Monday, February 06, 2006

Lunch at the Burj al Arab, Race Night at Nad al Sheba and some sightseeing!

On Thursday we again went to lunch at the other restaurant in the Burj al Arab - the one at the very top that juts out from the main building! The view from up there is spectacular!! We had originally planned to go for dinner but since it's winter here and gets dark early and the main views are looking out over the ocean we changed our booking to lunch as we wouldn't really see much otherwise :)

The food was delicious and the service excellent (as you would expect!) - I enjoyed this lunch much more than the seafood restaurant.

After lunch we checked mum and dad out of the Burj and then headed home for another quick pitstop to get ready for a night at the races (I'm planning a very quiet week after mum and dad leave - lol!)! Ken had organised a car to come and pick us up so we could all enjoy the night and not have to worry who was going to drive home. As there are six of us it had to be some sort of people mover but we weren't prepared for what actually turned up!! OMG, it was huge!!! You can just imagine the stares we were getting, especially from the maids out in our street at the time - LOL! Still, it was a bit of fun (although I felt a bit pretentious!), and the kids had a great time pretending they were somebody famous!

We had a great night at the races - there were 12 of us all up as we'd invited some other friends along so we had a small box to ourselves. Gambling is illegal here but they have a raffle type system where you choose two horses from each race (the winner and runner-up), and you collect points for each winner or runner-up you've chosen. The leader board comes up on a television screen and you can see where you are and whether you have a chance for any of the prizes on offer. I think dad and I were fourth at one stage but I quickly headed down the list not long after that, whilst dad remained up there for a little while longer before he too started cruising downwards - lol!

We had a slow start Friday morning - it was nice not to have to rush off somewhere for a change :) Friday afternoon we headed into the city and had a wander around the creek area amongst the traditional style buildings. We were a bit early so none of the souk stalls were open yet though - they don't open till quite late in the afternoons on Fridays. They are doing some renovation work around this area and this sign we came across made us smile - something definitely got lost in translation here - lol!

We then headed down to the nearest abra station and jumped in an abra (water taxi) to take us for a short tour up and back along the creek. It was nice being out on the water although I was a bit worried when our driver seemed to be doing everything but driving! If mum or dad or one of the kids asked Ken and I what a particular building was, he would jump up from his seat and come and tell us :)

We had the abra driver drop us off on the other side of the creek near the Gold Souk. There is just shop upon shop selling gold (and some silver) jewellery - it is quite incredible!! Unfortunately, I didn't take a picture with my camera so I can't show you this time.

In behind the Gold Souk area there are small textile and souvenir stalls where mum had a great time stocking up on pashminas (Kashmiri shawls) mostly ... although she did buy a pair of tiny embroidered shoes and some beaded head dresses as well to take home with her. The shoes in the photo are a pair I bought some time ago which I have on display in my entranceway.

Saturday we got up quite early and headed for the mountains :) Ken was keen to try one of the day trips out of his UAE Off-Road Explorer book so we packed up some morning tea and a picnic lunch in the esky, loaded it and everybody into the TrailBlazer and headed off. Our destination was Wadi Bih which is north of Dubai and so we travelled through four of the seven emirates that make up the UAE - Sharjah, Ajman, Umm al-Qaiwain and Ras al-Khaimah. Unfortunately, we didn't quite make it to Wadi Bih as it's in Oman (which I didn't know at the time!) and we didn't have our passports so we were turned back at the checkpoint! Never mind, we still managed to find a spot to go off road for a bit and find a place to have morning tea :)

We then headed back along the coast for a little bit and found a nice place for lunch which didn't involve any off-roading :) All in all it was a nice day out and mum and dad enjoyed it and got to see something different.

Tomorrow we are heading back to Nad al Sheba Race Course to have a look around the Godolphin Gallery so dad can pick up a couple more polo shirts as souvenirs :) Mum then wants to go to one of the nearby shopping malls to also do some last minute shopping so we will do that also tomorrow. I think Tuesday will be a quiet day as we are heading to Abu Dhabi on Wednesday, back to Dubai on Thursday and then Friday will be spent packing as mum and dad leave in the early hours of Saturday morning to go back home!

It's been a very busy time the past couple of weeks but I think they've enjoyed themselves :)

On a brief stitching note I picked up Medieval Town Mandala to take with me in the truck on Saturday. I'm not a very good passenger and usually am unable to stitch whilst travelling but as I'm still plugging away at Part 2 (!!) and only had some back stitch on the vines and the outer gold square to do (which doesn't really require much concentration), I thought I would give it another go. As luck would have it, I was fine so now all the backstitching is done as is most of the gold outer square. Hopefully I will finish that off over the next day or two and then get stuck into Part 3!! Might go and put a few more stitches in now in fact :)

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