living in the United Arab Emirates

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Things we love about UAE

  • Arabic language
  • All female beaches
  • Family friendly
  • Home comforts readily available
  • Hearing the adhaan
  • Halal food!
  • Sun, sun and sun!
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Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Dancing sprinklers, white marble and loads of Eid Mubaraks!

We have been quaratined for the last few weeks. FLU. Yes, flu got us, and got us good!
But luckily - we started to get over it just before Eid came upon us!

So first thing is first.... EID MUBARAK! HAPPY EID! And many, many returns! It is baby-Zanga's second Eid, the first one she spent without Camel Man, and now the second one she has had to spend without her extended family. But we did the best we could in our situation. In fact, we had a lovely three days - and they went a little something like this...

Day 1

Camel Man went to the Eid Prayer in the morning. I think he had to wake up around 4am... went to the Mosque for the Dawn Prayer and once the sun has risen they started the Eid Prayer. He prayed it at the Maryam bint Sultan Mosque where the sermons are in English (you can find it behind Khaldiya Mall - for anybody looking!) He was back around 8am and he went back to sleep. That was when I woke up to start my day of Eid!

We had invited a few couples from our building over for a lunch and so I had to get preparing and cooking! I made some beef-steaks, roasted carrots, potatoes, parsnips and some boiled runner-beans, some salad and some skewered chicken... yumyum! It went down a treat. Having company is so important I felt, as being alone on a special occasion is just a recipe for disaster and can end up just being lonely.

We were blessed with our company until around 4pm which was fine, as we had a couple of hours of rest until we were greeted by a flurry of teachers and their partners, all carrying dishes of salad, pizza, rice, samosas, cakes, cookies, chocolates! They even brought juices and drinks and even chicken! The table was crammed full of lots of variety! I'm surprised we could all fit in our modest living room/diner. All the good cheer in the house just thrilled us! It was so lovely to just have everybody round...

...well, while everybody was round we were suddenly flooded with water of Biblical proportions (okay... maybe I'm exaggerating again). I don't mean that it suddenly started raining out here in the desert... more like it started flowing through our ceiling and in to our hall!

Now we have been routinely afflicted with leaks since we moved in to our humble abode. At first we thought that it was just another one of those. The other leaks though, had just been a constant 'drip drip drip' this leak was more of a 'drippety, droppety, drippety, droppety, splasssshhh, drippety!'<(I am sure you will agree that that is onomatopoeia at its best) ... and all over our shoes I would like to add. After calling the Maintenance guys they managed to find the source of the leak, and it seemed to be coming from the apartment above us. The lucky guys upstairs were on holiday and so the maintenance peoples had to use their 'influence' to open the door. And no, it did not involve any 'Derek Morgan'(Shemar Moore) kicks... breaking the door down to save the apartment from flooding! No, nothing of the sort. The maintenance guys just went down and got a set of keys for the whole of the fifth floor and unlocked the foor.

What they found inside the apartment though would be quite devestating for the occupants. If you imagine we are the first occupants of this block of apartments. We have furnished these apartments with much love, and so I imagine to walk in to your apartment to find an inch... YES an inch, of water in every single room in the apartment would be quite devestating. The maintenance people were shocked to say the least, but actually cleaned up the water for the holidaying occupants. In the guest bathrooms we all have these little mini-showers for washing the private parts after going to the loo. They operate with a little leaver that you push down on the mini-shower head that releases the water... but only if you open the tap first. Now even if you do not press the leaver, but leave the tap on... eventually it starts to leak. This, it seems, was the culprit. Once the water was all cleaned up, it stopped leaking in to our flat. Our party-people didn't seem to notice much though! And well, that is how our first day of Eid went!

Day 2

Now Day 2 was awesome! Yes! Awesome!
We decided, with a large group of other party-people the night before that we would all take a trip down to Dubai. I had never been to Dubai before, and so naturally I was pretty ecstatic!

We drove down to Dubai and made it in good time. I was surprised as we passed areas that would be called 'desert' and found loads of patches of grass and shrubbery throughout the landscape. It was quite odd, but it just makes me so excited for when I will actually get to see the real golden hues of real sand dunes! Also, there were real wild camels dotten about on the horizon too, and even up close to the motorway. Having travelled to North Africa on numerous occasions I was quite used to seeing the sandy coloured camels, but these camels were very dark brown!

