United Arab Emirates

United Arab Emirates

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  • Day35

    Today we sadly bid farewell to Italy and indeed to Europe. Up and packed we breakfasted and arranged our shuttle to the station for 10am. We finished our packing somehow managing to fit everything into our bags and were ready to go at the appointed time. 10 minutes saw us at the station, we duly purchased our tickets and after a lovely time sitting in the sun we were on the train to Rome. 30 minutes later we were transferring to the Leonardo Express.. zip 32 minutes later we were at the airport. Having completed the online check in we could skip the line and drop our bags in a matter of minutes. We then had over 3 hours until boarding... no matter.. there was plenty to do.
    We browsed the duty free (I bought some squidink pasta and make up and Kirstin a few last minute gifts). We sampled perfumes and beauty products, I had my make up done and drank wine, Kirstin ate some dumplings and then we enjoyed one last gelati. Finally it was time to board... finding our way to tailgate involved a trip on a people mover and by the time we got there it was pretty much straight on board.
    Settling into our seats (68F & G... boy the Airbus 380's are whopping great planes) we were soon enjoying a selection from the 534 movies on offer (plus TV, music and podcasts), wine and then a meal, more wine, hot beverages.... etc etc there are benefits of flying Emirates!!!
    It was about 1130pm local time when we landed in Dubai after a really quite tolerable 6 hour flight. Dubai airport is insane, massive, high tech and totally OTT. we somehow missed our pick up having made our way rather quickly through all the disembarkation processes. Non-the-less with some assistance, found our way to the appropriate office and we're soon heading to the car. Walking out of the airport after midnight and into a humming city and 36 degrees was a bit of a shock, as we're the bright lights and interesting driving (Kirstin was wondering if there was something wrong with the cars accelerator!!!!).
    We were soon at the hotel, much to our exhausted relief... it had seemed a very long day! And what a lovely place it seems to be.. apparently it is the tallest hotel in the world, it certainly seems to have all the bells and whistles, but really at this point all we cared about were that the beds were amazingly soft and comfortable..... sigh!
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  • Day36

    We actually travelled by the following... foot, train, tram, monorail, rubber ring, 4WD and camel... phew.. but more of that later.
    We awoke this morning to hazy (there have been dust and sandstorms in the last week) yet amazing views over Dubai. I ducked down to the gym which was very well equipped (complementary towels and bottled water, plus steam room and sauna) and enjoyed an hour's workout. Then, showered (in the amazing bathroom) it was off to breakfast.... OMG talk about over the top... massive breakfast room with various counters... Indian, Asian, Middle Eastern, Eggs, Pastries, Cereal/Fruit/Yoghurt, a toast station and even an ice creamery.... and of course coffee to order bought to your table. Amazing!!!
    After breakfast we sorted out tickets for the water park at Palm Atlantis and then headed out into the heat. We had been given some vague direction to the local Metro but clearly went the wrong way as we ended up dicing with some scary road crossings in the 40+ degrees heat. Thus we were relieved to find the Metro Station, purchase our tickets and board the nice air-conditioned train. We chose a "women's and children's" carriage but clearly no one is bothered by the threat of the 100 Dirham (about $33 AUD) fine as there were many men in the carriage. The Metro Stations have some odd names ... amongst the traditional or practical ones such as Noor or Dubai Mall, these included Internet City and Media city. We got off at Damac Properties and transferred to the Tram which we took to Palm Jumierah and then (having weirdly to walk through an indoor car park) to the Monorail that took us to the tip of the Atlantis Palm Complex. We purchased our tickets, quickly changed and hit the water.
    Given both our limited time and the costs involved we only got the basic ticket (no swimming with sharks or dolphins) but we spent a couple of hours riding the river complex.. this was huge.. circling the whole park complete with conveyor belt, rapids, and a kind of wave shoot. There were also diversions up into towers with insane water slides.. one had a bather eating conveyor belt so now I have a hole in my bathers.... well at least there is a sewing kit in the room! We had a quick dip us the sea... very warm, turquoise and salty water (so easy to float!) And then it was a quick shower, change and a reversal of our earlier journey back to the hotel ready for our sundown desert trip.
    We were picked up by a nice young man in a 4WD drive and driven out of Dubai to the desert. Unfortunately he was also a very softly spoken young man and as we were in the rear most seats I really struggled to hear what he was saying about the camels (and camel racing) which we passed.
    We soon arrived at a dessert conservation park of about 250 hectares, after a brief stop to reduce the type pressure we were off into the park were we, travelling in massive 4WD convoy, we're able to view gazelle and aurox on our way to a small palm wadi.
    At the wadi we were able to view a falconing demonstration. The falcon, whose name was John, was flow by his handler (who was actually South African) who told us all about falconry, including that falcons are the fastest creatures on earth having been clocked at over 350km per hour.
    After the demonstration it was back into the 4WD for a crazy bouncing ride around the dessert to a dune where we could view the gorgeous sunset before continuing on the the "Camp" in the dessert where we were able to enjoy sand boarding, camel rides and henna tattoos before a huge meal (we thought the "starters" where it and over indulged leaving little room for the ample main course and desert).
    After dinner there was a belly dance demonstration and then a "star gazing" experience when all the lights where turned out and we could watch the stars.
    Then sadly the night came to an end and it was back in the 4WD and back to the hotel
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  • Day8

