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View Full Version : Dubai or Don't I..? UPDATED...


CustardTart
05-26-2009, 05:18 PM
OR How to amuse yourself in a non-Disney resort when your husband's at work... :rolleyes:

Cast:
Me: Karen (a.k.a Kaz) 40-something. Loves to take advantage of all travel opportunities, a Virgin Redhead in the VA Clubhouse and spending slightly less of DH's $$$ than before...
Him: Richard (a.k.a Dick) Slightly older 40-something. Loves most things Kaz suggests, a Kir Royale in any Lounge and holding onto his wallet at all times...

Rogues Gallery:
Kaz...
http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/FamilyPhotos/sc047e6f74.jpg
Dick...
http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/WDW%202009/DSCF1334-1.jpg

Plot:
On Friday of last week, my lovely husband phoned me from work to tell me about an upcoming business trip he absolutely had to do at short notice. However, he suggested that as would be after my last exam, I go with him and we add a couple of days on at the end!!! "Where are you going?" I asked, mild curiosity in my voice and I could not believe his reply of "Dubai, baby!!!" Suffice to say I spent quite a few moments squealing and leaping around the kitchen in my PJs!!! I composed myself sufficiently to put the phone down and before you could say "By Richard Branson's Beard!", I was online and booking my upper class flights with Virgin. The absolute bonus was the fact that I was lucky enough to be able to use miles so my return flights just cost £245 in fees!!! I then ensured I was sitting next to my husband (his flights had been booked via his work travel agent) and tried v-e-r-y hard not to be distracted from my final phase of revision...

Later, in a study break, I checked out what tours were possible in Dubai and picked out a couple I could do on my own as part of a group... I've only accompanied Richard on business trips a couple of times over the past 20 years but I know the most important thing is NOT to be desperate for your husband to return!!! SO I really wanted to have a few plans for myself in place... I didn't know where we would be staying until yesterday as the company have a shortlist of hotels with favourable corporate rates and we would be governed by that. I really couldn't believe it when Richard texted me with the news that we would be staying at the fab-looking beach resort on the list!!! Finally, I was able to book the tours and print out the vouchers... So dear readers, without further ado, I give you...
The Itinerary...

Sunday May 31st: Courtesy of DH's work, we have a limo coming to pick us up at around 4.45pm this afternoon which will hopefully ensure we are whisked around the M25 to Heathrow without delay. I hope we get to do that 'check-in from the car' thingy before heading straight to the Clubhouse for one of these...

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/WDW%202009/DSCF1331-1.jpg

...and a pedicure. Actually, Richard declined the pedi and for some reason insisted on having a shoulder and back massage instead...? Anyway, we should be hopefully in our seats (10K, 11K) and on flight VS400 without delay... As it's an overnight flight, I shall be requesting a sleepsuit and a pillow as soon as decently possible - a gal needs her beauty sleep dontcha know!!! ZZZZZZZZ

Monday June 1st: Arrive in Dubai at 6.55am. I think we're being picked up by a car and Richard is being taken straight to the office. The car will then take me and the luggage to our hotel for the next 6 nights... And here it is - Le Royal Méridien Beach Resort & Spa...

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Summer%202009/mer1897ex71219_md.jpg

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Summer%202009/mer1897po2834_md.jpg

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Summer%202009/mer1897po71235_md.jpg

Looks pretty fabulous so I shall undoubtedly spend the rest of the day checking out the resort, relaxing by the pool and exploring out the beach before getting an early night...

Tuesday June 2nd: Another working day for Richard, so definitely an opportunity for me check out some of the shopping opportunities (shopportunities?) Dubai is famous for! I plan to hire a cab from the hotel and go to one of the Malls... I have to be honest, it's really the Mall of the Emirates that is calling me so I think I will head there for a few hours...

This afternoon, I'll return to the resort for more sun, sea and sand... I am also thinking of booking a facial and massage as they have some wonderful exotic-sounding, age-defying solutions on offer - God knows I need 'em all...

Wednesday June 3rd: The first of my solo excursions is booked for today and I need to be up bright and early as it's a 9am kick-off. I have a seat on a tour to the nearby city of Sharjah, the "Pearl of the Gulf". Seems one of the many landmarks to see during the tour is King Faisal Mosque, one of the largest mosques in the Emirates. I'll visit the renovated Fort of Sharjah, former residence of the ruling family originally built in 1820, then continue to the Heritage Museum and proceed to wander through the adjacent souk "Al Arsa". Before returning to the hotel, there will be time to stroll and shop at souk "Al Markazi" a treasure trove of carpets, jewelry and handicrafts. Sounds fun,huh???? I'm especially looking forward to trying out my new camera and haggling over a rug... OK, it's the rug I'm mainly keen on...

