Dubai or Don’t I – Prelude

dubai-skyline-at-dusk-jpg_header-144981Surprised? I know I was! Hubby and I had a week or so of leave so we decided to plan a five day break to Dubai.
I’ve been both excited and apprehensive since.

Have you ever googled “what should I know before I visit Dubai?”

You’ll find lots of advice, mostly relating to how to dress and how to act. Mostly tourists will be OK as long as your shoulders and knees are covered. You can wear regular swimsuits in your hotel or resort pool area.
I remember doing this in DoHa but I felt completely weirded out because there were local workers around and I don’t know, it just felt weird.
Public displays of affection are a no-no. You can be sent to prison for that. Aggressive behaviour could also get you into trouble.
If I return without hubby you’ll know why.

No drinking sign, No alcohol sign, isolated on white background, vector illustration.You’ll also find out that alcohol is not readily available. If you’re staying at a four star hotel and above, you will find it in the restaurants, but if you think you can just walk to the nearest bottle-o and pick up a bottle or two of red, you’ll be disappointed.
To purchase alcohol at a store, both residents and tourists require a license however you can get it in the duty free stores at the airport and take it back to your room.
Guess what this thirsty girl is going to be doing.

dubaimeme13One thing we have going for us is that at this time of year, we should expect temperatures to be about 24-25 degrees Celsius. I can live with that!
And the minimums are 17-18 degrees Celsius so guess I’ll need a jacket after all.

I can’t help thinking about what it was like when we were in DoHa, but that was a completely different time of year. Average temperatures at that time were 44 degrees Celsius. It was like we were in a ghost town! Nobody was out on the streets.

dubai-4-700xIn preparation, I’ve also been watching a heck of a lot of YouTube clips. Some of them are professionally done, and some are just travellers sharing their experience. I saw one clip, where a guy filmed while walking through the Dubai Mall food Court. I think that was when I said “oh my god yes I want to go there”.
So many food chains!! How am I going to try them all!!!

Our hotel is about eight kilometres from The Dubai Mall. I checked the public transport routes and while it’s very cheap to use public transport, google maps tells me it’s going to take one hour to go those eight kilometres. ONE HOUR!!!! We may as well walk it!!!
Although I did see a YouTube clip of one guy who said he was 700 metres away from it but it was not possible to walk there so he had to take a taxi.

So many things to learn about. I’m researching pocket wifi right now, trying not to think about the Qantas drama from yesterday when a plane dropped so many hundreds of metres in seconds and made an emergency landing in Melbourne.

HinaKhanSo for now I’ll get back to my preparations. Our flight leaves at 10pm tonight and I’m overdosing on melatonin and hoping to get some good rest in.

My next post will be in a foreign and relatively alcohol, shoulder and knee exposure free land.

What do you think about my travelling dress? Knees and shoulders are covered so all good right?

Wadaeaan my readers!

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Stuck in the Middle – Day Three

Our last day away and I can assure you, there will be no “surprises” after today. The next bed I’m going to sleep in will be my own!

I wanted to share another photo from last night. This was taken from the top of our hotel.

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Very nice views from up there!

Oh and a few other things from yesterday, we were talking to one of the servers in the restaurant here about the weather. He was saying they get temperatures of 50-55 degrees Celsius in the Summer!!! Then he added “It’s not too bad now, 42/43”
What?? That’s crazy! Who could ever say that 42/43 Celsius is not too bad!

And we asked our driver yesterday what the haze over the city was. Was it smog? Sand? He said no, they don’t really get sandstorms here. He thought it might be “something from the sea” which sounded pretty vague. I had a quick google and found out that DoHa is one of the most polluted cities in the world. This was one site I clicked on
http://aqicn.org/country/qatar/

Some other observations, even though everyone says there is no dress code for Westerners, I felt uncomfortable as a woman. Sometimes I think they say what they hope to be true, rather than what is true.
I was mostly covered up while I was here but you’re walking among people who are really covered up, and being white and blonde, I felt like I stuck out even more.
Just knowing people usually dress a different way made me feel uncomfortable. I know I’m not articulating this correctly and this is no reflection on the people here, everyone we interacted with was very nice but some of the looks we got made me uncomfortable at times.

Oh and there is a metal detector at the entrance of our hotel. Every time we have to go in or out, we need to go through it.

This morning we had breakfast at our hotel restaurant again and this time I took a few pictures.

 


We found out that there is a man there cooking up eggs the way you want them as you order them. They were so nice! I felt like we were eating so much and that everyone was looking at the gluttonous westerners. We wanted to make it last though as we weren’t eating again until late afternoon at the airport.

Everyone has been recommending the Museum of Islamic Art and it’s free and very close to our hotel so we went there this morning. You need to walk through a security scanning thing similar to what is at the airport to enter.
Again, no one on the streets!! Just a few workers as we approached the building.
The building itself is quite impressive!

