Monday, July 14, 2014

At the Top


            Sunday night we drove down to the Dubai Mall (pictured above) to visit the Burj Khalifa,
            the tallest structure in the world.  We got there early and enjoyed the city skyline by the 
            little lake in front of the Burj.  It was a pretty evening but still very hot - heat index of over
            120 on Sunday.


                  My shot from the bottom of the Burj...a model in the Burj gift shop...
                  and a great shot lifted from the Internet.  It is a striking site to behold.

                  It was five years in the making and cost 1.5 billion.  Originally it was going to be called
                  Burj Dubai, but the financial crash caused major money problems and the Sheikh bailed 
                  the project out - the name was changed in his honor.  All of the publicity, souvenirs, and 
                  signs had to be changed at the last minute.

                  It takes less than a 60 seconds to go to the observation deck on the 124th floor.


           It was fun looking down from the top...but it is hazy most of the summer.  They say 
           you can see 95 km on a clear day, but that only happens a handful of days a year.


                         We watched the sun go down and the lights coming on as darkness came.
                         In this picture above you can barely see the 300 man made islands that compose the
                         World.  We enjoyed listening to the audio tour as we walked around.  You need  
                         reservations most of the time, especially to go at dusk to watch the sunset and see 
                         the beautiful views at night.


   Here are three pictures looking down at the Dancing Fountains below us...we could hear the
   music and enjoy the show from yet another angle.

                                             Quite a sight...very beautiful!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Dune Bashing

Last night we had another new experience!  Dune Bashing!  We got picked up by our tour guide at about 5:00 pm in a white Land Cruiser and transported to the desert off the Oman-Dubai highway.  We made a quick stop at a supermarket along the road to let about 1/2 of the air out of the tires....for better traction in the sand.




In a few minutes we were zooming up and down, on top and around huge dunes in the desert.  There were 6 tourists and the driver In the Land Cruiser...fortunately no one got sick!  There were quite a few other Land Cruisers out there, crashing and careening, slipping and sliding around in the sand.  Quite exciting!  And quite amazing that no one flipped over.



     We did see one Land Cruiser parked off to the side with a couple of people loosing their lunch!

        Just to get a little perspective!

The sand was and rippled in the hot sun drenched afternoon.  We made one stop to take some pictures and catch our breath.  Very fun.  It was difficult to take good pictures to show the angles and degrees that we climbed and spun around in...just too fast and too bumpy to get the perspective.

          Was pretty windy!  Ruined my do...

When that part of our adventure was over, we got back on the road and headed for a little mini town replica in the desert for the evening.  

We rode camels...

Took pictures in typical Islamic clothing...




Enjoyed a wonderful colorful dance by a local...

  Tho the pictures don't do it really was quite well done and artistic.

Chatted with this man and his falcon....

And partook in a great Arab BBQ...

    Sitting on a pillow to eat looks and sounds exotic...but it is not very comfortable, at least for the      

    Pay the big bucks and you get your own room!

Monday, July 7, 2014

10 Days Left in Dubai

Hard to believe our time in Dubai is coming to an end in just 10 short days.  It has been an incredible journey...we will look at the world differently and never be quite the same.  We are so grateful!  

Today I made lasagna and French bread for dinner, cleaned out the sewing cabinet, and did laundry...sounds pretty normal, huh?  The day was capped off with a last minute, nighttime trip to the Creek with a new friend.  It all looked so different at night.  The mosques were each lit up differently along the creek and looked so pretty as we crossed the creek in an old wooden dhows.  We had great fun exploring, looking for a couple of gifts and each of us buying a new outfit!  We even enjoyed ice cream at Ben and Jerry's on a little back side street.  

We were walking through the gold souq and saw these massive necklaces....maybe they have a special name since they are so big.  We decided to go in the store and ask about the weight and cost of one.  Found out there are actually necklaces that are 1 kilo in weight - that is 2.2 pounds!  And that costs $55,000!  I think I mentioned before, these are often wedding gifts for the bride...and a nest egg for her should anything happen to her husband,  These stores have dozens of them.  The gold souq is several blocks long...amazing.