Later, I'll return and head out to the pool area before hopefully (fingers crossed as it depends on Richard's schedule) getting ready for a Dhow dinner cruise... I haven't pre-booked this as we're not sure which evenings Richard will have free but we are determined to do one so it'll happen sometime during the week and I think this evening is free...

As the resort has fourteen (YES, 14!!!!) on-site bars and restaurants, I don't think we'll go hungry or thirsty... Anyhow, the upshot of this is that I haven't made any specific dining plans...

Thursday June 4th: This morning I intend to practise the ancient art of Chillax! A good book, my iPod and a handy beach or pool area are all I need for this and guess what, I have them right there!!! I shall, however, be getting ready for a 1pm pick-up as my second solo sight-seeing expedition leaves then! This afternoon I'm going to be exploring Dubai itself and hopefully get to experience it's historic sites and vibrant cosmopolitan life. From the famous gold souk to the sail-shaped hotel Burj Al Arab, I'll see all the famous sights of Dubai on this leisurely afternoon tour. The excursion begins with a photo stop at Dubai's most famous landmark, the Burj Al Arab hotel. The unique billowing sail design of this world-renowned luxury hotel is a must-see for all visitors to Dubai. I'll then be taken to Jumeirah, Dubai's picturesque palace and residential area that's also home to the famous Jumeirah Mosque. The tour then continues to Al Bastakiya, Dubai's atmospheric old quarter by the Creek. Here, I'm gonna visit Dubai's famous museum housed in the former Al Fahidi Fort. Then it's all aboard the Abra (water taxi) to cross the Creek to the spice souk followed by time to shop in another famous Dubai landmark, the glistening gold souk...

I'll be meeting up with my fab husband for an evening of on-site fun...

Friday June 5th: This is the first day of the weekend in Dubai so Richard will be free to do what he wants any old time!!! I am absolutely 100% confident that he will be in need of a little pool and beach therapy... We shall spend most of the day at the resort before getting ready for our late afternoon excursion which sees us travelling by 4WD across the deserts of Dubai!!! Yeah, baby!!! We're going to be sandboarding and dining under the stars... As far as Richard is concerned, heading into the desert is a must-do experience when you're visiting Dubai so this is his choice... Zipping along by 4WD, there'll be several photo stops during an exciting drive across the dunes to the first destination, a camel farm. The drive continues across the desert and we will witness a beautiful desert sunset. It's one of the highlights of a trip to the Arabian desert. Upon arrival at the campsite, there'll be an opportunity to ride on a camel, experience the thrill of sandboarding and try out a henna design on hands or feet... After all that activity it's time to enjoy a delicious BBQ dinner and a shisha (the famous Arabic water pipe). The evening also includes a belly dancer performing her show around the campfire in the moonlight... Sounds like a fitting final excursion on this short notice shindig...

Saturday June 6th: Our last full day and I just want Richard to have as much downtime as possible so another beach/pool day is what I have in mind... We might venture off-site and visit the amazing Atlantis Resort for a meal at Rostang, the French brasserie with a modern twist BUT we might not... Don't know when we'll get a chance to come here together again so it makes sense to just enjoy the resort...

Sunday June 7th: Up bright and early - very early - for our 9.15am return flight (VS401) to Heathrow... We're heading to the Gulf Air lounge at Dubai airport before boarding our flight and settling into seats 10K and 11K... All things being equal, we should arrive at Heathrow for 2pm so we should be totally turning into Taylor Towers by mid-afternoon - those kids better have the red carpet out...

Until next time, you've been kind and I've been fah-bu-lous. PARTY ON!!!

irongirlof12
05-27-2009, 02:13 AM
wow, sounds amazing. you hotel looks beautiful. i don't think you will have much trouble relaxing by that pool :woohoo:

jackieleanne
05-27-2009, 02:57 AM
Wow sounds amazing and the pictures look great. You are going to have a wonderful time.

Natasha&Matt
05-27-2009, 03:42 AM
Looks beautiful Karen you lucky thing!! Enjoy every moment =) xxx

Claire L
05-27-2009, 04:27 AM
Oh great trip you have planned there, and in such a short space of time for preparations too!

:)

Claire ;)

jjk
05-27-2009, 04:59 AM
all sounds fantastic :thumbsup2

mandymouse
05-27-2009, 05:04 AM
It sounds like you've got a great trip planned Karen, have fun :)

wicket2005
05-27-2009, 05:50 AM
You will have a lovely time and I am looking forward to hearing all about it. Hope you have got your son's 16th birthday celebration sorted and that your revision is going well.:thumbsup2

Snowy-girls
05-27-2009, 08:13 AM
WOW!!!!!!!!!!!.Sounds rather swish+swanky i hope Richard can enjoy it as much as i reckon you will.Hope you both have a fantastic time.x.

