Friday, September 9, 2011

A trip to Dubai

We've been here a couple weeks now and I figured it was time to take a trip to Dubai.

After a quick stop at Starbucks at the Shangri-La Souk in Abu Dhabi.  We enjoyed $6 blueberries from the nearby Abela Deli and the kids had some square donuts from Starbucks:
So much easier to cut and divide in a square.

As we drove down the worst highway in the world, we left Abu Dhabi and headed to Dubai.   You can tell when you leave the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and hit the Emirate of Dubai.  The tree line stops.  There trees lining either side of the highway for miles and miles in Abu Dhabi and then, nothing.

The city of everything that is gigantic and shopping is bigger/better/crazier than you've ever seen.

The drive is almost 1.5 hours.   Here's what we saw as entering - or at least the best I could do at 140 km/h.

Clearly, the city is gigantic.

Where oh where to go first?

There are some serious malls in Dubai.  In fact, some guy made a rap about them:

We decided to hit up the Mall of the Emirates.  This used to be the biggest mall in Dubai until the Dubai Mall was built.  This is a massive fountain that we saw there:

At the mall of the Emirates there is an indoor snow park.  Seriously.  We didn't try it out, that will have to be for another day.  You can rent everything you need to go though.  They even do ski lessons and snowboard lessons and have a separate sledding area.  My kids never had a chance to ski in WA State, so why learn in the Middle East???

We also went to a neat store called Home Center and managed to buy a new rug (our only take-home purchase of the day).
Teal/Purple Sofa?
Interesting furniture items.  There is so much gaudy furniture and home decor around these parts that it's ridiculous.

Otherwise, we walked around and admired the sites:
Lots of Shoes!
Teal/Silver Fancy Shoes

Fancy Gold Shoes

Neat Architecture

Beautiful Rings

Shisha Pipes

After spending a long time there (without seeing half of it), we decided to head to Dubai Mall.

On our way, we admired some major Dubai architecture:

This looks much cooler from the side, but that wasn't the angle we were coming up on.  This building is on lots of Dubai paraphernalia.  It is called the Burj Al-Arab and it's the world's most luxurious hotel.  Here's some information about it:  Check out the: Burj Al-Arab

Here is a much cooler picture I found online:
Burj Al-Arab

We saw a few other neat buildings along the way:

We also saw the tallest building the world, called the Burj Khalifa, which used to be called the Burj Dubai.  Here's some information about it: Check out the Burj Khalifa

After driving about 10 or so more minutes, we arrived at the Dubai Mall.  It was GIGANTIC.  The biggest mall I've ever seen in mylife.  We didn't see even half of it.  There are 1000 stores in it.  Yes, one thousand.  How crazy is that???   There were masses of people too.  So, along with the basic clothing stores and book stores and jewelry stores and gift stores - we saw:

An Aquarium so big that there was a life-size car in it.  Really.
Mechanical Bull-Riding - because why not?
Adorable kid clothes and I bought NONE (really).  Notice the matching sibling outfits?  Saw this EVERYWHERE in person.  Lots of sisters matched and lots of brothers matched (all ages)
How cool is this?  It was a humongous water feature with metal, diving men sculptures.
A full-size ice skating rink
A little something for when those Abayas come off......
Brian and the boys checking out the mall - look how tan Alexander's legs are getting!
Please mom, please mom, please mom!!!   Sega Republic indoor amusement park.

There was also a 21-Screen Movie Theater

Our final stop of the day was:  Kidzania
Photo Opp at the beginning.

This place was amazing!  It cost us about $150 USD to get in for the five of us.  We each get a security band so the family who comes together, leaves together.  Each child gets a "check" for 50 "kidzos" - these are like money.  When you enter Kidzania, there are several different kinds of places where you can try out a job and get paid.  You can learn about banking, newspaper, radio, construction, painting, beauty school, education, grocery stores, coke bottling, flying airplanes, and on and on and on.

Cameron was ready for some construction work

Bella, Cam and some other kids learned about how to build a brick wall.  Each activity took 10-15 minutes so some of the lines could get pretty long.

You could work on computers and learn car design and sales.
You could learn to paint.

There was a place to get your pretend driver's license and there was a separate toddler car race track and a big kid race track.
Cam is cheesing it (and covering up his picture) of his Driver's License
Getting Buckled in
The kid was born to drive.  He was whipping around corners and weaving between people.  Time to hide those car keys!!
They even had a pretend gas station.
Sometimes kids would volunteer to "work" at the gas station and you could stop to fill-up.
 At some places (like beauty school) - you could pay to have someone do you up with make-up/nail polish or you could be the one applying.
Bella applies make-up on a "client"

 At the race track you could make money being a gas attendant or pay to drive the car.  When all is said and done you can take your "Kidzos" to the store and buy stuff.  It was mostly lots of money for very little items (like Chuck E Cheese).  The place was JAM-PACKED towards the end and their were lots of children there with their nannies but plenty of families there too.  It is not uncommon to drop your child off for the day and then spend it shopping at the mall.  The lines for each activity were pretty long, but the kids enjoyed what they could.  They also had a parent area where you could eat, drink and relax (no kids allowed inside).  Also - at all of the job sites no parents were allowed in with their child for the activity.  I was there and could see it and take pictures, but only kids could do the activity.  I wish there were a fraction of the people there because it was a really neat place and the kids definitely enjoyed it. 

One of the places the kids enjoyed was the radio station where you could learn to DJ.  Each kid got a script and was able to do a piece "on air".  They all got 3-4 turns so nothing was rushed through.  In fact, nothing in the UAE is rushed through at all.....

DJ Alexander
DJ Bella
They even had a little toddler area.  Cameron was king of the ball pit and bouncy room!

In his element!
Wish I had a room like this in the house.  He was flipping off the beds and bouncing off the floor.  100% boy!

The place as a whole was really cool but really LOUD.  There was a Security group and a Fire Department group and an Ambulance activity and more.  There was a fire engine and an ambulance that made (very loud) loops around the area and the Security group marched in formation doing a cadence.  It was stimulation overload!

Eventually, I decided that I was done.  Cameron was exhausted and I was wiped out from all the activity.

By the time we finished, we had to walk 10 miles back through the mall to our car.  Did I mention how GIGANTIC the place was.  We walked so much and walked so quickly that my legs were sore and chafed!  Lovely.  We made it to our car in the GIGANTIC parking garage (thank god Brian was with us, because I would've had a panic attack and probably not found the car - so. many. people.)

Goodbye Dubai.....

We headed home around 7:00 and Cameron conked out 5 minutes into the car ride.  We stopped at a McDonald's off the side of the freeway (they had egg rolls on the menu) and we got home around 8:45.  We'll have to plan another day to go just for the GIGANTIC Sega indoor theme park.  A different day for the indoor aquarium.  A different day for the skiing/snowboarding.  A different day to check out other places in Dubai.

You just can't do it in a day!  Heck, you can't even see ONE mall in ONE day there!!!

No comments: