Sunday, 5 August 2012

Day 120 in Dubai (at least for one of us...)

So I have been prompted to write a bit more of the blog by our eldest - she wants me to tell you all about them going Skiing in SkiDubai, the 1km indoor ski slope in Mall of the Emirates.

They had a 1 hour Discovery lesson, which meant they got to be fully kitted out with a ski suit, boots, skis, helmet, then onto the slope to try to figure out how to move around, go up the travellator, down the slope, and hopefully how to stop.  At the end of the lesson they got a free hot chocolate on the slope - Lucy's ski suit appeared to be magentic, and she promptly came bowling from the slope with a brown shade across the front of her suit. 

Unsurprisingly they all loved it.  Charlotte was the only one to "pass" and by put into the next group for her next lesson.  Clearly we are going to have to book some more up or we'll never hear the end of it.

Very shortly afterwards, the family abandoned me in Dubai.  Well ok, I took them to the airport then went straight to the golf course, but it amounts the same thing.  As I am sure most of your know, they are back in the for 5 weeks, with just 1 week remaining now.

In the intervening time I have been trying to keep myself busy.  Work has been steady, but I have put in a few extra hours.  No further trips away this month.

I hit the golf course the first week, and played 18 holes starting at 5pm, when it was really hot, and finishing at 9.30pm when it was really hot and humid.  Obviously the course is floodlite, it gets dark here at 6.30pm every night all year, but it gets more and more humid as the sun goes down.  The temperature was about 40C degresss (104f for you Americans).  I came off the course soaking wet.  My colleagues had not thought to tell me to bring a change of clothes, so I had to have a shower and put the same clothes back on - lovely.

My Dad came over the following weekend and I took a couple of days off.  We did lots of touristy things, but by them Ramadan had kicked it, so it somewhat limits what you can do.  There is no eating or drinking allowed in public, so all restaurants, cafe's, coffee shops etc are closed all day, only opening at 7pm when the sun has gone down and "iftar" is announced from all of the Mosques.  This means that everyone gorges at that point, so you can't book a table in any restaurants!  Not very helpful when you are entertaining.

We managed a drive out into the desert, a tour of the Fountains at the base of the Burj Khalifa, a bike ride, an early morning swim and a bbq round some friends.  All in all, a very relaxing weekend, and I think Dad was pleasantly surprised by Dubai's attractions after not being entirely sure why people visited the place before he came.

Oh, and we watched Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome trounce the competition in the Tour de France  too :-)

I then had another round of golf over in Abu Dhabi at the Yas Links course on Yas Island.  It's right next to the F1 race track, and in true Links style, it eats up your balls when they go off of the fairway, I place I seem to find myself quite often!  Luckily you do often find somebody else's ball when you are looking for yours, so I only lots about 8 during the course of the day!

We tee'd off at 3pm, which is, quite frankly, a stupid time to tee off when the temperature dial in the car is reading 48 degrees (118f!!!).  I kept my hat on, obviously we had buggies too, and I drank loads of water, but I still managed to suffer from heat stroke by the end of the round.  I had a stinking headache, and couldn't even eat my Chateaubriand that night in the restaurant!  We stayed over the night, as hotels do amazingly cheap deals this time year, yet they are still empty!  It was £150 for the night, including lunch, 3 course dinner and breakfast, all the alcohol you can eat and use of all facilities at the 5* Park Hyatt!  Certainly a bargain if you are well enough to eat/drink!

The next day was a pool chill out day, before returning home to watch some of the Olympics.

It has been difficult to really get into the Olympics from over here.  There are quite a few channels showing various sports, many with UK commentators, but I guess watching it on your own is not the same as with others.  Woe is me!

I have managed to dust my bike off and get to a couple of places to do some proper training.  They let you use the Autodrome (race track) on Wednesday nights, for free, so I hit that last Wednesday, then I joined an organised ride 30 mins drive from home on Friday morning (at 5.45am!) in the desert to try out a new cycling track that has been installed by the Sheikh and runs +100km already, but will eventually loop back around into Dubai.  It was a great track, and I met some really nice people, so I'll definitely be going back this week.  So far I only did 35kms, but you can gradually step it up until you are doing 100kms.  The next stage after that is joining a group that leave 1 min from my house every Friday, and do a minimum of 80km (some do 140!) but they are much more serious bikers, with a higher average speed, so I need to train quite hard before even thinking about going on that one!

One last piccy as I know you don't just want to read my words... here's the garden:

Take care all