Luxury in the Dubai Desert

Trip Start Aug 31, 2011
Trip End Sep 12, 2011

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Flag of United Arab Emirates  ,
Tuesday, September 13, 2011

We arrived at about 1am on a Tuesday after 2 rather long flights and a 5 hour stint in an airport in China, so it was rather nice to be met by a smiling Sophie and Adam with a big boot, to shove our bags in and the maximum number of crates of beer you can buy in duty free.

Following a late night, what with chatting no end and looking round their snazzy apartment - right Soph or is it a flat, we spent the day by the pool, and, what a beautiful pool and gym they have as part of their apartment tower.  We were lucky as Soph had the first week off and Adam most of it due to Eid (public holiday) falling as we landed, so perfect timing.  It was nice to wake up and see their view on the 23rd floor in the day light - the greenest of golf courses, the dustiest sand and apartments in the distance, a lake below and the edge of the palm and the sea on a clear day.  Following the pool we visited our first mall, where we girls shopped and the boys went off to play football, and we thought we were there for a rest - unlikely with their sporting schedules!

On Wednesday we went to the beach which although man made is stunning, one of the best we have seen as the sand is cleaned daily and the water is warm and clear, although you cant stay on the beach too long at this time of year as its not long before the temperature is in the 40s.  So we headed off to explore the Palm and nose at the empty houses (as the summer is only just ending and residents are away) and to check out the Atlantis Hotel.  We ended the day with dinner out and a fitting for my bridesmaid dress which was just like being back in the tailors in Vietnam.

Thursday we had to do some chores, well accompany Soph to the garage with the not so perfectly timed, broken car!  Still this was finally sorted which freed us up to visit the pool and buy and pack some camping gear for our adventure into the desert.

Friday - so the weekend had come around (in Dubai this is Friday & Saturday) and we were off early doors to Oman (4 hours) where we were to camp in the desert for the night, spending the day climbing and jumping into wadi's in the middle of the desert.  Wadi jumping consisted of jumping off rocks high up into pools of water and swimming through caves and waterfalls in the middle of nowhere, it was fun and rather refreshing from the hot sun!  We set up camp high up overlooking the sun setting onto the desert below which was beautiful, despite being rather windy which led to a BBQ dinner and drinks complete with sand - yum, our favorite!  Then it came the time for bed which turned out to be a bit hideous.  It was boiling and I am sure it got hotter as the night wore on.  We were in a small tent sealed up to stop the bugs eating us with temperatures still in the 30s.  Soph and Adam had a mattress in the 4x4 which they ended up closing up and switching on the air-con all night so they were cool but a bit cramped, we however were more comfy but seriously hot.  Realising at some point during the early hours of the morning that it really was getting hotter, as our tent was nearly touching the now boiling car bonnet from running the air-con, resulting in us having to literally pick up our tent and move it to some open space.  We were all rather glad when the sun came up and could get up.  So Sophie & Adam now know September is still too hot to camp - thanks for letting us be the guinea pigs on this one guys! 

On the way back from Oman on the Saturday we spent some hours in the water park at the Atlantis Hotel.  It was a great laugh as all the rides come out into the rapid river and most of the rides take double rings so we could go down together.

Sunday and the workers were back to their jobs which gave us a break by the pool for the day.  We were taken round the indoor souk in the evening which was really pretty and would have been lovely to have eaten outside by the water but it was just too hot.

Monday was another day by the pool for us and off to the Worlds largest mall for dinner, where we watched the tallest fountains in the world dance to music and stared at the world's largest indoor aquarium.

Tuesday again was spent at the pool and was a nice chance to dress up for a girl’s night out where we danced and drank champagne all night whilst the boys went off pubbing to watch the footie.

Wednesday, yep you guessed it, was spent by the pool!  Well our tans did need topping up, followed by haircuts, manicures, pedicures, dress fittings and shopping in the evening.  It’s nice that the shops are open for so much longer then 5pm, hmm I can hear the boys say!

Thursday, at the pool again and more shopping in the evening.

Friday – yeah, was the weekend again and the first day of my 2 day birthday surprise!   Starting with the 4 of us down at the pool of course, we then headed off to the Atlantis Hotel for my birthday present from Soph & Adam - brunch.  Ok so at first read this probably doesn't sound too exciting but believe me it was!!  This is an all you can eat and drink experience from 12 - 4pm in a 5 star dining environment, and believe me we did just that.  I cannot describe how amazing the choice of food and drink was and how pretty it looked.  We feasted on all sorts of sea food and roast dinners along with an incredible amount of deserts - toffee apples, ice creams, candy floss, chocolates, sweets dipped in the giant chocolate fountain, a birthday cake, to name but a few.  The drinks consisted of bottle after bottle of fizzy wine, punch served in pineapples, shots of almost anything, massive brandy's, iced vodkas etc, it never got boring going up for more.  I suppose the nearest thing we have at home would be like a Harvester but imagine a 20 star rated one!  We also fitted in some canvass painting outside which I am sure was meant for kids but that didn't stop us.  Our afternoon continued drinking and smoking shisha pipes at a nearby beach resort watching the sun go down over the high modern tower blocks, ending with us back in their pool - who said drinking and swimming was bad, we had a great time, until the next day when Adam was in pain having had us all standing on his shoulders in the water at some point!

Saturday consisted of me donning a nice dress for my second surprise day which saw me being driven into the sky diving place near the palm.  So no need for the nice dress for our day out!  Nice cover up Soph.  Yep I was going sky diving as a surprise, paid for by friends and family at home and sneakily arranged by Sophie.  Nervous? yes, but also racked with adrenaline and excitement although this soon changed when strapped to my hunky instructor we edged towards the plane exit which was tiny with no door and sounded like we were flying in a lawn mower.  I would never have been able to make the jump on my own so it’s a good job that decision wasn't mine.  It however was amazing!!  Such a buzz, we went from 13,000 feet and once the parachute opened we seemed to take ages to glide down all the while looking over the palm and the rest of Dubai - stunning.

Sunday - my actual birthday was quiet as it was a work day again so relaxing by the pool was the order of the day, followed by going up the tallest building in the world (to floor 124) at sunset and dinner out.

Monday was of course another pool day followed in the evening by dinner at the hotel Soph used to work in.  It is a lovely beach resort with its own marina on the edge of Dubai.  We girls ended the evening on the blow up sofas in the pool for movie night with popcorn while the boys got on the beers and shisa pipe to watch the live music; it was a lovely last night. 

Tuesday evening saw us off to the airport having dinner beforehand in an Irish pub which was very strange as it was so like being in a pub back at home.  So it was bye bye lovely, amazing, comfortable, lush Dubai and hello Delhi: landing at 4am - oh what a contrast that turned out to be!!

Thanks Soph & Adam for the best time and the best 30th birthday!!

Last month in India then...............

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