Beth__WDW23/6/02
05-27-2009, 08:48 AM
WOW looks amazing,and sounds like you've planned a lovely trip.:goodvibes
Have a wonderful time.:thumbsup2

mishoe01
05-27-2009, 09:18 AM
Love it!

You're going to have a great time - can't wait to see the rug :lmao:

wickesy
05-27-2009, 11:16 AM
Sounds fantastic Karen. Will we get an A-Z mini-trippie when you get back?

scottishwee35
05-27-2009, 02:39 PM
oh lucky you, I always want go to Dubai, hopeful one day...

Enjoy it

Scottishwee35

jjk
05-27-2009, 03:24 PM
Karen, if you happen to bump into Dr Sulaiman Al Fahim, could you tell him thanks and i cant wait to see him at fratton park ;)

Gaynor
05-27-2009, 03:59 PM
Wow! sounds like a fantastic holiday you've got planned.

fizz13
05-27-2009, 04:41 PM
nearly rendered speechless by that amazing itinerary..WOW!!! What an amazing week you will have, you lucky lucky girl:cloud9: have an incredible time and cant wait to hear all about it on your return:hug:

Pinky166
05-28-2009, 06:17 AM
Sounds fab Karen.

I have no doubts that you will love it! Dubai is a fabulous place!

thelittlemermaid83
05-28-2009, 06:38 AM
WOW i'm not jealous or anything.... ;)

CustardTart
05-28-2009, 07:49 AM
Oh great trip you have planned there, and in such a short space of time for preparations too!
Honestly, it's down to the DIS and all the WDW trip planning I have done in recent times!!! I certainly didn't have any concept of an itinerary before and now I'm pretty sure I would feel confident planning a trip to anywhere... :goodvibes

nearly rendered speechless by that amazing itinerary..WOW!!! What an amazing week you will have, you lucky lucky girl:cloud9: have an incredible time and cant wait to hear all about it on your return:hug:
I am most definitely 100% a lucky, lucky girl, Claire... :love::cloud9::love:

You will have a lovely time and I am looking forward to hearing all about it. Hope you have got your son's 16th birthday celebration sorted and that your revision is going well.:thumbsup2
16th birthday all taken care of, Bev!!! And the exams are now officially OVER!!!! :woohoo:

Sounds fantastic Karen. Will we get an A-Z mini-trippie when you get back?
Seeing as how you asked so nicely, David - how can I refuse..?? ;)

Karen, if you happen to bump into Dr Sulaiman Al Fahim, could you tell him thanks and i cant wait to see him at fratton park ;)
I totally will!!! That's awesome news BTW - you guys must be sooo excited... :cheer2:

jopaly
06-12-2009, 03:02 PM
Can't wait for the trippie....obviously, I'm subscribing.


All 4 of us are jetlagged at the moment, just got back today after 17 nights in Orlando(VS016 delayed as usual and so, V.V Tired at the mo), already planning our next trip, but I've always wanted to go to Dubai and so, can't wait for your insight!!:thumbsup2

Chilly
06-13-2009, 11:44 AM
How did I miss this!

CustardTart
06-20-2009, 05:35 PM
Greetings!!! Sadly my Emirates escapade ended around two weeks ago and I'm back in the less than luxurious living room of Taylor Towers. Therefore it is time to turn my attention to giving you an alphabetical appetizer of my Dubai diversion! So eyes down and let us begin...

A is for... Astronomical!!! Before I proceed any further with this trip report, there's something I have to get off my chest. Despite it's reputation as a shopping Shangri-la, Dubai is NOT cheap. Neither is it budget-conscious, competitive, economical, inexpensive, low cost, reasonable or sensibly priced. If I tell you that a champagne cocktail, although decidedly delicious, was approximately £25, I think you can tell I'm still hurting... But it didn't stop there. I was equally bemused to discover that even the smallest pot of the moisturizer I use proved to be £20 cheaper at Heathrow airport than in Dubai's duty free. And don't get me started on the lovely new watch I had planned to shell out for!!! It's probably one of the most outrageously price-tagged places I have ever visited and I've been to St. Mark's Square in Venice, people... ;) Seriously tho', I am sure there are bargains to be had BUT my current credit-crunching, budget-conscious character did not feel 100% comfortable having done very minimal research prior to the trip. Even after haggling, I couldn't help feeling that eBay would probably yield a cheaper alternative... Anyway, I wanted to get this negative aspect up front and out of the way as this was the only downside to this trip...

