Dubai and Abu Dhabi

Nov 2014 (7 Day Trip)

We arrived into Abu Dhabi, got picked up around 1.30 in the morning from a really good friend and drove back to Dubai to stay with him and his family.

(Tip Abu Dhabi is only an hours drive from Dubai, Cabs are very reasonable too, so if you’re trying to get cheap flights or connections through to your next destination you can choose either of the two cities airports.)

We were so lucky to have good friends to drive us around and give advice, driving here can be tricky you often only see the sign for the turn off after you failed to take it, also ‘Exit’ can be confusing if you’re not sure you should be on this road, our friend demonstrated this perfectly on our first car trip by getting lost in Abu Dhabi for 30 minutes before finding the right road 🙂

We all loved Dubai, loved the heat, was a gorgeous temperature in Nov.  Our friends had picked out a few really good day trips and gave us ideas on the best things to do and see around town.

The Mall’s were the 1st place’s we headed, another friend actually took us on a trip to a few of the Malls, The Mall of Dubai with an Ice Rink and Aquarium and The Mall of Emirates with a Ski Slope.  Both these Malls were incredible, but I must admit when we turned and saw the Aquarium in the Dubai Mall we were blown away, it was massive, we sat there for quite a while just taking it all in. The glass must be so thick, you wouldn’t want to see a crack forming, its about 50 metres long and 6 metres tall, that’s a lot of water leaning on the window 😮

We wanted to go up to the highest point in the Burj Khalifa, but the day we tried all the cheap tickets were taken, you could pay several hundred dollars to bypass the queue but we were on a budget and were flying out the next day, so figured we’d see the view soon enough, perhaps we’ll do it another visit.  We did love the dancing fountains and looking up at the Burj Khalifa building, it really is a stunning building.

One of the highlights for us was the Dessert Safari trip, we got to do sand bashing which was an enclosed 4×4 going exceptionally fast over sand dunes, must admit I wasn’t 100 % I was totally enjoying it, I thought I was going to die any moment and kept worrying about the boys, Jake was in the front because he felt a little ill in the car trip to the Dunes, he loved it, both boys thought it was awesome, Grant was in the back with me and though he’s only 5 10 he still had to hold onto the roll bars super tight to avoid bashing his head on them and the roof every few seconds, he said he got a good arm work out, so perhaps taller folk should avoid the rear seats!

The tour included several activites but there was almost always a free version and pay to use version of each activity, the boys took the free camel ride which was about 50 camel paces in a tight circle but since we’d done a reasonably long ride in Gran Canaria we were happy to just let the kids do the free one this time.

I did get to tick one thing off my bucket list though, I got to hold a bird of prey, this is something I have talked about for a long time as birds of prey amaze me they are incredibly beautiful. They do also have quite sharp talons though, but you just smile during the avian acupuncture and do exactly what the man says 🙂  Grant had an unfortunate childhood incident when the families pet parrot decided to try and mate with his hair, so it was funny that the Desert Falcon’s owner suggested putting it on his head, luckily there was no chemistry this time.

After the camels, birds and dune riding, we got to go into a square ‘Bedouin Camp’ where you could get a Henna Tattoo, Dress as an Arab (drab for free or nicer ones at a charge), have dinner and watch the belly dancer…which I have to say i think was Jacob’s highlight of the whole trip.

One day our friends took us to the Souk Markets, we had so much fun, our friend’s were really funny with their bartering, the boys thought they were awesome, all the markets were great but my favourite was the spice market, loved all the colours.

One day we went into Abu Dhabi as the men were playing Golf, we met them afterwards and headed to the Grand Mosque, one of my must see’s, the Mosque is stunning, we took so many photos, even Jacob turned photographer here, in general Dubai and Abu Dhabi are fairly relaxed about woman covering up, but the Mosque is obviously far stricter, I recommend you make sure your clothes cover your ankles fully, and sleeves run right to your wrist, necklines are at the neck not somewhere on your chest and a scarf is required to cover your head, if in doubt bring some extra scarves and longer sleeved shirts that can be buttoned to the neck. (There is the option of queueing up to hire appropriate clothing, which could be great if you happened across the mosque unprepared.)  I thought we were covered up until we got there, I suddenly felt so nervous especially after the guards got us to re-arrange our shawls, kept worrying something was showing,  a tiny bit of wrist or other patch of skin I usually didn’t think about, it kind of made me on edge, but Loved the Grand Mosque it’s Beautiful. A total must see.

After the Grand Mosque we drove back to Dubai for an evening Cruise on the Marina, must admit everyone was very tired it had already been a very long day, but the Cruise was lovely, seeing all the buildings lit up from the boat was really pretty, another awesome photo opportunity. While waiting for Dinner they had an LED lit Whirling Dervish perform, these seem to be everywhere as we had them on the desert safari also, there’s no way I could spin around that much, never mind on a boat, I’d be hanging over the rail for the rest of the cruise.

Grant was lucky enough to play three rounds of golf, even one under lights in the evening. Golf is very expensive but the courses were stunning, if not for the weather and wider surroundings you’d swear you were in another country (one where it rained often) the grass and club houses are lush, you can tell this is where the monied up hang out.  If you love your golf you have to play at least one game when visiting the UAE, Yas links in Abu Dhabi is stunning and surrounded by a white sand beach, drop the non golfers at the beach while you play! Or wait till the kids are in bed and Tee off after dark at the well lit Emirates Golf Course in downtown Dubai.

Grant thought overall Dubai was the Arabian version of Las Vegas, (he hasn’t been to Vegas yet though so we’ll have to get there one day to see if he’s right.)

Photo’s here

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