Day 253: Goodbye, Dubai

Believe it or not, I’m tired! All of us are pretty exhausted. Jeff’s actually already asleep on the couch! We are not ones to come home relaxed and refreshed after a vacation because we try to fit in and see as much as we can wherever we go. My motto is “we’ll sleep when we’re dead.”

Last night the kids were in bed after midnight and Jeff and I around 1:30 am. I always like to sit and chill in the quiet and write my blog before going to sleep. We were up at 5:15 am to catch an 8:30 am flight to Holland. I think the lack of sleep might be killing me – or at least my head! Maybe that’s why I keep getting headaches.

Asleep in the taxi on the way back home

Asleep in the taxi on the way back home

Before I pass out, here are a few quick observations about Dubai:

* It’s so nice and warm, even at night. It was very comfortable at the beginning of April, but I hear it can get unbearably hot very soon.
* The air feels humid and warm, like Hawaii. And the feel of the town feels like a mix of Miami, Vegas and the Middle East.

* You can use a credit card anywhere you go, unlike in Holland. I miss being able to use my credit card.

* You can find anything you could possibly want. There are large malls everywhere around town.
* Stores are open until 12 or 1 am and people are out shopping.
* Stores are open on Sundays until late too! Love it.
* Customer service is available in the malls. People actually help you, and acknowledge you. In Holland, it’s hard to get help or the attention of those working. I don’t understand that.


* Any type of food you like is available in Dubai. We ate Ben’s Cookies from London, Baja Fresh, Baskin Robbins, Starbucks, and drooled when we saw PF Changs.
* We ate Lebanese food for Easter outside on the patio with mostly locals on The Walk — that’s a first!
* Coke cans have the old fashioned tops with the pull tabs – so retro and cool!
* NO alcohol is sold in stores or restaurants. You have to go to a hotel to buy liquor.

Retro Coke can pull tab top

Retro Coke can pull tab top

* Since the culture/religion doesn’t believe in alcohol, you will see people out later in the malls and restaurants, smoking hookah pipes and watching soccer games on big screen tvs, cruising The Walk in really fancy cars with plastic covered leather head rests which was so strange to me.

Hookahs at the sports "bar"

Hookahs at the sports “bar”

* There are very few people walking dogs, and we might have seen one or two cats – unlike in Istanbul where they are everywhere! Signs are posted by the Marina especially that you will be fined 200 DHRMS if you don’t pick up after your pet’s doodoo.
* Outside of the Walk area, we heard the Call to Prayer from the mosque towers.
* Prayer rooms are available at the airport.
* Expensive cars are driven by the locals up and down The Walk. One dad had his 3 year old boy sitting on his lap driving with him in his ferrari.
* The women dress differently. Some are covered head to toe. Some have their faces completely covered, and some show only their eyes. Most have their heads completely covered. Some of the burkas have sequins or designs on them, but most are all black for women. The men walk in white thobes with a white headcover and typically white open toed sandels. What you’ll especially notice is that for the women covered completely, most carry an expensive designer handbag that rests on their forearm and designer shoes, which is all you can see of them and differentiates one woman from another. You’ll also notice that they wear beautiful eye makeup to highlight that part of their body that you might see.
* Most don’t wear wedding rings.
* Women can drive.
* No beggars or homeless people were noticed.

* We took taxis most everywhere and most prices ranged from 30 DHRM to 80 DHRM which is about $7.50 – $20.
* Seat belts were not required.
* The metro system is especially clean and modern, yet moves more slowly than the metro system in Holland. It is also not completely connected to all or most areas of town.
* We tried to ride the bus, but we had to have a special card to ride and they didn’t sell them at the bus stop nor on the bus.

metro map Dubai

* We visited the Souqs late at night last night to see what they were like. We got a feel of how the working class lives and walked through the narrow connecting streets along the way. We bought a couple souvenirs, but no gold or textiles, for which they are known.

* We probably didn’t get to see as much as we would have liked because we got there late and were very tired and hungry when we arrived after 9 pm.

* The boats on the creek would have been fun to ride if we hadn’t been so hungry or tired.

gold bracelets in the souq

gold bracelets in the souq

gold prices in Dubai

gold prices in Dubai

And that’s all for now, folks!  We’re back in Holland again where the temperature was a mere 3 degrees Celcius.  Home COLD home.

Day 252: SUP Dubai


The warm weather, water, sun, sand and SUP made me happy today. I love being on the water, especially when it’s hot out. We took a taxi out to the one place we could find where we could rent a board. The municipality laws changed in Dubai two weeks ago and they’ve outlawed rentals on public beaches. Luckily for me, Jeff found this place that I had missed in my Google search for Sup in Dubai.

Life is good!



When I’m out on the water, I just feel at peace. Usually I’m alone taking in the sites, feeling the sun, working up a sweat, listening to the sounds of the water lapping at the front of my board, and enjoying the mysteries of the ocean, and feeling the water on my toes. Don’t you want to come supping with me? It’s the best!


We also rented one of those banana boat inner tube things and all five of us went out behind a ski boat for 20 minutes. I laughed and smiled the entire time. I can’t say the ride was experienced quite the same way for someone else on the banana! The views from the water were amazing and bouncing around on top of the water just made my day.

Tomorrow we are heading home, where the weather is more than half the temperature of Dubai’s. :-(. Goodbye, bathing suit. Hello, down coat.

Day 251: Burj Khalifa and Desert Safari

The challenge with writing a blog post every day, usually late at night, is that sometimes I fall asleep while writing, or my blog posts on its own before I can edit and spell check. Sometimes I go back and read what I wrote, and my writing is so basic… Please forgive me! I have a goal to end every day with a summary and some days I’m so exhausted that its hard to produce something with more spunk!