B is for... Boats!!! I saw a fair few of differing variety during my excursions...

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1065.jpg

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1073.jpg

...even tried photographing myself in front of yacht...
http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1070.jpg

...but the rustic ferry crossing the Dubai creek was by far the most fun!!! WDW Friendships they ain't but I enjoyed my short time on this rustic form of transport...

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1086.jpg

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1087.jpg

C is for... Camel-lot!!! Says it all - there really were a lot of camels!!!

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1175.jpg

We drove past them...

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1174.jpg

...watched them eat...

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1182.jpg

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1188.jpg

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1191.jpg

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1186.jpg

saw them set off into the desert at nightfall...

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1225.jpg

And rode them!!!

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1207.jpg

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1213.jpg

Plus there was camel milk available at the breakfast buffet - sadly, I ...er... "forgot" to try it...

D is for... Dune Bashing!!! This was our final excursion of the trip and well worth waiting for! Richard and I plus another couple another were picked up by our authentically clad driver, Gul...

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1151.jpg

...at around 4pm and whisked away in his 4x4 to pick up a third couple at a nearby hotel... Then we headed to the outskirts of Dubai where we convened at a petrol station with approximately 9 other vehicles each packed with tourists eager to spin sand and dizzy up the desert! After a brief toilet/refreshment break, we all set off in classic convoy-style further inland before turning sharply off the road and heading across the desert. Ten minutes later, we all stopped once more and the drivers let some of the air out of their vehicle's tyres before the fun really started!!! We whizzed at ridiculous speeds up dune and down dune, clinging on for dear life to any secured point within our vehicles...

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1150.jpg

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1153.jpg

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1162.jpg

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1177.jpg

One of the 4x4's appeared to get stuck which added an extra frisson to the experience but it was soon freed and we were off again, churning up sand as we bounced our way deeper into the desert... We came across a group of camels grazing...

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1176.jpg

We stopped at a camel farm... See, I told you Dubai should be renamed Camelot...

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1179.jpg

Had our photos taken beside our vehicle...

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1165.jpg

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1168.jpg

Not sure what my stance is all about tho' it was very windy on top of the dune...

We arrived the base camp at sunset...

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1195.jpg

....ready to enjoy food and some evening entertainment...

CustardTart
06-20-2009, 05:55 PM
E is for... Excursions!!! As well as the one mentioned above, I also did a couple of solo excursions. The first one occurred on my third day and was to the nearby Emirate of Al Sharjah. Despite the blurb, this was somewhat boring and, if it hadn't been for my minibus mates, rather forgettable. As it was, I was travelling with a family of four (dad, mom and two teenage sons) who certainly provided me with some much-needed mirth - albeit unwittingly... Suffice to say, tales from this trip are now legendary in Taylor Towers... But back to Al Sharjah. This is a small Emirate about 20 minutes (traffic permitting) away from Dubai. It is a much cheaper option so many workers live here and commute to Dubai - which must be Hell as the incoming traffic we passed on our outward journey appeared to be completely gridlocked!!! Upon arrival in downtown Sharjah, we were joined by our guide for the morning - Sebastian from Germany. What a sweetie! Imagine a cross between Julian Clary... .
http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/michi1.jpg

..and Adam Lambert...
http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/04_adam_lambert.jpg

...and I think you'll get the idea... So we minced our way past mosques...

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1020.jpg

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1023.jpg

...through souks, a horrendous smelling fish-market, and the seafront...

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1025.jpg

...before heading back to delightful Dubai...

The following afternoon, I was off again! This time it was the more conventional Dubai City tour and I was collected from my hotel by the lovely tour guide, Ari in a comfortable, up-to-date, air-conditioned vehicle! Yay! This tour also had a full quota of participants - 5 from the UK including myself, 6 Germans and 4 men from India - this was much more fun... First stop was the Madinat Jumeirah resort where we browsed the hotel and it's adjoining souk for a while. I was amused to see that a live show of "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" was playing locally...

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1050.jpg

I loved this place and would definitely like to stay here in the future. It's very near the iconic Burj Al Arab...

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1051-1.jpg

...and Ari took my photo with this amazing 7* hotel in the background...

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1049.jpg

Next we were back in the coach and off along the coast road overlooking the Arabian Sea before stopping for another 'shopportunity' - a fixed price heritage mall that sold such beautifully crafted traditional items I was sorely tempted to break out the credit cards!!! Fortunately, I was able to purge any purchasing urges and settled for two handmade glass baubles...