    Spent my last morning in Japan touring the Imperial Gardens on a lovely sunny morning. You can't actually get into the Imperial Palace because Emperor Akihito lives there - how inconsiderate! I also visited Tokyo Tower - modelled on, but a few metres taller than, the Eiffel Tower. Still a lot smaller than the brand new Sky Tree Tower though.

    I was able to use my Japan Rail Pass for the last time on the Narita Airport Express.

    I flew with Etihad Airways - the official airline of UAE - who seemed pretty good. I was tempted to upgrade to Business Class, but at $1500 I decided just to slum it in Economy. I was a bit concerned initially when the flight started with a prayer on the screen, and regular reminders of the direction of, and distance to, Mecca. I thought I was in for a wee game of Bingo, but no luck. The food was okay, but my water carton and tray of veg were frozen rock solid. I was told that it was only Japanese fish for both meals, but eventually, after protesting, they found me chicken.

    Having a few hours stopover in Abu Dhabi after a 10 hour flight from Tokyo. Ready now for the last 8 hour leg to Edinburgh. It's midnight here in Abu Dhabi and 35 degrees!
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  • Day2

    In the early morning, we arrived at Abu Dhabi airport, we figured out how to get into the city (bus, shuttle or taxi) with a low temp of 45 degrees 🌞😥. We decided to give the buses a go, not knowing where we were actually going we made it to the Marina Mall, mind you it took two buses and a tourist, but we found our big bus tour and explored all day! We saw the Grand Mosque 🕌, the different architectural designs of the city and Eithad Towers to name a few. With not much sleep, it was a long stop over now waiting for our flight to Toronto, Canada 🛫Read more

  • Day120

    After pure poverty in Nepal, Dubai is a huge contrast. Our hotel offered amazing breakfast and a pool with incredible view. Visits to Burj Khalifa, Dubai mall incl. aquarium, spice and gold souks and the breathtaking fountain shows in front of the skyline - speed sightseeing at its best! And by the way: we found the penguins...

  • Day2

    Snapshot
    Where - Abu Dhabi, Grand Millennium al Whadi hotel
    Weather - HOT! Min 32 Max 45
    Steps - 11600 steps or 7.4km

    After a long and uneventful flight, we arrived at Abu Dhabi at 6am where the temperature was already 32°C. Brad managed a decent amount of shut-eye, I not so much (maybe 2-3 hours), but I did manage to watch 3 movies and a couple of tv shows.

    Arrived at the Grand Millennium Al Whadi hotel where we were able to check in immediately (at 7.30am). He did try and upgrade is to a junior suite (for more $$ of course) because our choice of a non- smoking room would not be available until later, but we settled for the smoking room as we just wanted to freshen up. Room isn't bad, has a great view which would be better if it wasn't so hazy.

    Checked out the mall next door to the hotel. Just crossing the undercover carpark and the heat hits you like a sledgehammer. Massive with shops on 3 levels and meticulously clean... but there did not seem to be many people actually in the shops - still quite early I guess. Had lunch and by this time I was pretty tired (remember I only had a few hours rest on the plane), so caught up another few hours back in the hotel.

