Today we had nothing really planned. Not that we had to get up for. Went across the road to the Mall and had waffles for breakfast. After having breakfast we came back to the hotel to research and try and buy tickets for Alantis. It is the hotel out on the original Palm Island and also has an aqurium and a water park. We also tried to book online tickets to the Dubai Ski. However we were not able to do so. Would not let us book for the same day. We decided to just go across the road and try directly.
When we got to Dubai Ski we were able to buy tickets to the snow park and to meet the penguins. We had booked the 4:30pm tickets to meet the pengiuns but the guy had given us the 4pm tickets. This had caused some confusion because when we tried to enter they sent us across the the pengiun encounter meeting point. The lady there knew we were doing the 4:30pm session so we went back and explained it to the other lady at the gate. Even after entering the park the guide wanted us to join the 4pm group. Since the group was large already we didn’t want to and said we would meet at 4:30pm. By now some time had gone by and we only had 15 minutes to go explore the snow park. Rhian and I went on the tabogan down the bobsled strack. Went for a quick walk around the rest of the park before heading back to the pengiun encounter meeting point.
We seemed to wait around the meeting point within the cold side of the gate for a long time. Just as we were going back out to see if we were meant to meet at the warm side the leader was bringing through the rest of the people. We first watched a short video of the rules of meeting the pengiuns. After this we had to clean our hands before being lead into the penguine meeting point. There was a trainer and one Gentoo penguine called Lollypop. Lollypop was only two years old and so was easily excited. In pairs we were told to go site across on a chair. The penguin would then run across the floor and waddle up a ramp and come stand in the middle of the pair. You then posed for photos for the photographer. After the photos the penguin would run back to the trainer for its fish.
After Lollypop we were lead into a second enclosure where there were two king penguins. King penguins are the second largest breed of penguins. In this enclosure again in pairs we were told to kneel behind the pengiuns. We were then told to touch its back. Stroke its fins. Then we were shown how to hug the penguine. lastly you leant forward and kiss the penguine on its neck. All the time the photographer was taking photos. You only got a short time with the penguins and our time was up.
We left the cold side of the ski park and went back inside to view the photos. Rhian and I ended up buying all our photos on a USB drive to bring home. After buying the photos we went back into the ski park to play. We caught the chair lift half way up the hill to the cafe. At the cafe we had nachos and a mocha. Instead of taking the chairlift down we put helments on and rode tubes down a longer bobsled track. Rhian enjoyed this so we caught the chairlift back up the hill and went down again. After this Rhain went to play on the kiddy rides and I lined up to go on the Zorb ball. It is a big ball inside a ball. You jump into it then roll down the hill. This was fun but the hill was only about 15 meters. After the Zorb ball I went and found Rhain again. By now it was getting late and we were frozen enough so we exited the Ski Park.
After taking the boots, pants and jackets off we left Ski Dubai. We went to dinner at the mall at one of the restraunts then came back to the hotel. Again we researched Alantis and tried to book online. Didn’t work still and after not hearing back from the travel company Rhian stuffed around on the tablet. I was watching TV. After Rhian finished playing I tried one more time to book our tickets for Alantis and this time it worked. Rhians phone had used up all our data at dinner so we made plans to get to breakfast early. Go to the mall to top up the data, Get Rhian some more bathers then head to Alantis. I spent the rest of the night writing blogs.
Rhian started watching a movie which didn’t finish until 2am. I told her she would have to turn all the alarms off in the morning. Rhian hates the mornings and hates waking up.
Today is our first day in Dubai. As with most days since the tour we slept in. Well Rhian does and because I can do nothing else I end up sleeping in too. We managed to get downstairs just before 10am when the breakfast is cut off. The food was nothing fancy and we are both sick of the english breakfast you get everywhere.
After breakfast we crossed the road to the Mall of the Emirates. This is a massive shopping center. It is the one that has the Ski Slope inside. Rhian quickly found the H&M store. She has been able to sniff this place out no matter where we go. Anyway after more than an hour and trying on the entire stores clothes she walked out with only three white tops and two pairs of shorts. We then walked upstairs and had a walk through a few eletrical stores. Again everything here is what you can get at home and the prices are about the same or more. Before leaving we got a quick snack of a buger and a milkshake. Milkshake was ok.
We were booked on a City of Merchants tour at 1430. We walked back across the road to the hotel and dropped Rhians shopping in the room. After double checking the paper work turns out we were not getting picked up until 1445. We waited downstairs in the lobby for the driver to come collect us. Once the driver arrived we took a short ride to a car park in the middle of no where. A number of other cars and busses rocked up. Once everyone arrived we were moved onto a coach which would drive us around the city.