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/General%20PIcs/DSCF1302.jpg

...which fortunately made it back home OK. Then we were off to a mosque...

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1058.jpg

...the only one in Dubai that allows non-Muslims in. This takes place at 10am every morning and the those admitted are required to listen to a talk about Islam before exploring the Mosque further. I simply settled for a few photos...

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1062.jpg

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1061.jpg

Next we were taken to the Dubai creek which separates Dubai into two areas - Bur Dubai and Deira...

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1072.jpg

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1069.jpg

...before getting back in the coach and enjoying the short drive to our next stop, the Museum of Dubai but more of that later...

F is for... Flying Club!!! I know this is not a popular scheme but I have nothing but praise for VA's Flying Club at the moment - tho' I am a little biased as I was able to fly Upper Class return for £245 + 80,000 'miles' whilst my husband's ticket cost over £3k!!! I guess if you are happy to use your points on routes other than LGW-MCO, they can be valuable... As far as Richard and I are concerned, 2010 is designated as a WDW-free year and we're excited to go wherever in the World our points can carry us...

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1279.jpg

G is for... Gorgeous Weather!!! Oh my - when not in downtown Dubai but lounging on the beach, the temperature was fab. A deliciously dry heat that felt so good and had an unexpectedly positive effect on my skin. For that reason alone, I have to make sure we go back...

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1142.jpg

H is for... the Hoff!!! And yes, I am talking about the infamous Sir Baywatch Knightrider who just happened to be in the Heathrow Clubhouse when we were!!! I don't stoop to snapping celebrity but seems my husband does, so here's a couple of shots of the man taken from an iPhone...

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/FamilyPhotos/IMG_0210.jpg

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/FamilyPhotos/IMG_0209.jpg

irongirlof12
06-21-2009, 03:01 AM
fab camel shots :thumbsup2 and fancy seeing 'the hoff' :) sounds like a fab trip so far.

Pinky166
06-21-2009, 03:28 AM
Great start Kaz.....Some places were expensive when we went a few years back but £25 for a drinky-poo is extortionate! :eek: :faint:

I love the pic of you both on the camel....especially the one that looks like it's about to headbutt Richard. :rotfl2:

Looking forward to reading more.

CustardTart
06-21-2009, 03:45 AM
I is for... Independent Woman Tourist!!! I've never planned a trip at such short notice to a destination I didn't know before. And I have not anticipated in advance having oodles of Richard-free time and opted to spend it doing things rather than holed up on hotel property before. It was such a success that I can most definitely say, bring it on!!! Dubai was great as I didn't feel hassled or overly stared at - and I believe me I have elsewhere! I was respectful of their customs and kept my shoulders/knees covered - tho' TBH I was in the minority with that despite there being requests to do so in the Hotel info book... Anyway, as I'm feeling rather pleased with myself, it must be time for a quick musical interlude - so cue Kazyonce!!!

"Question: Tell me what you think about me,
Out and about in this foreign country,
Don't need no man to keep me company,
I take my chance and solo sightsee...
Question: Tell me what you think about this,
Trip planning I have learned from the DIS,
Don't matter where the vacation is,
I've got excursions booked, so no worries...

The trips I'm tripping, I booked 'em,
The books I'm reading, I bought 'em,
The lounger I lounge in, I bagged it
Coz I depend on me..." Ad lib and fade...

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1014.jpg

Er well... it sounded good in my head...

J is for... Jewellery!!! Believe me, there was a lot! From beautiful graduated gemstone necklaces and elegant strings of pearls to elaborate 22kt gold chandelier earrings and enormous sparkling diamond rocks of every cut set in platinum... I would have taken some photos but there were signs in lots of the stores informing me that this was prohibited. In truth, it was overwhelming and I didn't see anything to tempt me - apart from this cute pendant, tho' at around $850 it seemed expensive to me...

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/pi_110.jpg

K is for... Kir Club!!! Sadly I don't have a photo of this concierge lounge speciality in which a rather nice South African sparkling wine is substituted for champers. However, it did look a lot like this...

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/is.jpg

Suffice to say, it was delicious!!! The lounge was lovely...

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1249.jpg

...with plenty of comfy seating...

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1241.jpg

The Kir Club was available during the extended Happy Hour from 6.30 to 8.30pm every evening and alongside the beautiful bubbly beverage were a selection of mouthwatering canapes... Yummy!!!

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1245.jpg

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1247.jpg

Someone enjoying their free dinner - so classy...

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1246.jpg

L is for... Lime Daquiri!!! Lately I have started to find the good old Margarita a little on the acidic side but this alternative lime lovely is very palatable indeed...

