Monday, 2 January 2017

Thursday 21st July 2016 (Dubai)

We woke at about 8.30am Dubai time, and I checked out the weather!

View from our hotel room.

Lucy, Tom and I went to breakfast at about 9.15 and were seated straight away, though it was busy. There was a lovey full buffet. By the time the others came, they had to wait to be seated. Lucy, Tom and went up to the pool on the roof and the other's joined us a bit later. I sat in the shade and wrote my diary. It was 106.5°f at 10.40am!

The kids soon got playing a ball game with three other kids who were in the little pool.

We checked out of the hotel and asked for a taxi from the lobby, but only taxis with 5 seats arrived, which offered to fit us all in... no thanks!! We decided to go and get our own, and walked round the edge of the plaza for a couple of minutes till we found a 7 seater, and headed on our way to the beach.

We were going to go to Russian Beach, but it was closed because of construction of a canal from the sea to central Dubai, so our driver took us to Kite Beach. When we arrived, it was quite a quiet area, with the nearby streets deserted, and I was a bit worried we'd get stranded there. The heat was incredible.

We found a shop and stocked up on water, then went to the beach, which was amazing - gorgeous sand for miles with a view of the Burj al Arab in one direction, and a temple and the Burj Khalifa in the other.

Luckily there was a path down the beach because the sand was too hot to walk on for long, plus a kiosk renting chairs and umbrellas. It's hard to describe how HOT the sun felt. We had sun cream on but it felt just wrong to be in heat like that!
Hearing the call to prayer really reminded us what a different place we were in. It was cool!

We all went in the sea for a bit, and the water was heavenly - totally warm, clear and turquoise - and easy to float in. This is the Persian Gulf!
The boys just wore swimming shorts for the day, and Lucy and I had put swimming costumes in our hand luggage. Tom lent Harry a pair, because Harry's luggage still hadn't turned up.

We stayed for less than an hour - some of us were a bit grumpy with the heat and sand in shoes etc, then walked back to the main road to get a taxi.

The heat was incredible (113° f) and we knew we couldn't be in it for long - it felt dangerous!

We crossed the road and pretty much straight away Scott, Lucy and Harry got one taxi and Jack, Tom and I got another one. I told my taxi driver to follow Scott, and we headed for the Burj Khalifa entrance of the massive Dubai Mall. Our driver was pretty speedy, and faithfully stayed behind Scott's taxi! On the whole, Dubai was kind of reminiscent of Las Vegas - hot, dry, new, big and flashy, but without the sleazy, tacky side.
Scott's is the cream taxi below!

Once we got to the Mall, we realised what a complete state we all looked! The mall is beautiful and posh, and we were all totally soaked with sea water and sweat, shiny from sun cream, covered in sand and totally scruffy! Scott looked like he'd wet himself!
Lucy and I headed to the nearest toilet to try and freshen up a bit. My T-shirt was soaking wet, so Lucy lent me a shirt from her hand luggage. I didn't have any spare clothes in mine!

We then spent a couple of hours wandering round the mall. It's an incredible place! And very expensive!
The huge three story aquarium.

A cool sweet shop!

We went into H&M so I could buy a clean T-shirt and for Scott to buy more shorts. When we finished, Jack was outside the shop chatting with some mates from school!! They were visiting the brother of one of them, who lives in Dubai, and Jack had messaged them when we got to the mall and arranged to meet up!

Different parts of the mall are in different styles.

A gorgeous waterfall.

This was where are the poshest shops were.

Lucy and I have never been in such gorgeous toilets before!

We made our way through the mall and outside, so we could see the Burj Khalifa from a bit closer. Crazy hot out there.

It's an incredible building! You just can't really comprehend the height - it's the tallest building in the world at just under 830 metres. (The Eiffel Tower is 324m, to give some idea!) The surrounding high rises look minute!

We decided to get the Metro back to the airport, and ended up walking miles through conveyor belted corridors - happily air conditioned.

We passed a construction site, and couldn't imagine doing that work in that heat.

At the Metro station Scott bought 1st class tickets from a machine and we waited for not very long on an empty platform.

The train went mainly overground and we got to see lots of Dubai. Tom did chunks of videoing so he can later make a time lapse video.

Back at the airport we used the rest of our meal vouchers and left over United Arab Emirates dirhams in Burger King again (Jack said he's now had more Burger King meals in Dubai than in England!)
Lucy did a spot of dancing.

Scott blending in with the locals.

We then headed to the departure lounge for our Hong Kong flight. Dubai airport is lovely!! Palm trees, sparkling white pillars and all sorts of nice things along the way.

(Lucy dancing again!)

We were all joking and chilling out in the lounge (I was editing photos from the day on my laptop) when we suddenly realised the whole lounge had emptied (we were kind of round the corner from the main bit) and we were the last ones! Legged it to the plane!

Leaving Dubai.

We weren't on the plane for long when an air hostess told us the flight was quite empty (1/3 full), so we could spread out. Scott, Jack and Tom went to sit in the cabin behind and got a row at the front with metres of leg space. Lucy had a row of three seats to herself and Harry and I shared a row.
It was a 7.5 hour flight to Hong Kong (the take-off was 6.30pm Dubai time and we arrived at 6.00am Hong Kong time!) I knew I needed sleep because we had another full day ahead of us, but I only managed about 10-20 minutes. I spread Harry out over three seats and thankfully he got a few hours sleep. I watched some more episodes of Poldark, and could already appreciate in a new way why the English countryside is so appealing!

Some cabin crew came along at one point asking if we wanted photos taking. I don't think they gave Scott much choice though! We thought this memento was hilarious!

Scott's write up for the day.

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