    Tomorrow we have a city tour organised which includes a visit to the huge mosque we saw on or way in from the airport, so hopefully more photos then.
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  • Day3

    Snapshot
    Where Abu Dhabi - Half day City Tour
    Weather - Hot... 46°C - gasp!
    Steps - 11000 or 7km

    After a good breakfast we were picked up from the hotel to firstly visit the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. Before even entering, there are very strict rules regarding dress (although it really only applied to women who had to be covered had to toe with head scarf, long sleeves and long pants/ skirt - men only had to have their legs covered). So, I'm fully kitted out with black scarf and black dress because it was considered my 3/4 shirt and pants were not long enough (yet the guide had a t-shirt on). Brad did take one photo of me wearing all this garb, but unfortunately, due to a mishap when we were trying to transfer the photos from the camera to the tablet, all the pictures were deleted off the SD card. Who did that shall remain nameless (it was Brad), but it was a lesson learnt and we won't do it again. Apart from the photos of the mosque, any other pictures we took today were not really keepers anyway and we figured we could always revisit here when we stop on the way back. Have included some images from stock photos.

    Anyway, back to the mosque. The mosque is the largest in the UAE and was only completed in 2007, taking about 11 years to build. The mosque is large enough to accommodate over 40,000 worshippers, while the main prayer hall can hold over 7,000. It boasts the world's largest hand knotted carpet, made by approx 1200 Iranian women and took 2 years to finish. There are seven imported chandeliers from Germany that incorporate millions of Swarovski crystals. The largest chandelier is the second largest known chandelier inside a mosque, the third largest in the world and weighs about 12 tonnes (and cost around USD$8 million, as did the carpet) . The thousand odd columns that line the courtyard are made from marble that is inlaid with semiprecious gemstones such as amethyst, mother of pearl and lapis lazuli in floral designs. It really was a beautiful place.

    After the mosque we visited a date market (who knew there were so many varieties of dates), followed by the cultural centre where we learnt about the development of Abu Dhabi from a small, poor region only 50 odd years ago to one of the wealthiest cities in the world. Finally we visited the Heritage Centre which demonstrated what the area was like before the discovery of oil and the source of their wealth.

    This ends our visit to Abu Dhabi, tomorrow we fly to Amsterdam to commence our European trip.
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  • Day27

    A slow start after our big night last night but we still got going early enough to have one last walk around prior to checking out.

    It was lucky we got to airport early as it took ages to check bags in and get through security.

    Our flight was ok but we went through more turbulence on this flight than any other we've been on.

    We arrived in Dubai a bit after midnight and it is 37 degrees, apparently the UAE is experiencing a heat wave at the moment so it's going to be hotter than normal. We are now at our hotel, it's 2am. We are heading on a tour to Sharjah tomorrow and need to ready by 7.50am so better get some sleep.Read more

  • Day27

    Today we headed to Sharjah in the morning for a heritage and cultural tour. It was already 40 degrees at 9am, lucky we were in air conditioning for much of the morning.

    We visited the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilisation which was very interested, we got an insight into the Muslim religion and also learnt about the history of Islam in the fields of science, astrology, arts and architecture. Islam has more than 1.4 billion believers which is roughly one fifth of the worlds population and is also the worlds fastest growing religion. The word 'Islam' means 'submission or surrender to the will of Allah'. A Muslims faith rests on 'The Six Pillars of Inman (faith)'. They are the belief in Allah, in his angels, in his released scriptures, in his messengers, the day of judgement and the resurrection and divine predestination, hmmm, sounds very similar to Christianity.

    We also visited the Sharjah Heritage Museum and learnt about the history, customs and culture if the people of Sharjah and the UAE. The tour also included some photo stop opportunities at a couple of mosques as well as visited some souks. We enjoyed the tour and in particular gaining further insight into the Muslim religion, I find the history of religions, cultures, civilisations and ideas to be fascinating and just wish people were more tolerant of others and willing to learn from other cultures and religions instead of the prevailing bigotry that some people seem to want to foster.

    Anyway, we got back to the hotel a bit after midday and decided to have a few hours sleep given we didn't get a lot last night. It was also extremely hot so we didn't really want to be outside. However later in the afternoon we decided to grab a taxi and head to the Dubai Mall. Whilst I'm not one for shopping malls I did enjoying wandering around this one. Not only due to the air conditioning but the people watching was great and a distinct contrast to the faces we have been seeing in Scandinavia and the Netherlands. I love all the different types of dress here and particularly am intrigued by the women in the burqas. Maybe it's the dress and face covering that accentuates their eyes but these woman generally all have beautiful eyes.