The first half of the tour was a drive around the city telling us about some of the buildings we were passing by. Our first photo stop was at Jumeirah Mosque. I am not sure of the importance of this one but when we arrived a session was about to start so lots of men were filing in through the doors. After the photo stop we got back on the bus and drove for a bit longer passing places like the next leader of the Emrites house. His only 29 years old and has a palace the size of Pepermint Grove. All the signs tell you not to enter or turn around and go back. The second bus stop was at the oldest part of Dubai. It was the first settlement or town of Dubai. We can’t remember the name but the buildings were only 40 years old. After 20 minutes we got back on the bus and drove to our third stop which was the Dubai Museum. This was not a huge musuem but it was interesting.
After the museum we took a short bus ride to the river where we caught a small boat across the river. The boat was like one of the put put boats you get in Hong Kong or Thialand. After the crossing we were at the Spice Markets and Gold Markets. We had around 15 minutes at each market. I got harassed by every Indian for a suit, bags, glasses, watches. Only so many times you can tell someone No Thank You before you just want to punch them in the face. As with all Indians they never wear their own product. It was like being in Bali but people wearing better clothes and speaking good english.
After the markets the group was split into different cars and busses to take us back to our hotel. We were taken in a Holden Statesman rebadged as a Chev. This car had done 117,000 kms but had been kept as though it had just come out of the showroom. For a place which is in the dessert it is amazing how clean 95% of the cars are. Might have something to do with the car cleaners at the shopping mall car park.
After arriving back at the hotel we went for Pizza across the road from the hotel. It is strange over here you can not get a beer anywhere but the hotel bar. Sucks!. With all the foriegn residents (being 70% of them) I don’t understand why it is not more available. After stuffing a whole pizza into my pie hole we came back to the hotel and went to bed.
Day one down.
Today is going to be a bording post because we spent it on the plane. Her it goes. Our alarm went off at 0315. This sucked because we only went to be at midnight. Rhian hates being woken up period. Neverlone after just a few hours. Always makes for a plesant start to the day. We showered and got ourselves organised. After checking three times we had everything we locked the suitcases. We prebooked a transfer to the airport from the hotel. Rhian was sick of carrying her suitcase up and down stairs at the train station so we paid $80 AUD for the transfer.
Once we arrived at the airport we checked inn our bags at the baggage drop then proceeded upstairs to security. Again my carry on bag got pulled aside at security. This time it was because I left the nazel spray in the bag and not in the clear plastic bags. It was only 30ml and so was under the limit. Either way I got my bag emptied and everything swiped for drugs. Came back clean.
After getting my carry on bag repacked we headed through the terminal. Nothing special here is just the same old duty free stores . Rhian had a wonder through Harrods but didn’t buy anything. We found a small cafe for breakfast. A Mocha and crumpet. After breakfast we wondered around a bit more waiting for the terminal screen to tell us what gate our flight would be at. Three minutes after it was meant to it updated and told us our gate was open at gate 9. This was good mean we didn’t have too far to walk.
We had good seats on this flight. Only a few rows from the front door of the plane on the bottom deck. I got the window seat and because of the curve at the front of the plane I had extra room on the left next to the window. After take off my ears played up and the whole words started spinning again. It lasted for about 10 – 15 minutes. I think it is because I got a little bit of a cold back over the last couple of days. Either way things settled down. After breakfast was served. Which sucked. I ended up eating some of it but soon as I was done I fell asleep for a couple hours. The rest of the flight I was still a little bit dopey. Wasn’t until the last couple of hours of the flight I watched anything on the TV.
We landed twenty minutes early. After landing we had to get a lift downstairs then a train to another terminal or building. It took at least half an hour or more for our bags to come out to the baggage claim. Ours were some of the last. We walked through the terminal and went through immergration. Was painless experience. We also walked through customs no issues there either. I found the desk from who I wanted to get the SIM card for the tablet from. However they said it would take an hour or more to reboot the computer so I left it. We got some local currency out of an ATM and then found our desk where they would arrange our hotel tranfer. However right next to it was another local mobile company and I asked them about a local sim. For only $40 AUD I got the simcard and 1GB of data. Should be enough for the week. After switching the sim card over they setup the tablet to work on the network. Mobile data before we even left the airport. I was happy.
By now our hotel transfer was ready. They lead us through the terminal and to a waiting car. All the cars over here are nice. You do not see a shitbox on the road over here. Ii was about half an hour to get to our hotel. We had a nice driver who seemed Indian but spoke english. He told us all the buildings and places we were passing on the way. We arrived at our hotel and this time it was booked under my name. Actually had on the hotel paperwork Mr Rzepecki and party :P. we got checked in and a porter brought our bags to the room. This is only a three star hotel. I knew less meant more in Dubai
After settling into the room we went downstairs to the bar and grill. I had a few Heineken and Rhian finally had a few drinks too. She was actually drinking cocktails. It has taken six weeks but she finally had a drink. We also had dinner at the grill. After 9pm a band came on stage. They were ok so we stayed for a couple other drinks. After enough drinks and food to explode we came back to the room and passed out after a long day.