Definitely Dubai!! Part 10 Last stop of our Around the World Trip

Definitely Dubai!! Part 10 Last stop of our Around the World Trip

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Our Last Stop on our Around the World Trip!!
Destination: Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Date: March 2012

Clay posing at the dock in Dubai
March 2012

After a sixteen day cruise on the other side of the world our Around the World Trip was coming to a close.  Dubai was our last port of call and from there we would disembark the Aurora and fly home.  Sadly, the cruise ship would be continuing on to more fabulous destinations and many of the Auroras passengers were continuing on to finish the 112 day around the world cruise.  We were sad to say goodbye but we had to get home to the rest of the kids.

The beautiful view of the Persian Gulf fro our hotel.  Can you see the
sand storm over the water?
Dubai, UAE March 2012
Our hotel room in Dubai
Dubai, UAE March 2012

When we left our ship we loaded all of our belongings into a waiting cab and headed to our hotel, The Ritz of Dubai, www.ritzcarlton.com/en/Properties/Dubai/Default.htm,  was a fabulous accommodation right on the beach!  We loved having connecting rooms with Clay and Bailey and being on the bottom floor of this huge complex so we could easily access the beach.  The rooms were large and had every amenity we could imagine.

At the Dubai Mall.  Clay poses by the ice-skating rink and Bailey acknowledges the sign for prayer that is broadcast throughout the mall with both music, and electric billboards.
Dubai, UAE, March 2012

Our first site-seeing stop in Dubai was to the Dubai Mall, www.thedubaimall.com/en.  Sound crazy?  Well it’s not, because it is the most fabulous mall imaginable.  If you’ve ever seen the Dateline special that features this mall you’ll know what kind of fabulous I’m talking about.  Dubai Mall has the indoor ski slopes, an ice-skating rink, every store imaginable, and to Clays joy… a Shake Shack!  Need I say more???

Trent and I with our friends “S” and “J” were excited to hit the slope in the Dubai Mall
Dubai, UAE, March 2012
The view of the ski slopes through the food court window in the mall.  Clay was so excited to hit the slopes.
Dubai UAE, March 2012
Getting ready to ski in the locker room
Dubai, UAE, March 2012

Ski Dubai was a fabulous experience.  The indoor ski area is 74,000 square feet and features five runs, one that is as long as 440 yards and 65 yards high.  It also has a penguin exhibit, a 10,000 square foot snow park with a tube run, chair lifts, and even a mid-run Alpine cafe for a stop for hot chocolate during an extra long run.  😉  It was all a very surreal experience to be in the Middle East and skiing slopes in an inside mall. www.theplaymania.com/skidubai.

Getting all of our gear.  They even gave us gloves!
Dubai, UAE, March 2012
Clay and Bay give the thumbs up to skiing in Dubai
Dubai, UAE, March 2012
Trent and I pose at the top of the ski slopes
Dubai, UAE, March 2012

One interesting observation I made while at Ski Dubai is that many of the locals didn’t pick up after themselves.  On the ski slopes there were a lot of skis just abandoned on the slope causing a ski hazard for a distracted skier.  Especially by the mid-slope cafe.  The locals would just take off their skis and leave them right there in the snow even though a ski rack was located just ten feet away.  There was no sense of personal responsibility.  Then when we were waiting in line to get into a giant inflated ball to roll down the hill in the ski park area, everyone kept cutting in line.  At first I was just having fun talking with my kids and friends and wasn’t paying attention but after waiting in the line for so long I had to figure out what was taking so long.

A view of the slopes, and the midway cafe from the bottom of the slopes
Dubai, UAE, March 2012
On the slopes.  We couldn’t help but giggle at the “Expert Only” run
Dubai, UAE, March 2012

Sure enough the locals would ride the big inflated ball down the mountain come back up and walk right passed the line and get in for another ride.  This really made me upset and before I knew it my friends and I were the ones enforcing the line.  Everyone had to wait their turn.  That was what was fair.  Of course I can’t be certain why we experienced these discrepancies while at Ski Dubai but my hunch is that many of the locals aren’t used to cleaning up after themselves or waiting in lines because of their great amount of personal wealth.  I could be wrong on my assumption but it was pretty weird to see such flippancy.