Driving towards Dubai felt like looking in to some futuristic city... or even like I was about to visit Gotham City.

As you drive towards Dubai it is as if you are driving towards a curtain of overwhelmingly high buildings, all lumbering and competing with each other... but there is a gap between them all... and that is because it is the road you are driving on. If we had had a sunroof I would have tried to take a photograph. Next time hopefully!

(Oh... and just to clarify. Unfortunately there was no Batman signal being flashed up in to the sky. But one can wish... right?)

Dubai and Abu Dhabi are so different. Down-town Abu Dhabi kinda looks a little dated, a bit old and 1970ish. Granted, they're still putting things together and trying to liven things up, but still, at present, there isn't much going on, or to look at. Dubai on the other hand... though bankrupt is just a wonder. It is as New York has been described 'a concrete jungle' though to be honest there is a lot more glass and steel involved! I once had the opportunity to visit the Empire State Building. When I walked out on to the deck and looked out upon the human achivement I felt myself getting quite choked up. I find I always get a little tearful when looking out at nature... at creation, but it is always a shock to the system to look upon what man can create, and how that is so beautiful too. That is how I felt when visiting Dubai. A little soppy, I know, but true none-the-less.

We started off in the Mall of the Emirates to have lunch. A couple in our group wanted to go skiing (yes... I said skiing) and so they would remain at the mall to get their ski on! (If you fancy a peek at the slope... enjoy the video!)

We left them and went off to The Dubai Mall... the largest shopping mall in the world. Towering above The Dubai Mall is the tallest building of all time, the Burj Khalifah (more on that, later). My goodness. This mall is simply AMAZING... I mean, really, really amazing. Our visit just did not do it justice.

When we got there, we decided to go to the Aquarium. It is a small aquarium, you kinda just walk through a tube, but your ticket also gets you in to the 'Underwater Zoo' too. It was 50 Dirhams per adult. You can also buy tickets to go scuba diving in the mahoosive fish-tank, or take rides in glass-bottomed boats along the top. It is quite remarkable seeing as it is in a shopping mall, and we enjoyed every moment of it!

The Underwater Zoo was pretty awesome too, plus they've added a 'Creepy Crawly' section which was above it. It consisted of lots of little glass incubator things and rope bridge going through plastic ivy... brilliant indeed!

Oh, oh, and oh! They also had a 'Finding Nemo' tank! So awesome! Inside was Nemo and his daddy, and Dory and Bubbles... and well, everyone! They had penguins, and giant crabs which are gross as they look like spiders and they're just yucky. Anyways, I just have to say - it is well worth going, great for the kids and for adults too :D I highly recommend it.

We then went to gawp at the Burj Khalifah. A spectacular building - the tallest building in the world in fact. If there is any building in the UAE that can fill you with awe (other than the Shaikh Zayed Grand Mosque) then this is most certainly the one! It reminded me of an icicle piercing the skies. It stands at 829.84 metres high. We were fortunate enough to be able to look at it from the bridge that crosses over a man-made pond thingy (where the dancing fountain is) before the crowds gathered (by sutset people could barely move down there).

A companion who was with us suggested that we go to Dean & Deluca that had a very large balcony where clients could sit and enjoy the view... and the dancing fountain. It was booked up to the hilt! Reservation only, but both Camel Man and his friend decided to sweet-talk the waiter, and we were fortunate enough to be seated within 15 minutes. And it was worth it! The view was wonderful. From the balcony we enjoyed the sunset and the dancing fountain... it was a lovely end to the day.

Day 3

This was certainly the quieter of the last three days - and the last day of the holiday, unfortunately. Today we decided to take a trip to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque - and it certainly lives up to its names. It was bustling with tourists from both 'home and abroad'. It is one of the brightest things I have ever seen.

It is made up of a variety of materials but the most noticeable, of course, is the white marble. With the sun shining from above it works as a mirror, forcing you to wear sunglasses. Some of the tiles on the floor are so shiny that at times I thought I was stepping on to wet tiles, I would lift my dress up as to not get it wet and then find it bone dry. The illusion at times would prove too much and I'd find myself just staring all confused and bewildered... I'm very simple-minded haha!I cannot post all the photographs of my trip as I probably took close to 70, but I certainly recommend anybody and everybody to make an attempt to take a trip to this magnificent piece of architecture at least once in their lifetime! You won't regret it!

An eventful Eid indeed!

Over and out...

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