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1230.jpg

Don't get too excited tho' - this juicy jug cost a rather eye-watering £44!!! But we did get get 6 glasses out of it and as they are usually a tenner apiece, I guess it was good value...

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1231.jpg

Tho' it appears to have rotted one of my front teeth in this pic!!!

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M is for... Museums!!! I went to two - a rather uninspiring one in Sharjah where I didn't take any photos and the rather fab Dubai Museum where I could have easily spent another hour or so as it was fascinating...

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1077.jpg

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Al Fahidi Fort, which houses the Dubai Museum, was built around 1787, and was renovated in 1971 for use as a museum.

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1080.jpg

It's colourful life size dioramas vividly depict everyday life in the days before the discovery of oil. Galleries recreate scenes from the Creek, traditional Arab houses, mosques, the souk, date farms and desert and marine life...

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1084.jpg

One of the more spectacular exhibits portrays pearl diving, including sets of pearl merchants’ weights, scales and sieves. Also on display, are artefacts from several excavations in the emirate, recovered from graves that date back to the third millennium BC. Unfortunately, I was so engrossed that I didn't notice the time slipping away and had to skip through a few of the exhibitions AND (possibly more importantly) the gift shop!!! I hope to go back...

CustardTart
06-21-2009, 04:37 AM
N is for... New, new, new!!! The skyline is all modern skyscrapers jostling for space against the intense blue sky and everywhere you look there are new developments springing up...

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1094.jpg

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This is the financial district where my husband spent much of the week...

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/FamilyPhotos/IMG_0218.jpg

But I couldn't quite get over the buildings that had sprung up behind the beach and our resort - they seemed to have an unreal, film set quality about them...

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1136.jpg

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1143.jpg

And it also felt surreal to spot the Middle Eastern Atlantis resort when I looked out to sea - it's so familiar to me from the Bahamas...

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1141.jpg

The tallest building in the world, Burj Dubai, is here...

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1060.jpg

...albeit in a heat haze!!!

The neighbouring Emirate of Sharjah is the same...

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1017.jpg

...the mosque is modern and the hotel to the right is very futuristic...

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1026.jpg

O is for... Old, old, old!!! Take a trip to the Dubai creek or the old port areas in Sharjah or Dubai where the brightly painted Dhows outnumber sleek yachts...

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1092.jpg

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1102.jpg

...and it is clear that plenty of the old sits squarely alongside the new...

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1067.jpg

I love this contrast of ancient and modern - if only because it makes for some fab photo opportunities...

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1104.jpg

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1069.jpg

P is for... Piano Bar!!!

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1261.jpg

Our nightly haunt where Richard set out to consume his bodyweight in assorted nuts - we assume this is how he gained 5lbs during the trip...

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1265.jpg

...and I quickly learned that sparkling wine and NOT champagne was the cost effective choice!!!

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1269.jpg

The singer and her pianist were there throughout our stay and were very good...

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1270.jpg

Q is for... Quirky shots!!! I think the title says it all - I and my iPhone toting husband took our fair share of arty, farty and downright barmy photos so here's our selection for you to enjoy...

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1021.jpg
This is the Arabic ad for Lipton's teas. My future son-in-law's surname is Lipton. Do you see where this is going...?

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1119.jpg
The Burj Al Arab all lit up at night and taken from a speeding coach...

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1127.jpg
A pic of myself inside the afore-mentioned speeding coach...

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1130.jpg
I just like this one...

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1277.jpg
In case he forgot where we were staying, Richard insisted on wearing these slippers at all times...

The following shots show that Richard is very keen on taking photos with himself reflected in some way. It really is his signature style...
http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/FamilyPhotos/IMG_0223.jpg

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/FamilyPhotos/IMG_0236.jpg

CustardTart
06-21-2009, 06:10 AM
R is for... Royal Meridien Beach Resort!!! What can I say? The resort lived up to the online photos and we had a totally amazing time... It looked atmospheric at night...

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1256.jpg

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1255.jpg

The room was fab-u-lous, the robes superfluffy and the toiletries from Hermes!!!

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1037-1.jpg
http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1039-1.jpg

Even the complimentary biscuits on the in-room tea/coffee tray were delicious but what would you expect from a place where housekeeping leave you bottles of water and fresh fruit on a daily basis...

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1240.jpg

And the pool/beach attendants come around with refreshing ice-cold towels when you're out sunning yourself. And did I mention the little spray bottles of chilled, perfumed water or the complimentary lime slushies??? Here's a view of the resort from the beach - we were in the round tower to the left of the pic...