    While at the mall we did a bit of shopping and also watched the fountain show in front of the Burj Khalifa which was quite impressive. Looking up at the Burj Khalifa is also something to behold and I can't believe they are planning to build an even taller building. After the show we enjoyed some decadent chocolate dishes at a restaurant next to the ice rink. They were delicious. When we left the mall at 8pm it was already dark outside, this is a bit of a novelty for us given our days for the last month have been so long and we've hardly seen any night time.

    The only thing that I don't enjoy in Dubai is the the hot weather, but we'll have to grin and bear it tomorrow as we are spending the day in Abu Dhabi and I'm really looking forward to learning more about this fascinating region. Tomorrow is also our last day on holiday so our epic adventure is coming to an end.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

United Arab Emirates, Vereinigte Arabische Emirate, UAE, Imarat Arab Meusaboh, Verenigde Arabiese Emirate, የተባበሩት የዓረብ ግዛቶች, Emiratos Arabes Unitos, Geānedu Arabisc Bregorīcu, الامارات العربية المتحدة, ܐܡܝܪܘܬܐ ܥܪܒܝܬܐ ܡܚܝܕܬܐ, الامارات, সংযুক্ত আৰব আমিৰাত, Emiratos Árabes Xuníos, ГIарабазул Цолъарал Имаратал, Birləşmiş Ərəb Emiratları, ایمارات, Берләшкән Ғәрәп Әмирлектәре, Vaeinigte Arabische Emirate, Emiratong Arabe Unidos, Аб'яднаныя Арабскія Эміраты, Обединени арабски емирства, यूनाइटेड अरब अमीरात, Syarikat Amiriah Arab, Arabu mara kafoli, সংযুক্ত আরব আমিরাত, ཨ་རབ། ཨི་མི་རཊ྄། ཆིག་སྒྲིལ་རྒྱལ་ཁབ།, তিলপা আরব আমিরাত, Emirelezhioù Arab Unanet, Ujedinjeni Arapski Emirati, Emiriyah Arab Bersatu, Арабай Нэгэдэһэн Эмиртэ Улас, Emirats Àrabs Units, Ā-lá-báik Lièng-hăk Dâi-gŭng-guók, Ӏаьрбийн Цхьанатоьхна Эмираташ, Hiniusang Emiratong Arabo, میرنشینە یەکگرتووە عەرەبییەکان, Birleşken Arap Emirlikleri, Spojené arabské emiráty, Emiraethau Arabaidd Unedig, Forenede Arabiske Emirater, Yewiya Emiranê Erebi, Zjadnośone Arabske Emiraty, އެކުވެރި ޢަރަބި އިމާރާތު, ཡུ་ནའི་ཊེཊ་ཨ་ར བ་ཨེ་མི་རེཊསི, United Arab Emirates nutome, Ηνωμένα Αραβικά Εμιράτα, Unuiĝintaj Arabaj Emirlandos, Emiratos Árabes Unidos, Araabia Ühendemiraadid, Arabiar Emirerri Batuak, Emiratus Árabis Uníus, عمارات متحده ی عربی, Emiraat Araab Denntuɗe, Arabiemiirikunnat, Sameindu Emirríkini, Émirats Arabes Unis, Èmirats arabes units, Feriene Arabyske Emiraten, Aontas na nÉimíríochtaí Arabacha, Birleşik Arab Emirlikleri, Na h-Iomaratan Arabach Aonaichte, Aravia Emiryvy Joaju, संयुक्त अरब अमीरात, યુનાઇટેડ અરબ એમિરેટ્સ, Ny h-Emmiraidyn Arabagh Unnaneysit, Haɗaɗɗiyar Daular Larabawa, Â-lâ-pak Lièn-ha̍p Thai-kûng-koet, איחוד נסיכויות ערב, Zjednoćene arabske emiraty, Emira Arab Ini, Egyesült Arab Emirátus, Միացյալ Արաբական Էմիրաթներ, Emiratos Arabe Unite, Uni Emirat Arab, Unit Arabic Emiratus, Dagiti