All good things.........

Trip Start Aug 13, 2004
Trip End Sep 11, 2004

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Flag of United Arab Emirates  ,
Friday, September 10, 2004

since we did not do our usual city tour with a guide, we are unable to share our local historical knowledge of this city. so we dont know exactly where the crown prince fits into the whole scheme of things only to say he is important.

but what we have done has been an arabian delight (also the name of a great cocktail).

wed night was spent at gold souk the markets where gold shops are abound. the gold here is cheaper and the diamonds are all certified from antwerp also cheaper, but a lot of the gold has the rich yellow colour not commonly found in australia. you can bargain and a good tip is just under 40 dirhams per gram, this is dependant on gold price but at time of writing its $400USD an ounce. how its done is they weigh what you want and then tell you the price, you then take it from there how much you want to pay.

thursday was spent with rob playing at emirates golf club, home of the dubai classic and louise sleeping in and then lazying by the pool. the golf course is different since there isnt really any rough in terms of trees, just basically sandy desert. its a good course not the toughest or best i have played (try the gold coast) but its worth playing when here if you are a golf nut.

picture this.....footprints in the golden sand, 4wd driving at sunset, camel rides, an arabian oasis full of food, drink and belly dancing. this was how we spent thurs night doing the arabian adventures dinner safari. Hyathan, was our driver for the evening. this company organises venture travels into the desert using GMC Yukon 4wd. they carry 6 passengers and the drive out to the desert is about 50km. you go out with around 15 cars in all and the first experience is 4wd bashing. louise asked hyathan who was from jordan where he got his drivers license from, to which he did not reply. in response he put her in the front seat, to get the full effect of the drive ahead!!!!!!

we reached the conservation reserve, deflated the tyres and commenced our desert dune bashing. no longer than 2minutes into it we got bogged!!! in fairness the sand is very fine and hardly even sticks to your shoes as you get in and out of the car. we got bogged at a 30 degree angle and the tyres completely disappeared, hence we got towed out. These dunes are 3-12mt high and going over them and at times sideways to them crabwalking can be fun and also gut wrenching. after around 1hr, we were bogged 3 times, (2 not our doing but due to cars in front being slow and in part hyathan being adventurous), we stopped to watch the sun go down at the camel farm. the view is great but the smell not so. we then proceeded to our oasis where we had our arabian buffet waiting for us. this oasis is decked out with lanterns, low lying tables, and cusions to sit on while you eat. it has women who do henna (tattoos), shiysha (we think) which is a tobacco scented with apple in a water bong like contraption. in the middle was a dance floor where our belly dancer performed for us. during her performance she went into the crowd to pull out at first men and then later in the night women. since we were at the front of our table on the edge of the floor we got pulled out. after a few beers plus the exotic atmosphere we were right into it. Our pulsating hip movements we reckon rivalled hers :-)

travel tip: the cost is around $100 each but includes food, wine, beer, plus the 4wd bashing, and belly dancing. the whole experience makes it a must for any visit to dubai.

our last day of the holiday oh hum :-( was spent lazing around the pool of the hotel. we worked on our tans and spent the day going in and out of the water, a cocktail or two and some light lunch. later that night we ventured out to the burj al arab hotel (the one that looks like a sail) this hotel is on a island covering the grounds of the hotel, and is accessed by a small road about 150 mt long. you cant actually just walk into this hotel off the street. first you must make a reservation at one of the restaurants or bars (before you arrive) and spend at least 150 dirhams each (about $60aud). you get a taxi to the hotel which drops you at the welcome gate, you then tell the guys your name, and a golf cart will drive you if you dont want to take the short walk to the hotel. its pretty small inside the lobby area but the atrium inside with the rooms on two sides has a burswood hotel look about it. the water fountains inside are scented with rose water to give a delightful. we made a booking for the skyview bar on the 27th floor, the best place to take in the view. they dont do food, but at $20AUD a pop there drinks and service is as expected good. however, the skyview bar could be mistaken for the parramatta or bondi league club bar. it had a very vegas feel about it with coloured lights in the shape of sails for the ceiling and on the walls in the hallways leading into the bar it had lights flickering like it was on a braile board. there was the usualy pianist and singer to set the mood. you get a good view of the jumeirah beach and the new palm property development.

if you dont mind the cost its worth doing, its very swanky and you get treated very well, so dinner or just drinks will wet your appetite.

travel tip: go just before sunset, venture to the 27th floor even if you have reservations at one of the other restaurants, and ask to just take a quick view from the window. you are not suppose to take photos whilst in the hotel but hey they can only ask you politely (as always) not to do it again.

and so comes to an end our wonderful holiday. its been a great journey and more so that we have been able to share it with you all. we recommend any of the cities we have seen and the tours we have done. we certainly had the time of our lives and hope you got something out of it too!!

until next time happy travels!!

rob and louise.
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