Visiting Lee, Melanie and Owen

Trip Start Aug 28, 2006
Trip End Sep 16, 2007

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Friday, January 19, 2007

We are in Athens near Atlanta, Georgia, at the moment chilling out with some friends, Lee, Melanie and their toddler Owen.  After Pakistan we spent 2 days in Dubai, our last stop in Asia before flying to New York via London, where our bags got lost in transit, we then had 3 days sight seeing in New York before flying on to Atlanta. 
Dubai was a lot of fun!!  The place is a shopping heaven; it has some of the biggest shopping malls in the world and they were full of European shops, which I haven't seen for a long time, so I bought some replacement clothes!!  Dubai is a pristine, very modern city full of skyscrapers and impressively has been built on a subtropical Desert.  We spent a day touring the city including checking out the local gold market and we spent a day in the Arabian Desert.  The Arabian Desert is 1 million sq. miles and is the 4th biggest desert in the world after the Antarctic (5.5 million sq. mi.), the Arctic (5.4 million sq.mi.) and the Sahara (3.5 million sq.mi.).  We did a desert safari which was really exciting.  We drove up and down the sand dunes in a 4WD at high speed, kicking up a whole load of sand.  We had a go at sand boarding, the same as snow boarding but on sand and spent the evening at a Bedouin camp where we tried the local food, henna tattoos and watched belly dancing while smoking a shisha (apple flavour!!).
New York was 9 hours behind and 20 degrees colder than Dubai and since our backpacks with our jumper and coat were still in Heathrow we had an interesting start in America!!    Luckily our bags turned up 12 hours later and the Natural History Museum in New York was plenty warm enough to walk around in just a t-shirt!  We quickly managed to convince our bodies that they were mistaken about the time and the clocks were correct and got on with some sight seeing!!  We took the ferry to Liberty Island to see the statue of Liberty close up; had lunch overlooking Brooklyn Bridge; went ice skating at Rockefeller Plaza off 5th Avenue and viewed the city from the top of the Rockefeller building and the Empire State building; walked around Times Square and Central Park; went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art; shopping in Macy's department store and ate plenty of all American food!!
In Athens we are catching up with Lee and Mel, getting to know Owen and enjoying great hospitality!!  I'm having a fantastic time; it is the closest I've felt to home since we left.  Lee made us a great Sunday Roast with Yorkshire puddings last night, my first in four and a half months!!  
We are due to fly down to Chile in South America on Wednesday making a stop over in Miami.  We hope to meet up with my parents there and travel down to the Antarctic together.        &am p;nb sp;    
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