Nagkaykaysa nga Emirato nga Arabo, Unionita Araba Emirati, Sameinuðu arabísku furstadæmin, Emirati Arabi Uniti, アラブ首長国連邦, Uni Émirat Arab, არაბთა გაერთიანებული საამიროები, Birlesken Arab Amirlikleri, Limarat Taɛrabin Yeddukklen, Хьарып Iэмирэт Зэгуэтхэр, Falme za Kiarabu, Біріккен Араб Эмираттары, អេមីរ៉ែទអារ៉ាប់រួម, ಸಂಯುಕ್ತ ಅರಬ್ ಎಮಿರೇಟಸ್, 아랍에미리트 연합, Ӧтувтчӧм Араб Эмиратъяс, Pennternasedh Unys Arabek, Бириккен Араб Эмирликтери, Emiratus Arabici Coniuncti, Vereenegt Arabesch Emiraten, ЦачIунхьу Аьрабнал Эмиратру, Арабрин Садхьанвай Эмиратар, Emireeti, Vereinegde Arabische Emiraote, Emirati Àrabi Unïi, Emiraa Arab Ünii, Lɛmila alabo, ສະຫະລັດອາຫລັບເອມິເລດ, ئمارأتیا یأکاگئرئتە عأرأڤی, Jungtiniai Arabų Emyratai, Lemila alabu, Apvienotie Arābu Emirāti, Emirà Arabo mitambatra, Обединети Арапски Емирати, സംയുക്ത അറബ് രാഷ്ട്രം, Арабын Нэгдсэн Эмирт Улс, Emiriah Arab Bersatu, Emirati Għarab Maqgħuda, ယူအေအီး, متحده عربی امارات, Emireitit Arabiya, Tlacetilīlli Arabiaemiryōtl, A-la-pek Liân-ha̍p Thâu-lâng-kok, De forente arabiske emirater, Vereenigte Araabsche Emiraten, संयुक्त अरब इमिराट्स, Verenigde Arabische Emiraten, Dei sameinte arabiske emirata, Unionati Arabi Emirates, Ásáí Bikéyah Yázhí Ałhidadiidzooígíí, Emirats Arabis Units, Yunaayitid Arab Imireetis, ସଂଯୁକ୍ତ ଆରବ ଏମିରେଟସ୍, Араббы Иугонд Эмираттæ, ਸੰਯੁਕਤ ਅਰਬ ਇਮਰਾਤ, Emiratos diad Unido ya Arabo, Emiratos Arabes Unidos, Yunitid Arab Emiraets, Zjednoczone Emiraty Arabskie, Emirà Àrabo Unì, متحدہ عرب امارات, متحده عرب امارات, Hukllachasqa Arab Imiratukuna, Emirats Arabs Unids, Leta Zunze Ubumwe z'Abarabu, Emiratele Arabe Unite, ОАЭ, Споєны Арабскы Еміраты, Nyarabu Zunze Ubumwe, Холбоhуктаах Араб Эмираттара, Emirati Àrabbi Uniti, Unitit Arab Emirates, گڏيل عرب امارات, Ovttastuvvan Arábaemiráhtat, Arâbo Emirâti Ôko, Jongtėnē Arabu Emīratā, එක්සත් අරාබි එමිර් රාජ්‍යය, Združeni arabski emirati, Imaaraadka Carabta ee Midoobay, Emiratet Arabe te Bashkuara, Уједињени Арапски Емирати, Bunye bema-Arabhu, Fereende Arabiske Emiroate, Förenade Arabemiraten, Zjednoczůne Arabske Ymiraty, ஐக்கிய அரபு அமீரகம், యునైటెడ్ ఆరబ్ ఎమిరేట్స్, Emiratu Arabi Naklibur Sira, Аморати Муттаҳидаи Араб, สหรัฐอาหรับเอมิเรตส์, የተባበሩት አረብ ኤምሬትስ, Birleşen Arap Emirlikleri, Nagkakaisang Kaemirang Arabo, ʻAlepea Fakatahataha, Birleşik Arap Emirlikleri, Берләшкән Гарәп Әмирлекләре, Огазеяськем Араб Эмиратъёс, ئەرەب بىرلەشمە خەلىپىلىكى, Обєднані Арабські Емірати, Birlashgan Arab Amirliklari, Araban Ühtenzoittud Emiratad, Các Tiểu vương quốc Ả Rập Thống nhất, Lemiräns Larabik Pebalöl, Imaaraat yu Araab yu Bennoo yi, 阿拉伯联合酋长国, Ниицәтә Араб Нутгуд, פאראייניגטע אראבישע עמיראטן, Orílẹ́ède Ẹmirate ti Awọn Arabu, 阿拉伯聯合酋長國, Bouxdaeuzgoz Ahlazbwz Lienzhab, Vereênigde Araobische Emiraoten, i-United Arab Emirates

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