Sunday, 8 April 2012

Day 8 in Dubai

Well if we manage to keep to 1 post a week, we'll be doing well - let's see shall we.

So what's happened in our first week?  We have done lots of swimming in the roof top pool - at least twice a day appears to be mandatory.

We have picked up our hire car - a rather "smaller than I expected" Toyota Corolla.  A good little car, but it requires arms like Mr Tickle in order to strap 3 children avec car seats in the rear.  We thought the Saab was bad!

Venturing out onto the roads for the first time was a little daunting, even for a class 1 expert driver like myself.  We hit Sheikh Zayed Road (SZR) after 10 minutes, a 7 lane each side highway that runs straight through the middle of Dubai. The road itself isn't the biggest worry, it's the concern that you may never be able to get off of it. We could end up in Abu Dhabi or, even worse, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA)!  Dubai's drivers leave a lot to be desired, but KSA is a lot, lot worse.

Eventually we managed to get off of SZR and after a few missed turns and U turns (which feature a lot when driving in Dubai) we made it to Dubai Mall.  Unsurprisingly for Dubai this is the Largest Mall in the World (there are lots of "in the world's" here).  The place is enormous - think Bluewater, but multiply it by about 10.  We got a third of the way round the triangle, spent £200 in Hamleys, I spent an hour on a conference call to work while the others watched the Largest Aquarium in the World (features sharks, rays, etc and you can go scuba diving in it! It's in the middle of the mall).  We then mooched back to the car to get home.  Parking was a doddle, and free (unless you want to valet park).

Tuesday night and I had an email from a friend from Birmingham who was in town - his hotel was just over SZR from ours!  That evening saw a few room service beers, followed by a few more roof-top-bar beers when Rach went to bed.  2am came very quickly and we were still in t-shirts and shorts drinking beer on the 43rd floor - very bizarre.  Great to catch up with someone from home and a lovely surprise.  Here's to more business trips for friends from Angleterre.

View from our kitchen of our visitors hotel - he was on the 47th floor!
Wednesday was Atlantis day - what a place.  Situated at the end of The Palm, an enormous man made structure which protrudes out of beach and into the sea.  You drive up the "trunk" of the palm tree to get to Atlantis, which is at the top of the furthest "frond".  There are motorways and tunnels on the Palm, as well as hundreds, neigh thousands of houses and apartments.  The size of the thing beggars belief.  It was not there 5 years ago - ridiculous.  Atlantis hotel is huge, and very impressive in a "mock old" kind of way.  The water park is fantastic.  Several aggressive rides for people 1.2m or higher, and a huge spagetti of rivers, some with rapids, running round the whole place.  You can stay on these rivers in one of several thousand inflatable rings for the whole day, as you have two travellators which take you up higher so that you can start the whole thing again without ever leaving your ring!  They also have figure of 8 rings so two of your can go together.

1.1m tall Olsey was, of course, up for the big rides, which include a tube ride which goes through the middle of an enormous shark/ray tank.  Our first attempt to gain entry resulted in a ruffle of his blonde hair and a "see you in a few months" from the attendant guarding the main gate.  After a bit of consulting from yours truly, the second attempt saw Olsey hidden behind my figure of 8 float, past the guard and into the tube!  There was a black bit at the start which didn't seem to phase him, then we shot through a wall of water and into the shark's tank!  We could see the other Goodies waving from outside the tank, and sharks, rays, and other large fish (which are not nameable by me) swam over and beside us.  It was really cool.

The rest of the day consisted of a large (expensive) fast food lunch, a whole pineapple which was cut into segments in the skin (very cool) and lots of sun cream.  The kids loved it, and so did we.  The most memorable part for me being when Lucy was in the front of my figure of 8, Olsey in his own ring and we were hurtling down white water rapids, with Lucy just grinning from ear to ear and screaming "Weeee" with delight - at the end of the rapids Olsey shouted "Lucy, you're the best little sister in the whole world!". Cherished moments.

Thursday was the day to visit schools - we left ourselves 45 mins to get to DESS (Charlotte and Olsey's school which is 10 minutes away).  It took us 40 minutes.  We were stuck on the wrong side of SZR and took the wrong turn off, followed by another 5 or 6 wrong turns!  We eventually made it with 5 mins to spare, but had no change for the parking meter. We took a chance and got away without a ticket.  The kids seems to love the school.  It still had the same friendly, happy, but undeniable driven, feeling about it.  Olsey took one look at the kids in the gym and said "this school is better than ours at home because you are allowed to go to the top of the climbing frame, Henham make you stop at the black tape which is only 1 step up!".  He is now happy with the school.  Even the oft quiet Charlotte was impressed, and saw all of her classmates.

Next we headed to Lucy's nursery, which seemed lovely. We met her teacher and her class and she has not stopped asking "Are we going to school tomorrow" since.

On the way to Lucy's school I had to fill up the car, which was running on fumes.  I didn't know how much to ask the man to put in (you don't even get out of your car, a guy does it all for you) so I went for Dhs30, which managed to take the tank from empty to over half full.  Dhs30 is £5!!!

Now I have written too much already, so in short, we have also viewed a few cars, test driven one (a 5.7litre V8 - see above for reason), hit the beach and been to work for a day.

We will try to get better at video and photo's, but that's all for now folks.... now we start to find a house....


No comments:

Post a Comment