Clay getting ready for his ride down the mountain in this big bubble tube
Dubai, UAE, March 2012



Bailey running from the globe she just tumbled down the mountain in
Dubai, UAE, March 2012

One thing that I did think was pretty cool about Ski Dubai is that all of the ski equipment is part of the rental, including the clothing.  Of course being in the Middle East no one has ski clothes or skis and just like being fitted for skis we were fitted for our ski attire.  It was kind of a great way to go skiing.  Just show up in shorts, go to a dressing room and pull the ski clothes up on top of whatever you’re wearing, and head out to the slopes.  I loved it all.  I felt sorry for the native women that had to wear their head coverings even on the slopes and went to great measure to change clothing in personal changing rooms inside the women’s locker rooms.

Trent down by one of the ice caves in this resort
Dubai, UAE, March 2012
The penguin show going on in the resort
Dubai, UAE, March 2012

The snow was great, I actually enjoyed the short runs and it was fun to ride the extremely slow chair lifts up to the top of the run.  Then when we wanted a chance to ride in the tube slalom we took or lives into our own hands as we flew down the side of this man made mountain.  At the end I was glad we all survived the tube slalom.

Bailey loved getting a little snowboarding in while we were on vacation
Dubai, UAE, March 2012
Trent and Clay rode down the tube slalom and enjoyed a crazy ride
Dubai, UAE, March 2012
Some of our group at the beginning of our fun day on the slopes!
Dubai, UAE, March 2012

Unlike our usual experiences with skiing we turned in our ski equipment and headed out to the mall for a little shopping.  The Dubai Mall had anything a person could ever desire.  We ate at a ginormous food court, enjoyed some fun shopping, spied many Middle Eastern men walking the mall with their harem of wives, and took time to stand silently as the prayer humming came on to signal prayer for all the Muslims.  It didn’t seem to stop too many people in their tracks but we wanted to be respectful so we stopped for our own moments of silence.

Recognize these stores in the Dubai mall?  Bottom left pic is of the huge water feature in the mall
Dubai, UAE, March 2012
One of the many digital billboards in the mall to remind the patrons it was time for prayer
Dubai, UAE, March 2012
Some of our friends in our group went scuba diving in a huge aquarium at the Dubai Mall
Yes this was at the mall!!
Dubai, UAE, March 2012

We finished off our first day in Dubai but walking by the Burj Khalifa, www.burjkhalifa.ae.  This is the tallest building in the world.  At over 2,700 feet tall it boasts 160 floors.  We learned that if we wanted to go to the observation deck which is located on the 124th floor we would have to pay the 125 AED, about $34.00, to buy a dated and timed reservation.  Of course in a country where wealth gives you any privilege desired you can pay a 400 AED, $108.00,charge for immediate entry.  We decided to do neither since the sand storm was so thick we didn’t feel like we would have been able to see much.  So we took our pictures on the outside of this magnificent building and grabbed our elevated train ride back to our taxi stand and then took a taxi back to our hotel.

A view of the Burj Khalifa at night
Dubai, UAE,  March 2012
Our ride on the elevated train.  We had to ride in a special car that was reserved
 for woman and children.  We were unable to ride in the “men only” cars.
Dubai, UAE March 2012

Our second day in Dubai we decided to go and experience Atlantis, www.atlantisthepalm.com, like we had while we were in the Bahamas when we cruised on the Allure of the Seas.  Atlantis only has two locations in the world and within a months time we were able to experience both locations.  Bailey and Clay loved this part of the trip since who doesn’t love a water park?  Especially since they hadn’t been with us during our visit in the Bahamas the month before when we had taken the three little girls and Colton.  So we found ourselves back at this identical park that was the same in every way to the Bahamas but it was newer.

