theme to The Magnificent Seven. For Eli Wallach who passed away this week perhaps? The light bill board detracts but you can imagine...  The Burj presides over it all.
And restaurants line the area.
On the way home more palm trees caught my attention. These reflected in water.
And a Close up of those we saw from a distance when we arrived.
So today.  Well it didn't go to plan. Garrie woke with a very uncomfortable back. Breakfast first and my granola, fruit and yoghurt was very colourfully served.
After deciding walking might help we set off for the nearest metro station passing this fountain on the way.
To get to the nearest metro station you walk through the Dubai Mall (huge to cross in its own right) and then follow a long, long corridor (air conditioned thankfully) to the station.  The station is a glamourous gold.
And this next shot shows you the corridor and we live well on the other side of the Burj Kalifa tower which you can also see.
It was a long way. As we were almost there Garrie quipped we had just about walked to Australia. I replied that we'd probably find the next train didn't leave for a couple of hours as I hadn't checked the exact schedule.  I was right - on Friday the metro doesn't start until 1pm for some reason.  Maybethe quiet, empty corridor should have clued us in?
 
We had passed people going the other way and none of them had said a thing.  Determined to help others I told everyone we passed so we ended up a group of Aussies heading back for the Dubai mall. A couple of them had been to the spice souk yesterday and talked of the dirt and high pressure sales people so after all the walking we decided enough was enough.  We had a cuppa in the mall and headed for their Souk.
It's beautifully decorated, clean and in Airconditioning.
Even the floors are fabulous!
Then we headed for the food court for some lunch. We didn't eat here but seems some burger joints are more honest than others...
So time to head back to the hotel.  Not sure if we will venture out again or not. The heat is oppressive. Just take a look at these doors that separate the heat outside from the Airconditioning in.
They run with condensation. As soon as you walk out your sunglasses and the camera lens fog up. Dubai has been interesting but we certainly prefer natural wonders to the man made variety so don't think we'll be back.  One final shot to show the wealth.  Why paint zebra crossings when you can use granite!
So unless we find some extra energy and head out tonight, here endeth our two month odyssey. We have had a ball and just to prove it I'm putting one last post together to send tomorrow with a few highlights and statistics.  See you then. Xx

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Camels, World's tallest building and a Super Mall!

Me and my new bestie.
Let me start with the daylight shots from our room.
And of course, the Burj Kalifa
And here is the view from the loo! Very strange sitting and wondering if anyone can really see you.
We start with a lovely breakfast and here are just two pics from the extensive buffet.
How fresh is this honey!
We stopped by our pool and courtyard - very nice.
Well it's hot here. Currently 39 degrees but has a heat index of 44. Winds at 26kph out of the NW. Cloudy tonight with a low of 29. This morning when it was about 35 we decided to circumnavigate the Burj - just for fun and we took a few pics on the way.
How would you like this job?
If you aren't sure why we are walking around taking pictures of the Burj Kalifa, I should mention that it is currently the world's tallest building at 828m and 163 floors.  It's cladding includes over 24,000 cut glass panels, the 31,400 metric tonnes of steel rebar used, if laid end-to-end, would stretch a quarter of the way around the earth. Level 160 is the world's highest habitable floor, in fact most of the building is residential.  The 124th floor is for whizzing up to in 55 seconds in an obviously high speed lift and seeing out into the dusty yonder.  Garrie having overcome his fear of heights, and me having overcome my fear of small boxes whizzing up and down on relatively thin wire, we decide to give it a go. Here is what we could see from the top.
Oh this is the Dubai Mall where I met my camel mate.
Remember that water picture from earlier at ground level?
Most people are aware of the famous hotel that looks a bit like a yacht.  Well it was very hazy today...but you can just make it out. Lol.
We both enjoyed it, even the outside deck, though the heat drives you back inside. Garrie even bought himself a hat!
And I nearly bought myself a chocolate camel..
But believe it or not I'm almost over chocolate. Want to know more about the Burj?  http://www.burjkhalifa.ae/en/
And so to the Dubai Mall. Our information says "the world's greatest mall" with more than 1200 retail outlets, it also includes a few things most malls don't. A skating rink.
A fun park with some amazing rides, most of which defeated my camera with their speed in the poor light, but I think you'll understand this one.
A dinosaur
A few super Heros
An aquarium with what is supposed to be the largest viewing panel in the world. This is probably true as I had to go one floor up and still couldn't get it all in.
And an amazing fountain. I think this one is my favourite pic of the day.
Of course it has more normal parts, though even they are well decorated.
It also has 31 chocolate, confectionary and ice cream stores so my weakness for chocolate finally cracked. This is chocolate fondue with a scoop of vanilla and a scoop of hazelnut - delicious!
Garrie can never resist a banana split.
Time to come home..snapped this on the way back through the neighbouring hotel.
So just about through my third last post to this blog. One more tomorrow and then a wrap-up with some stats I hope to send before we fly out Saturday. Home Sunday at which point we will both be lapsing into a coma for a while. One final pic - I found this in the hotel wardrobe - and there I was thinking it was the ironing board....
No??? Seriously??? BFN. Xx