Monday, March 26, 2012

UAE continued -2

OK, let's continue on with Day 4 (17th Saturday)
We left Shams and his family to finish their mall trip - a book store run with the girls and general shopping trip and we went back to the hotel to "freshen" up a bit and let Leslie rest her poor bum knee.  She had turned wrong at some point during the day and it was giving her fits, so down with a cool cloth on her knee she went.   
It wasn't quite enough to make a dent in the pain she was feeling, so she opted out of the trek to the dinner cruise - not knowing if we would have an equally long hike to the boats, etc.  The down side was that we didn't have that long of a hike to the actual boat, however we were still upstairs as that is where it is open air, thus smoking area.

The area we saw this night was the older part of town on the natural "creek" inlet - much more relaxed and laid back than the first nights cruise, but equally as entertaining with the views and seeing the older parts of the city.

As we were very early Sara decided to broach the subject of a refund for her part of the dinner as it was an injury that kept her from participating... and the fact that it was her birthday didn't help much either!! Upon hearing that the nice man - who turned out to be the owner, not only offered Leslie's refund, but also sent her a cake to the hotel room too - what a sweet, sweet man!!

Day 5 (18 th Sunday)  The next day dawned with Leslie more mobile - yeah!!  We left the car at the hotel and took a cab into the older part of the city that we had seen the night prior from the creek.  In fact, I'm sure we actually left out on the water taxi's from the exact places you see in the shots prior!  While being dropped off, we did ask that he drop us closer to the old souk (market) area - and he obliged and dropped us in front of the Dubai Museum as well - since we were right there, we did the tour as well.  Who knew if we would come back this same way, so no time like the present to see it all!

Sara joked this was HER size door - ha!

And back out on the streets and headed into the souk's... first up was textiles and such.  I found some cute shoes for the girls (in green and purple - of course!).  I then got them each a pool cover up as well as myself and a few other gifts that will be given out at later times (nope, no hints here!)

This is a water taxi - how do you ride such a water taxi?


There is a little diesel engine in the hole and a very tiny wheel to steer by (I think it was only about a foot in diameter!)

Then if you're sitting in the back near the rudder you get to know how it's all really connected - yep, rope and pulley system.  Worked just fine!

What a full taxi looks like from a distance... it's almost like "where's waldo" looking for the captain, isn't it?  He's in the middle somewhere.

Gold souk - my downfall... really the gold itself was NOT inexpensive anymore :(  Oh, well - I did find one piece that SCREAMED buy me... and after some haggling and bargaining and debating... I did take it home with me.

Custom is to NOT take pictures of Mosques... so this is really NOT a picture of the mosque... it's a picture of us on the street.

And after a LONG hard day of shopping and wandering the streets of Dubai, we were headed home... right back into the wind and sand...

There is a stark difference that was pointed out to me at the boarder of the two Emirates - One being that Abu Dhabi has trees and shrubs planted and irrigated all the way to the boarder... LOTS of greenery on the side - well, relatively speaking, it is a true desert.  Dubai - you note the stark difference when you cross the boarder - trees and shrubs and irrigation to the highway ends.  dead in it's tracks!

Day 6 (19 th Monday) on a bright sunny day and we lazed around all morning as Sara had to work that morning and we, well, Leslie and I bummed around doing laundry and generally being bums, chatting and catching up!

After Sara got home, we headed out to Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque.  We had a bit of time as it was prayer time, so we walked around where we were allowed to be while prayer was going on and took pictures.  I liked this picture of me - one of the few I really do like!

Once inside we were instructed to put on the abaya (robe) and shayla (head covering) to go into the mosque.  In the visitor information they plainly state wear modest clothing, shirts to the elbow, pants, etc..  There were a few in hoochie mama outfits that had to get dressed before even going on the grounds... I was fine as I had on long pants and a reasonable shirt...

Omar the tent maker made my abaya as it actually reached the ground.  Me and my non-observant self was told that there was a hugely tall woman who had on one that was a flood as she was way too tall even for the one they gave me!

what you see in the background is all inlaid stone - it's everywhere in this room - floors ceilings, you name it... it was BEAUTIFUL!  (I'm digging for my spare battery for the camera!)

Obligatory pigs in a mosque shot :D

inlaid stone again on the pillars.... so very pretty!!!

My favorite exterior shot....

LOVE the men in suits going in for prayer.

Favorite interior shot.....

Random picture!!

After the days running around it was decided we needed some henna!!  So off we went - Leslie had arms and legs done, I had arms and legs done, Sara had arms done.  I seriously thought about photo shopping the gut off of me... then though - oh, why?  It's a known fact I'm THICK around the middle right now... maybe it will motivate me to get off my duff and do something about it, eh?  It's a good theory anyway - until then, the henna will make any woman feel sexy and beautiful!

These shots are the next day, but show how pretty it all turned out!  I went 'traditional' as I found out from a gal who was in with us having her work done.  She was very traditional came into the shop in full abaya and shayla and stripped down to a workout outfit - she was just coming from basket ball practice.  She was married, had a child and was going to the university studying design.  Leslie may have her design some clothing for her in the future.  Will be fun to see some of her work if they keep in touch!

Oh, and to this, I told my girls, it was official, I now walk on water!!

(this was in Qasr Al Sarab, so the sand is a statement as well - ha!)

OK, this is not a comment on day - this is a comment on air quality and how it degraded over my visit - the first shot is day 1... then next is when we got back from Dubai - the last?  When we got back from Qsar Al Sarab...  Yes, the air deteriorated that much over that time.  Some could have been fog, but with the wind, most was dust in the air.  The funny thing?  I was more effected on day 1 and 2 and could FEEL it in the air.  I had acclimated by the last days and didn't think twice about it.

Which brings us to Day 7 (18 th Tuesday)
Leaving out to go to Liwa we were scheduled to go by the Emirates Palace Hotel to take some pictures.  They were only letting anyone in with reservations, so they gave us a number to the coffee shops and we set one up for an hour later and dashed to the mall to get some proper shoes as "sandals" were not permitted (flip flops).  A mad dash through the mall, the purchase of shoes, dates, AND cigarettes for Butch and we were on our way back to the palace.  We had decided we would have Tea there... read into that the British lunch. 
Now picture this, this place is like the Beverly Wilshire dipped in gold... truly - gold in EVERYTHING.  Gold on the ceiling, in the flower vases, gold on the chocolate, gold in the coffee, gold in the wine... yes, gold EVERYWHERE.
HOWEVER we jumped right in and ordered tea - why not?  Really?  I'm on vacation!!

Exterior is under construction on this side....

Gold coffee bean that turned out to just be chocolate with a gold dusting... mind you I did tell my kids I am worth a LOT more for a while until all this passes !!

Yes that is gold in the coffee!!

I asked for the menu to take a picture so I could remember what was included in this opulent meal we just snarfed down :)

And off to Liwa - late, but oh, so happy!!


Linda Liebhardt said...

That's a LOT of henna! Very artistic. Did it tickle when they did the bottom of your feet? The COFFEE is artistic! The mosque was gorgeous. Were the black robes and hoods required for the tour? Who are your friends you went with? Loved the camel ride. A picture IS worth a thousand words!!!

Suzanne said...

Gold in the coffee?! I'm stumped as to how you didn't actually drink it? The henna is pretty. How long does it stay on for? Everything is so....I don't even know the word...different? That trip was different. I'm used to Europe and Caribbean. Looks like a major experience! Who are your friends and why are they over there?