One of the Aztec looking watersides located at the Atlantis resort in Dubai
Dubai, UAE, march 2012
At the resort enjoying the water-slide’s and aquarium
Dubai, UAE, March 2012

We enjoyed another fun day riding the water slides, going around the lazy river, and going through the shark tank in a clear tube like we did in the Bahamas.  See my post about the Allure of the Seas to compare both of these Atlantis locations.  This time we rented a little private seating area with a wait staff and enjoyed the amenities of this service.  Our wait staff brought us waters, menus to order food and avoid the lines, and we even had a shaded area with a little kitchenette with a table and chairs to get out of the sun.  In all it was a great day.  We especially loved that Atlantis is located on Palm Island which is all man made.  It was a fantastic experience to know we were on a man-made island enjoying this massive water park.  The people of Dubai spared no expense making this destination incredible.

Riding the lazy river at Atlantis!
Dubai, UAE, March 2012
The Palm Jumeirah where the Atlantis Resort is located on the trunk
Dubai, UAE, March 2012
This is a gold ATM  You can actually put in your ATM card and receive different
weights of gold.  The cheapest withdrawal?? $2,500  Needless to say we didn’t make any withdrawals
Dubai, March 2012

Back at our hotel we enjoyed the beach and found it interesting to see local Muslim women there in their complete burkas.  They giggled and laughed, ran in the waves, played in the sand all with this shroud of modestly around them.  It was quite a site especially for Bailey and I and the women of our group.  We also had a chance to have a fantastic Moroccan experience by dining at the Ameseena restaurant at our hotel, www.ritzcarlton.com/en/Properties/Dubai/Dining/Amaseena.  The Ritz had tents with couches and short tables for us to have a genuine Moroccan experience.  We loved it all, though we passed on the Hooka pipes that were brought by free of charge for our enjoyment.

The front of Dragon Mart!  Love this place!!
Dubai, UAE, March 2012
From an aerial view you can see why this is called “Dragon Mart”
Dubai, UAE, March 2012

One last thing I should mention is that the Arabs here were not to be out done in any way.  When I asked if there was any place to do some “cheap” shopping I was told to go to the UAE’s version of China Town called Dragon Mart, www.dragonmart.ae.  It is a chinatown on steroids.  It really is not to be outdone.  With about twenty-four huge warehouses connected it creates a labyrinth of cheap stuff to buy from purses, phone covers, to bath tubs and tractor equipment.  Everything that China produces is brought in by the ship load and creates a very cheap market for these low cost items.  Since the men didn’t want to go shopping in chinatown they opted for a day of riding go-carts that went way faster than all US standards.  The girls however, we lost ourselves in this mecca of cheap goods.  We had a great time and we were followed by Malaysian men who were willing to carry our parcels for tips only.

Bailey and Clay on the beach outside of our hotel
Dubai, UAE, March 2012
Trent is doing some business on the beach while some local Arab
women enjoy a day on the beach in their full burkas
Dubai, UAE, March 2012
Some women on the beach in Dubai
Dubai, UAE, March 2012

Since we knew our around the world trip was coming to  a close and we’d all be flying out the next day we made a lot of purchases.  From purses, scarves, iPhone accessories, to Baileys most exciting purchase…. pink Beat headphones.  Once we found all of our treasures and only made it through about two of the warehouses we knew our time was up and we needed to catch a cab home.  For about a $40 cab ride we headed back to our hotel and said goodbye to the magic of Dragon Mart.

These three little girls were so glad to see us when we returned from this amazing trip.  They loved all of the souvenirs including these outfits from Oman that we brought back with us
Finally Home! San Antonio March 2012

In the end I have a very high recommendation for visiting Dubai, www.definitelydubai.com.  I really loved this area of the world.  It had a lot to offer and I’m sure there is so much more we didn’t even get to.  I would love to go back and discover more of Dubai.  

Safe and Happy Travels!!

One Comment

  • Christy says:

    Amazing adventures!!! Eric just returned from Israel on business and he mentioned the same thing about line cutting. It took him forever to get through lines at the airport because the locals just walked right up and cut without even thinking about it! Must be a cultural thing in that part of the world! 🙂