Saturday, May 24, 2014

Gold Souq, Dubai Mall, Burj Khalifa, Beach ~ Dubai

We had a long weekend (Sunday was an Islamic Holiday) so week took off for a weekend in Dubai. We left after church on Friday and checked in to this really neat little hotel (Ahmedia Heritage Guest House). It had a lot of character and a wonderful staff. The only problem was parking. The hotel was formally a really large villa that has been converted in to a hotel and it only has ONE parking spot for their 15 rooms. Unfortunately we weren't the only ones there with a car. Luckily since both cars were small we were able to fit them both in and just be able to switch spots with the other guest as needed. We also had an issue with the air conditioning in one of our rooms but the staff moved the girls to another room.
1 room: Hubby, Monkey and I stayed in this room.
The door to one of our rooms.
The lock on the door
Looking down on the lobby
Unicorn and Ladybug's room.
Ladybug and Monkey and a couple of the hotel staff.

Saturday morning we walked over to the Gold Souq. Wow, it was amazing. A lot of the shops don't allow photography so were weren't able to get pictures of some of the really amazing pieces. It was a short walk from the hotel to the souq but since it was very hot (115*F) we only lasted about 1.5 hours.
This is just one of MANY gold shops in the souq!
I love turtles!
My name in Arabic (white gold)
My mom's name in Arabic (gold)
After the Gold Souk we went back to the hotel to cool off and rest for a bit. Then we headed out to the Dubai Mall. We had lunch at IHOP and wandered around a bit. The kids and I went to Build-a-Bear (so I could get my camel).
My camel: Dhabi
Monkey's monkey: Dusty
Ladybug's bunny: Sparkle
Unicorn's bunny: Gabriella
 After Build-a-Bear we wandered around the mall a bit and found the indoor aquarium.

Then it was time to head to the Burj Khalifa, currently the tallest building in the world (Saudi Arabia is currently building one that is to be taller). You have to get tickets a couple weeks in advance and even 2 weeks in advance we had limited time slots to choose from. We opted for the 8pm time. Sometimes it is really nice to have a couple really cute children with soon as the employees saw Monkey and Ladybug they moved us to the front of the line (the did this at the end of the tour too) and cut an hour off our wait time! There are 160 floors but you can only go up to the 124th floor for the viewing.

Sunday we walked to the Gold Souq real quick to pick up the necklaces. Then we checked out of the hotel and headed to the beach for a bit (it was really too hot for the beach but we had promised the little ones that we would go). We lasted about 30-45 minutes.

A view of the Burj Khalifa from the beach

Checking out a Jellyfish

After the beach we grabbed a bite from a nearby McDonald's and headed home! It was a fun (and exhausting) trip!
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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Al Ain Oasis

Our last adventure with Grandma was to visit the Al Ain Oasis. This oasis is a palm plantation with almost 3,000 acres. There are over 147,000 date palms with 100 different varieties. There are also some mango and lemon trees as well. They use an irrigation system that is over 3,000 years old. Entry is free and they close at 6pm. I don't know what time they open and I am sure they have limited hours on Fridays as well.

So, we headed into the oasis and had NO idea where we were going. After about 5 minutes the security guard came up to us in his golf cart and offered to show us around a bit (not sure why but I would guess it had something to do with Ladybug and Monkey...they have that affect on people here). He took us to an area where the water was flowing in the channels and even let the little ones walk in it. He also made us take his picture with them! Then he drove us around a bit and told us all about the oasis and the different types of trees that are there. He then drove us back to where he found us and told us how to find our way our of the Oasis "maze"!
The entry to the Oasis
Ladybug, Monkey and the security guard
Ladybug and Monkey in the water irrigation channel
Ladybug and Monkey in the water irrigation channel (it was a little harder to walk back against the current)
All packed into the little golf cart
Another view of us in the golf cart
Some date palms
Dates (the will begin harvesting them in July)
The entrance (I think the poor sign needs an update)!

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Monday, May 19, 2014

Al Ain Zoo

Zoo's generally aren't my favorite thing to do when it is HOT out but my mom and the kids really wanted to go to the Al Ain Zoo. It is already so HOT here that the Zoo is only open from 4pm - 10pm daily.  Well, we went anyway and we were pleasantly surprised! It was hot, but they have the option to get a tour guide who drives you around the Zoo in a golf cart. You get to see everything, get a bottle of water and a soda (or juice) for everyone in your party, a giraffe feeding, and a discount if you purchase anything. This VIP treatment cost 500ADE for the 6 of us (4 adults and 2 children). We also got front row seating for the bird show.
Monkey, Ladybug, and Unicorn at the Entrance
Our tour guide and golf cart (yes, she gave us permission to take her photo)
Big Horn Sheep
Wild African Dog
Beautiful White Lioness
Gazelle (she loved getting her picture taken)
Hide and Seek with a Wildebeest
 Giraffes Synchronized eating
I love that the little one has his tongue out and the one in front looks like he is liking the spots off the little one!
Monkey "feeding" the hippo trash can!
Hippos (they tried to hid from the camera but I got them)!
The kids got to feed this giraffe
Ladybug about 110cm
Monkey about 100cm
Unicorn about 140cm
Very cute recycling bins!
Mr. Crocodile
She was so excited to be chosen! (I think he had her picked out from the second he saw her)!
Ladybug waiting for the falcon.
Look at that face!
Another animal that enjoyed getting his picture taken. Cute penguin!
My Monkey!
My Ladybug!
My Unicorn!
A Big Tortoise
This camel had an itch...he used the tree branch to scratch!

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