Today we had such an adventure. We crammed into a taxi and road over across town to see the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa. If you ever want to go to the top, you have to buy tickets online at least a week in advance, otherwise they sell out. It is expensive for what you get, but then again, it’s the tallest building in the world and we had to go up to the top. What amazed me was how fast the elevator ride was. It took 70 seconds to go 124 floors! The view from the top was interesting, but not exciting. Dubai is growing and there is construction going on everywhere, however the town around the Burj is not full. There are a lot of empty fields and empty buildings and the landscape is not dense.


The Dubai Mall is attached to the Burj and I believe is the biggest mall in the world. There are 1200 stores in one location! They have every shop you can imagine and more. They also have an aquarium, waterfall, ice skating rink, movie theater, Sega theme park, and KidZania – a place where kids can be dropped off for hours and get to be industrious. The high end luxury brand stores were everywhere, with children’s stores for all the high end fashion brands. How many people shop there? I was fascinated by the sheer volume of choices.


After we shopped around a bit and had some lunch, we were picked up in two land cruisers for the touristy part of our vacation – the Desert Safari. We road out to the desert and went four wheeling through the sand dunes. It was such a thrill ride, more thrilling and scarier than a roller coaster! Patti Beth and I were so sick from motion sickness that we thought we were going to lose our cookies! Luckily we stopped for a photo break at the top of the dunes before driving off into the sunset!

They drove us to a camp where we got to ride camels,

have henna art done on our hands, watch two dance shows, and eat a delicious buffet dinner. We also got to dress up in burkas and thobes and take pictures and feel what it’s like to have your face covered. I found it to be stifling on my face, although I think the full body cover would simplify choosing what to wear each day. And would be quite comfortable. The boys also loved hiking up the sand dune and running and jumping all the way down. I think they had a fabulous adventure. It reminded us of a Hawaiian Luau but desert style!

The driver took us back to the mall from where he picked us up. The malls stay open until midnight and they are packed late into the evening. Since there isn’t alcohol served, I think the mall provides entertainment for locals and tourists alike. We stayed and watched the musical Dubai Fountain show and walked around the mall a bit more before heading back to our condo.

We had quite an amazing experience together today that I think we’ll talk about and remember for quite some time.


Day 249: Dubai

Today is Easter and we are in Dubai. That seems so strange to me but I didn’t feel home sick, like I have with the other holidays this year. It still feels strange to be in a country where most don’t celebrate it, and there are hardly any signs of the holiday. Not that I expect there to be, but when you typically acknowledge and participate in events associated with a holiday and then there are no normal cues reminding you and preparing you with all the typical accoutrement, it feels different. That’s all. Like something is missing. We had our Easter dinner at a Lebanese restaurant on The Walk near the beach, sitting outside in our sandals and shorts and short dresses. How cool is that?

Our day started by Charlie waking us up to see if the Easter bunny came or not. Of course he did, and hid candy filled eggs all over our condo and left some Easter treats on the counter.


When I looked out our window, I saw an Easter camel roaming on Jumeriah Beach! What a site to see!
20130401-005323.jpg The camels are at the middle of the photo.

We walked along what they call The Walk, filled with shops and restaurants along the beach front. There is a lot of construction happening near the water so there aren’t many ocean views along The Walk. It was very hot and humid, but we enjoyed exploring the waterfront for several hours.
The Palm and Atlantis hotel are out in the distance.
Camouflaging all the construction going on along The Walk.
Waterfalls and cranes.
Jumeriah Beach

Urban development gone wild!
Checking out the rocky beach in Dubai.20130401-011013.jpg
Sky scrapers!
Here I Am… at My happy place!
My beach friend!
Dubai Marina

Cool boat in the marina.

After walking around and having lunch, we wandered from the beach over to the marina area and explored the waterfront there and discovered the marina mall. We all enjoyed shopping in an American style, air conditioned mall and cooled off for awhile.

Afterwards, we rested in our condo and then took the kids for a night swim. Isn’t that what all kids want to do on vacation? Just swim? Yep!


Since we arrived so late last night and slept in, our timing is really off. We went out for dinner around 9:30 pm. I am thankful our kids are so flexible now, eating at off hours, trying new foods, staying up late, and sleeping in different beds. We enjoyed our late night Easter dinner outside, people watching and car watching. There was a plethora of fancy cars cruising the Walk repeatedly. There must not be much to do at night, especially since alcohol is only sold and allowed in hotels, but they provided endless entertainment for us.

Love lights.

Hope you enjoyed today with your family and friends.


Day 248: Easter in Dubai

We are on an airplane on our way to Dubai for Easter. I would have never dreamed of spending Easter this way. It’s been snowing and freezing in Holland and we needed to go someplace warm for spring break. It’s supposed to be 80+ degrees Fahrenheit all week. I am so excited and sure hope the Easter bunny can find us!

Typically we try to spend Easter at the beach with April and Steve. However the last couple of years have been cold in Capitola, and I think it’s supposed to rain there tomorrow too. My parents like to go motorcycle riding in the desert for the holidays. What do you like to do for holiday celebrations?

It was a 7+ hour flight, and i didn’t hear any complaints. In seat movies and games make traveling with kids super easy. We flew on Emirates which is one of the top airlines in the world. I also think our kids have gotten used to traveling, which I really appreciate.

We flew over Baghdad Iraq, and Syria. That felt so strange to me. I am excited to explore a new part of the world to me.

Wishing you a Happy Easter!!