I generally prefer to find warmth and sunshine because Milan can be sorely lacking that during the winter.
This year, Caitlin and I chose Dubai as our destination.
We planned a week in the UAE, grateful to former ASM colleague Virginia for allowing us to stay at her apartment. Prices in Dubai are sky high, so this was a huge savings for us.
So, here's a rundown on how we spent our time.
This was a bit of a partial day for us since we arrived in the morning and took a short nap to find some energy for the day. We flew Qatar Airways into Doha from Milan, a 6 hour or so flight, and then a short flight across the Gulf into the UAE.
Shopping is a big deal in Dubai, so we headed out on the metro to both the Dubai Mall and the Mall of the Emirates. So many shops, so little time. And money.
These malls go so far beyond being just a mall. Ski slopes, ginormous aquariums, movie theatres...and there are more people mover walkways in Dubai than I've ever seen in my entire life. (The walk from the metro to the mall is completely enclosed and air conditioned...and it takes 15 minutes.)
|ski slope/bobsled run inside the mall|
|aquarium! viewing from the outside is free.|
This is one of the reasons I'm doing another round of the #whole30 program.
|Dubai Marina district.|
The souks align the creek that runs through Dubai. It was cool to see all the boats in this area. They were loading crazy amounts of appliances that were off to be sold somewhere else in the region.
|one of Dubai's major thoroughfares|
We headed to free public beach in the morning. We found a fairly empty beach and calm, beautiful waters. We spent a couple hours here before heading off to a desert safari dinner we had booked.
I ate camel.
It wasn't so bad.
|We cruised in 1950's Land Rovers.|
|Don't mind my shadow!|
|enjoying a non-alcoholic bevy while the sun goes down.|
|dinner set up.|
We were off to Abu Dhabi for the day. The mosque in Abu Dhabi is incredibly beautiful, so we wanted to check it out. It definitely did not disappoint.
The rest of Abu Dhabi however...
I will try to control the amount of pictures for this...
|feeling a little Jackie O. in my scarf and sunglasses.|
On this day, Caitlin and I went our separate ways for a few hours.
She went skydiving.
I went to one of the world's most beautiful Starbucks. #itsathing
Equally exhilarating, yes?
|no men over the pink line|
It's also one of the world's most beautiful Caribou Coffee locations.
But seriously, this whole mall is incredible and is decorated in six different themes based on regions of travel by Ibn Battuta.
It was really beautiful.
|still pretty awesome|
|from the 148th floor|
|not a bad city for sunsets, eh?|
|fountain show outside the mall|
Another day trip was on our agenda. We had booked a boat tour in Khasab, Oman. This required an early morning pickup and a lot of time in a van.
Too much time in a van.
We sat at border control between the UAE and Oman for at least an hour.
The boat tour we took was okay.
It was mostly in German.
But we did have the most awesome view of some dolphins swimming with the boat.
And because we hadn't already done enough on this day, we arrived back in Dubai, showered quickly and headed out to the Dubai Jazz Festival. We had bought tickets to see Sting, Chris Botti and David Gray on stage that night.
|among the skyscrapers|
We had planned a nice, relaxing beach day for our final day in Dubai.
And we had such a nice week.
Until this day.
And just about everything we attempted went south fairly quickly.
A short recap.
We went to a recommended beach by taxi and weren't satisfied so we took another taxi to a different beach.
On the new beach, we settled in. The surf was much rougher at this beach than the beach earlier in the week. There were several surfers trying to catch some waves.
Caitlin looks to her right and notices something odd happening.
I don't even look.
A few minutes later I look over to the same area.
And something strange is still going on.
CPR, ambulances, beach rescue.
Everyone showed up.
This went on for the longest time.
And it was the worst feeling ever.
To watch a man dying on the beach.
We have no idea what happened to him, but things didn't look good.
Then it started raining.
So we left the beach and tried to head back to an area we had been in earlier in the week.
And the taxi didn't understand (hmmmm....) and drove us all over before we stopped and said something.
And paid way more than we needed.
It was time for a beer.
Despite our final day in Dubai we had a great time. It was nice and warm, even in February. I can't imagine the "summer."
Traveled before in the Middle East? Other recommended places? I'm always up for suggestions!