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1148.jpg

The food was excellent too, tho' we only sampled two of the restaurants. I really regret not taking photos of the Arabian buffet which was so beautifully presented it made Palo's brunch look like a kids tea party!!! No, really!!! Plus Ossigeno, the upscale Italian restaurant really could rival any fine dining establishment I have tried of recent times...

I loved how the hotel lobby twinkled with tea lights in the evening...

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1258.jpg
http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1259.jpg
And the bars we tried were very funky and modern but still comfortable...

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/FamilyPhotos/IMG_0226.jpg

Here I am enjoying a Dark Temptation - some sort of chocolate champagne cocktail which certainly gave a new meaning to the word 'chocaholic'...

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/FamilyPhotos/IMG_0215.jpg

The grounds and beach were immaculate...

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1012.jpg

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1135.jpg

...the service attentive but unobtrusive and the atmosphere incredibly relaxing - even the local birds loved it...

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1015.jpg

S is for... Souks and shopping!!! Three words spring to mind. Loud, hot, smelly - and that was just me!!! By the time we reached the Spice Souk on the Dubai city tour, I was quite frankly cream-crackered and more than a little hungry. The prospect of the offerings in the concierge lounge played on my mind and I found it hard to focus on the atmosphere of the place - can you tell from my self-photo how hot and less-than-happy I am???

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1107.jpg

It wasn't that great, though I must confess I didn't explore it all - one of the downsides of venturing off by yourself is the ever-present focus on not getting lost... Anyway, I bought a couple of items from one of the more authentic looking emporiums...

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1110.jpg

...dried limes and a small packet of crystallised frankincense...

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/General%20PIcs/DSCF1331.jpg

...but the rest of the souk resembled a collection of pound shops if I'm honest. So I marched purposefully around and took a couple of photos...

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1111.jpg

...before returning to our meeting point from which we would walk the short distance to the famous Gold Souk! This was a very lively place and it would probably have been fun to explore but we were all extremely tired and, despite our guide offering us extended browsing time, no one wanted to spend more than 15 minutes gazing at the gold and jewels on display... All in all, I would definitely make the effort to go back to the Gold Souk on future trips BUT with a clear idea of what I wanted to buy and only having done my homework...

T is for... Tattoo!!! Henna, that is!

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This was an activity available when we reached the camp which formed the final part of our dune-bashing, desert safari excursion. Never having done this before, I opted for a little hand art but regretted it as soon as I realised it would impede my ability to munch the BBQ offerings with ease. I even had to send Richard to fill my plate...

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1219.jpg

Other more sensible folk wisely had their feet or shoulders decorated so didn't have to be fed unceremoniously by their partners!!! Fortunately he didn't seem to mind...

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1215.jpg

...and what's a little public humiliation, after all??? Besides which, it really was my turn to look foolish as Richard had been rather unimpressive in his earlier attempts to sandboard. It started well - here he is waiting for his turn looking like a modern day Laurence of Arabia...

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1201.jpg

but he managed to fall over whilst having the board strapped onto his feet...

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1203.jpg

...and didn't improve...

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1206.jpg

But I digress... Despite my best efforts, most of the dried henna fell off during a period of enthusiastic hand clapping when we cheered on the belly dancer who had come to entertain us at the end of the evening....

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1222.jpg

I can't say I was sorry - the design was lovely but the colour underneath strongly resembled baby poo and made my hand look less than ...er... friendly... Ah well, you live and learn!!!

mandymouse
06-21-2009, 06:12 AM
I'm so pleased that you did your trippy from Dubai. I'm loving it so far. Great pics, but 25 quid for a glass of champers is unbelievable :eek::eek: The dune racing looked like fun too

I look forward to your next up-date :thumbsup2

mandymouse
06-21-2009, 06:19 AM
Ooh, you posted another installment while I was replying to an earlier one. I love your henna tattoo, really cool .. and your hotel looks fantastic, what a lovely place to stay :thumbsup2

natalielongstaff
06-21-2009, 06:33 AM
Great A-Z karen

Lokks like you had a fab time, despite the prices !

CustardTart
06-21-2009, 07:02 AM
U is for... Upgrade!!! When we arrived at the hotel, not only where we offered delicious chilled glasses of fruit juice but we were also informed of an upgrade to club level and were taken to their separate check-in...

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1272.jpg

And our room was ready there and then which, given that we'd had an overnight flight and it was 8am, was very welcome indeed!!! So we made our way to the 7th floor...

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1274-1.jpg

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1029.jpg

... where our room was waiting...

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1027.jpg

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1041.jpg

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1042.jpg

I loved it and could have happily stayed forever - well, a week or two...

V is for... Viator!!! I booked my tours through this company and cannot praise them enough. I encountered them when I was hunting down the cheapest Universal tickets for our Easter vacation and they had the 7 day, 2 park passes at the best price I could find. When this trip opportunity came up, I remembered they did excursions to other destinations so checked them out and was amazed at the prices. I compared the cost of our Desert Safari with another couple who booked in the hotel and we saved over £20 booking online!!! 'Nuff said, really but here's (http://www.viator.com/?pref=02&aid=g2747) a link to their website...

W is for... Wild Wadi!!! No, I didn't go but it looks amazing!!! Here's a pic taken from a speeding coach...

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1055.jpg

X is for... Xtra photos!!! Random shots I just wanted to include...

Richard in the lobby...

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1271.jpg

Richard looking very stern - doesn't he know you're supposed to smile for the camera???

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1193.jpg

Take 2...
http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1194.jpg

And my reaction when the camel decides to stand up...

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1208-1.jpg

Y is for... Yes!!! In answer to my question "Dubai or Don't I?" the answer is most definitely a resounding YES!!! It might be expensive, surreal, manmade, futuristic and busy - OMG it sounds like EPCOT!!! It's even getting a monorail - ok, a metro which is due open in 09.09.09... Anyway, I think it's a place that has to be experienced even if it's only once. Next year sees the opening of Dubailand and there are tantalising posters promising Dreamworks, Six Flags (tho' I believe they face bankruptcy) and Marvel Comics involvement so that should be fun... All in all, there's plenty to see/do and, as far as I'm concerned, nothing beats the feeling of hot sun on my face...

And how beautiful does this look..?

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/Dubai%202009/DSCF1046.jpg

Z is for... Ze Conclusion!!! Weak, I know but as I ran out of inspiration somewhere around F, I'm just happy to come up with something, anything!!!

I think you can tell I had a great time. It really was tons of fun and I think a week was the perfect amount of time. I was amazed how quickly I was able to pull together an itinerary (like I said, the DIS has been an excellent training ground) and that focus stopped me from feeling like a spare part pathetically waiting for Richard's return every day...

Buying a new camera proved to be an excellent decision and I'm delighted with my choice - it really is my new best friend. I'm not a great photographer so didn't want to spend £££ plus I don't think I'll ever fancy lugging an SLR around with me - therefore this little bridge Fuji is perfect...

Thank you for taking the time to read my ramblings - as ever, the self-indulgent pleasure's been all mine...
So, until the next time, salut!!!

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s84/cheztaylor/FamilyPhotos/IMG_0230.jpg

mandymouse
06-21-2009, 07:30 AM
Thanks for sharing your fab trip report Karen. Your room looked lovely and that photo of when your camel stood up is brilliant :rotfl2::rotfl2:

wickesy
06-21-2009, 08:32 AM
Another great report Karen, thanks for sharing. :thumbsup2 We used Viator a few years back for airport transfers and excursion tickets in New York.

Pinky166
06-21-2009, 12:59 PM
A great report Karen. I think you did the same dune buggy tour that Lee did when we was there.

I love the last pic of you on the camel! :rotfl:

thelittlemermaid83
06-21-2009, 01:18 PM
Great report Karen, Dubai looks amazing!

Tammy Stringer
06-22-2009, 01:09 AM
What a lovely report and photos Karen.

Sounds like you had a great time and managed to fit in such a lot.

Tammy

jjk
06-22-2009, 01:56 AM
great report Karen :thumbsup2

scottishwee35
06-22-2009, 02:50 AM
Karen

What can I saying?..... that your story and photos are so enjoyable to read it and I love to see the photos too... What a beautiful pictures...

Also lucky you saw Adam from American Idol... When I saw it oh wow.... lol

Love that photo of sunset and happy couple....

many thanks for showing...

Scottishwee35

Chilly
06-22-2009, 03:01 AM
You saw the Hoff - so very jealous.

fizz13
06-22-2009, 08:02 AM
What a fab trippie hun,really feel like i got a good sense of what you were up to, sounds like there is so much variety, culture and exploration to be done, as well as the deluxe side, this has really sparked my interest. thanks so much for writing it down for us and taking some fab piccies:goodvibes

florida sun
06-22-2009, 09:24 AM
Fantastic report Karen, great photos, brilliant, thanks for sharing:goodvibes

Natasha&Matt
06-22-2009, 10:10 AM
Karen that was such a fab trip report!! your face on that camel :lmao: glad u had a wonderful time.

eva
06-23-2009, 09:50 AM
Karen, I love reading your trip reports. You made Dubai sound lovely. And to be honest, I never thought it sounded to appealing before. The resort looked so lush and welcoming. Congrats on the upgrade! You have a great writing style that makes me want to read more. :thumbsup2