This is a typical sight on the back streets of the Souq (above) and the newer sections of the Souq (below).

We got back at about 11 - a long but good day.

Now it's Tuesday night at 8:00 and I am about to go to bed.  I've been on my feet pretty much all day and my feet ache.  I cooked and baked again today.  I found a new recipe and made Jambalaya for the first time.  Was quite tasty and well received.  Went to the City Center this afternoon to get some supples and groceries.  Showed a friend around...and she found a nice journal set for a friend.

Random thought:  Recently in one parking lot Andy and I saw a Lamborghini, a Jaguar, and a Ferrari.  Land Rovers and Range Rovers are common.  Lexus are the Chevy/Ford of Dubai.  It's no wonder I get nervous pulling into a parking space in an Expedition that drives like a truck!  All for now...

Saturday, July 5, 2014

"Feels Like" Temperature at 120 today!

Just checked the weather "feels like" 120 degrees and it is 4:00 pm here.  What's it like in your corner of the world?  Did several projects around the house yesterday...scrubbed the grout in the kitchen tile this morning, planned meals/made grocery list, and finished cleaning in the outdoor kitchen.  The to do list is getting shorter... 

Today I went grocery shopping and have been baking and preparing supper much of the afternoon.

Thursday I ventured out on my own in the morning, taking the metro down to the Souk in the Creek.  Had a couple things I wanted to buy down that way.  It was hot and humid and at one point my body and all my clothes were wet and clinging.  

After I was done shopping successfully, I walked around in the historical Shindagha, between Port Rashid and Dubai Creek - cultural and heritage site depicting what life was like in Dubai in years gone by.

First stop - Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum's House, built in 1896 on the banks of the Dubai Creek.  This was the home of the ruling family until Sheikh Saeed's death in 1958.  It was huge and an "architectural marvel" a museum.  Coins, stamps, historical documents dating back to 1791.  Part of the complex is  also an art museum with paintings and photography.  (Note:  I drank my bottle of water in the ladies restroom, feeling a little funny breaking the fast time in the Shaeikh's home).


Second stop - Traditional Architecture Museum, built in 1927.  This was in one of the homes on the Shaikh's compound.  I learned much about the architecture in the Emirates as well as the materials and tools used in traditional construction.  (Note:  I ate my trail mix  in the dark watching a video of various types of homes...mountain home, desert home, city home).




Third stop - Arabic Calligraphy Museum.  I had no idea there were so many different variations through the ages and in different countries around the world.  Was very pretty and interesting.  I was grateful all of these places were air conditioned.  There are very few trees and no protection from the sun in this area along the Creek. 


Fourth stop - Heritage Village...which recreates a Bedouin settlement.  I am sure it is like a living museum in the winter when thousands of tourists flock to the area.  Now it is but a shell in the hot sun.
Still interesting tho.

Fifth stop - Diving Village...a glimpse of Dubai's maritime past...what life was like six to seven thousand years ago, when pearl diving was one of the main sources of income.


By this time I was a bit tired and ready to get out of the sun.  The metro line runs right past this area, so I called Andy, hopped on the train and met up with him to go to, where else, The Mall! (Note:  I ate my apple in a bathroom stall in the Metro Station waiting for Andy to arrive)

When we first arrived in Dubai we learned the subway system by going to Ibn Battuta Mall.  We thot we saw it all, but we only walked thru a small portion.  So this time we made our way through tall six courts...
Egypt, Tunisia, Andalusia , Persia,  India, and China.



It was only about 6:00 when we isn't over until about 7:15.  NO restaurants were operating.  A few fast food places were open for carry out only.  I bought a tee shirt at a kiosk and saw an employee sitting on the floor by the cash register chowing down her salad supper out of sight, out of mind.  Pretty funny!  By that point I was pretty thirsty but didn't have anything to drink.  So, we hopped on the metro and headed to Deira City Center.  

It took about 45 minutes.  When we got to the huge food court it was packed....with people at tables waiting for the fast to end so they could order food.  Pretty funny actually.  City center has an 11 screen cinema, Magic Planet family entertainment centre, and a huge Fitness First facility...all in a very nice mall.  Took a while to find a place to eat, place our order,and finally eat.