Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Exploring Dubai: Trip Two

The Palm Jumeira - Hard Rock Cafe - Global Village
This time I talked my friend Kim into going with me on a little exploration adventure in Dubai. 

First Stop: Ibn Battuta Mall
With Kim, it HAD to include shopping, so we stopped at a mall that had a very different feel. It's design was inspired by the travels of Battuta who set off to journey the world at the age of 20 and soon came back acknowledged as a scholar and a man of great wisdom. The mall is divided into 6 sections, each is based on a region he traveled to: Andalusia, Tunisia, Egypt, Persia, India, and China. It had a relaxed atmosphere and didn't have the frenzied feel of most malls.
We had fun doing some souvenir shopping at the kiosks.

I don't think I've seen a Woolworths since the 70's! Who knew they're still alive and thriving? 
They have one in almost every mall here.

Ha! Look, I have a camel on my head!

Next Stop: The Palm Jumeira
That is…IF we can ever find the monorail station!
A friend advised us to take the monorail out to Atlantis hotel at the end of the palm because it offers a raised view of it all. Finding the entrance to this very new mode of transport (the parking garage is still about 80% unfinished I think) was a challenge. After about 5 or 6 passes, u-turns, and repeated attempts down roads and around clover-leafs, we found it tucked back into a construction zone. 

Like I said, mostly still under construction…
two of four stations are actually open and functioning on this track

The view did not disappoint, especially on the return trip during sunset!

Burj Al Arab (shaped like a boat sail) off to the right
It's the 4th tallest hotel in the world and is touted as the world's only 7-star hotel
In foreground: a road we drove back and forth on a few times to find the monorail station

I nearly drove into this huge pit when one road we were on dead-ended here with no warning

Did I mention there's bit of construction around here?

Aside form being a landscape novelty and tourist destination spot, 
Palm Jumeira is mainly a neighborhood of VERY expensive flats and villas. You can see the arcing shape of the palm fronds and water channels between them in these photos.

At the end of the palm is the renowned Atlantis Hotel, which contains several shops, caf├ęs, restaurants, "guest only" beaches, and a water park. You cannot access much of this if you do not either stay at the hotel or have a reservation at a restaurant, so we made a reservation right in front of the security guard and went to have lunch.

Altantis Aquaventure

End of the line…the Arabian Gulf

Last (and only) stop - Atlantis

Lunch reservation made and past security…time to explore a bit!

We chose a comfortable Italian place called The Edge,
appropriately named because it's right on the edge of the beach walkway.

Italian chef = BEST tiramisu EVER!
(including the dark chocolate dipped pistachio biscotti)

Every detail is thought of here…
even the bill booklet was decorated with fishy cut-outs

Looking at The Edge from the walkway 

another restaurant that looks like a great spot to dine in the winter here - some of the seating 
is actually ON the beach - nice!

A model of the hotel and surrounding beach area

Glass sculpture by Dale Chihuly

A few clear glass sea creatures are scattered among the swirly chaos of glass

Of course there's an aquarium…at a hotel named Atlantis

Cool fishies!

Woah! Hi guy!

Just a few sharks cruising around too…
I STILL don't get how they keep them from eating everyone else!

Leaving at sunset...

Next Stop: Hard Rock Cafe - Dubai

I've always wanted to go to a Hard Rock Cafe, just to have the experience. Funny that my first time at one ended up being in the Middle East! It was not a busy time of night, so it wasn't the typical craziness that is associated with the place, but that was fine for me.

Yum! Full! 

Last Stop: Global Village
I still haven't quite figured this place out, but it is basically one venue where a whole bunch of different countries have a large tent with can array items from that culture for sale. We entered near Egypt's area.

Then on to China... 

the UAE military display 
They were just getting ready to shut down, but the man saw our disappointment and let us in.


Tanks of various sizes
Here's a wee wittle cute one...

a big 'un...

and a split section tank showing the innards…can you say claustrophobia?!
 up close...
other side...

Then came the fun! They were pretty much done and just hanging around, and when a group of guys saw our interest when I asked a question, they brought us to the back of a tank, opened it,
and let us climb in. I admit I was a bit hesitant at first…
 This thing was big enough to carry 8 passengers and at least 2, maybe 4 drivers up front.

Virtual skeet shooting…I NAILED it! 
I'm pretty sure they're gonna sign me up now.
At this point, they all but kicked us out…
I think they'd had enough of the two curious American women.

On to the camels…mommas and babies, oh my!

This baby was climbing and tripping all over its momma - so cute!

Camel Kisses
After a little reassurance from its mommy, the camel came over and tried to nuzzle me! Kim and I were too shocked to react quickly enough to get a photo. Some things are best photographed with one's memory anyhow. This one I will NOT forget. Although it intrigued me, it was also a bit frightening. Even wee bitty baby camels are bigger than me!

              Baby camel: "Hi Momma." 
              Momma camel: "Hi sweetie. Are you playing nice with your friend?"
              Baby camel: "Yeah. Can I go check out that weird looking animal with only two legs        
                                       over there?"

Bedtime snack!

A guy weaving a rug…UNBELIEVABLY intricate work!
I will never look at a handwoven rug the same way.

Some traditional UAE food…
a pancake type thing with honey drizzled on it

I lost track of which country we were in here, 
but I was having fun looking at and trying on some really old stuff!

belts, bracelets, anklets, and head-dressings

You shoulda seen me with this thing on!

Back in Egypt…
I found a guy selling ancient Egyptian designs on printed on papyrus. 
He even wrote hieroglyphics on one for me!

We were one of the last people and cars out of the parking lot. 
Ugh, getting up at 5:00 am for work tomorrow is gonna be tough, but sooooo worth it!

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