United Arab Emirates
Al Safa

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    • Day 36

      And today we travelled by....

      September 24, 2017 in the United Arab Emirates ⋅ 🌙 29 °C

      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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