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Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Dubai & Abu Dhabi: Mini- Vacation
Ahhh! Do you ever have SO much pouring out of your brain in thoughts you just don't know where to start writing???
For starters, I'm deciding to write this blog about my recent mini-vacation I just took to Dubai & Abu Dhabi. But there are topics I want to discuss as a result of my trip there- for example, how the Arab world employs Easterners (people from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Philippines, Thailand, etc) & how MAYBE the US can kind of follow an example to resolve a bit of our immigration issues. I also want to talk about the recent killings of Coptic Christians in Egypt that happened over the weekend. And then of course I want to write about my recent experiences of Kuwait- since the purpose of this blog is to share about life in Kuwait (though it's taken a bit of a political/human rights platform LOL). So much to write about!!!
My trip. I hope I can remember everything I want to share!
OK. United Arab Emirates....they are a nation with the world's largest, fastest, tallest, coolest, most expensive....SOMETHING! LOL. For Christmas, they had the largest & most expensive Christmas tree....go figure LOL! They have the largest Malls, the fastest roller coaster, the tallest building in the world, the most expensive city in the world, the only place with Ferrari World, Dubai hosts the only 5 star hotel, has a camel race track & Abu Dhabi has one of the largest mosques in the world. Did I miss anything? I probably did!
The UAE is desert & beach. The Islamic structures of the buildings are beautiful. Every mosque I passed was elaborate, elegant, & at night they light it with colorful lights which accents every design. I am very fond of Islamic art & architecture.
The weather upon arriving in Dubai was hot & humid.
The currency is AED (Arab Emirate Dirhams). USD 1 = 3.75 Dhs (roughly).
I was in the UAE for 3 days & 2 nights.
Friday we arrived around 4pm. We got on the metro & tried to figure out where our hotel was. We walked around a lot & then finally got a taxi. Then we went to Dubai Mall, the biggest mall in the world. It was 4 stories, has an Ice rink (for ice skating), a zoo, aquarium, and a huge waterfall. It has a lot of designer stores & restaurants. We had dinner at Outback Steakhouse. We sat outside & it had an incredible view of villas & a man made lake with a water fountain show that illuminated the sky (you'll see it in the pics). Dubai Mall is right next to the Burj Khalifa (the tallest building in the world). So we had a nice view of the glowing building.
Saturday we ate at a Lebanese restaurant called Beirut in the city of Jumeirah & the food was DELICIOUS! Then we took a cab to Abu Dhabi which was about 2 hours away. Our destination was Ferrari World, the world's largest indoor theme park with the world's fastest roller coaster. We spent most of the day there, getting on rides & drooling over Ferrari's. Then we wanted to go into the city but didn't know exactly where to go. So we took a taxi & told the driver to take us where tourists go & where there were nice restaurants. He took us past homes that looked like palaces! He then took us to the largest Mosque in the UAE. Then he took us to Emirates Palace Hotel- GORGEOUS!!! HUGE!!! Then we asked to go to the mall. So he dropped us off & offered to wait for us to take us back to Dubai. So we went inside the mall. Lots of locals & less tourists. Ate at a French restaurant & then got in the cab & left for Dubai. The driver was 23 years old, from Pakistan. Told us he has a 5 year old son & a 1 1/2 yr old daughter. He has been married since he was 16 (his wife was 15 when they got married). He said Pakistan is a dangerous country to live & you have to have many guns. He has been away from his family working in Dubai for several years.
Sunday we checked out of the hotel & they kept our luggage while we went out into the most popular area of Dubai- Jumeirah Beach. We took a cab ride to the Metro station & then used our Dubai metro card we got on our first trip, to ride the metro to Dubai Marina Mall to eat at my boyfriend's favorite Italian restaurant there. We ate brunch then walked around b/c I wanted to buy some goggles to use in the water. Then we went to the beach & spent a few hours in the water. The water was VERY WARM! Finally we had to dry up & get ready to leave but we ate at an Italian restaurant on the beach strip- it happened to be a restaurant we ate at in Beirut. Then we rushed to grab our luggage, then off to the airport.
We didn't go to any clubs like I wanted to but that's ok. We did a LOT for a short trip. It was exhausting. I stayed at Holiday Inn Express. Previously I stayed at an expensive beach resort & realized I could have saved money if I had stayed at a cheaper hotel.
We spent a lot of money on taxi fares & we didn't eat as much. Ferrari World was a bit pricey to get into. Overall, it isn't so much "expensive" it's just that you end up spending a lot of money at the end of the trip. I went a little crazy & spent a lot of money buying souvenirs for everyone at Ferrari World ahaha.