 


Equally impressive inside.

 

 

They brought out these little sesame seed biscuit things with the coffee. They were so good!!

I took a few pictures of some of the exhibits inside. Not sure you can read the sign explaining what the exhibit is.

 

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Our shuttle back to the airport is booked for 3pm and as it’s too hot to do anything, we went back to the hotel and relaxed.

 


Our flight was not until 8pm though so we had a lot of time at the airport to wander around and see what’s here.
Again, this is an impressive building. It just seems like they’ve got money to throw around here at anything!

And I finally got to take a picture of the teddy bear! I think that’s what it is.It’s not the only large thing here either.

 

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I also took a pic while we were in the shuttle.

I realised later it didn’t take us very far and we could have easily walked it.

 

I just wanted to share a few more pictures from our plane. We were able to view outside of it via some camera and it made for some pretty interesting viewing during the landing!


That brings this vacation to an end.

Thank you for reading about our adventures and I welcome any comments you may have.

Kalinychta

Buona Notte

Tusbih ealaa khayr

Stuck in the Middle – Day One

The title is a little misleading, we’re not “stuck”, we chose to come here.
We wanted to break up the looooooong trip back to Australia.

So where are we? Well, it’s HOT. There’s lots of sand and few Westerners. Oh, and did I mention that it’s HOT!!

Before I get to that, I just want to share some last photos from Rome as we left this morning. When we were on the bus I got sad about leaving but before then, I was too worried about our safety as we walked through a bit of a sketchy area. You would not believe the homeless here and the condition they are in. Half dressed, slumped in their own … well I’ll leave that right there and won’t finish that sentence. I wasn’t sure if they were all alive. It’s a very, very sad situation.

So just a few photos from the bus as we left, including driving towards the Colosseum for one last glimpse.

 

 

We arrived at the airport with what we thought was plenty of time. Because hubby works for an airline, we get discounted airfares with partnered airlines and Qatar happens to be one of them. Sometimes there are conditions though and what we didn’t know was that there is a strict guideline on what staff can wear when travelling on Qatar.

 

We lined up in what we thought was a short line, but everyone had about fifty bags and it just took so long before we were at the check in counter.
Still, we thought we had time.

The lady who was checking us in asked us for our residency papers (for Qatar) or for our exit ticket. As hubby normally buys his tickets a day or so before we fly, we didn’t yet have an exit ticket.
No problem, the airport has free WiFi so we left the counter and went away to buy our tickets from DoHa to Australia.

With that done we were back at the check in counter but this time, the worker asked if hubby, who was wearing shorts and a t-shirt, had read the dress code because she wasn’t going to be able to give him a boarding pass with what he had on.
Hubby said he had some jeans in his luggage would that be ok? The worker said yes so we got our bags back off the belt and went to find bathrooms. He changed into his jeans, came out and we lined up again.
This time (a different worker) again asked if he had other clothes as he wasn’t meeting the dress code. She brought out the card with the dress code again. As it turns out, jeans as NOT ok.

Luckily, he had some slacks in the luggage so again, we took the bags off the belt and he rushed off to change into his dress pants. At this stage he still had his t-shirt on so while he was walking away I asked the worker if the t-shirt was ok. She said no, he’d need a shirt.

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He was too far away for me to call him and I couldn’t leave our bags out in the middle of nowhere so I took out a shirt from the luggage and hoped he’d be able to wear it over his t-shirt. Unfortunately it was terribly wrinkled but he/we had no choice! So as he walked back I held up the shirt and said “You have to put this on now”  What else could have gone wrong!!

We still weren’t cleared. The worker had to check with her supervisor Mauro and by now, the check in counter was closing…
Seeing as it was an hour before the flight we thought we still had lots of time though.

We were finally cleared and with our boarding passes tightly in hand, went to find our gates. The line up through security was long… but we got through that. The guy who checked our passports seemed to be on another planet. Probably just enjoyed some green stuff… He was slow and on the verge of laughter. We wouldn’t have cared if we weren’t rushing to make our gate.

Finally we were through that… and we walked, and walked and walked and our gate kept getting further and further away (it seemed)
Finally we thought, here it is! around the corner! But no, it was only a shuttle, taking us to another part of the airport. There was one about to leave so we jumped on and hubby said “is this taking us the right way?” er…. didn’t check that but luckily it was and we were at the gates a short time later. The flight was boarding when we got there!

4724f077a9ea9e9dc3f53a10ecd4411b.jpgAfter five and a half long hours we were finally in DoHa.
It’s hard to know what to write in all honesty.
I had checked the weather before we left and currently their highs are 40-42 degrees Celsius during the day and 30-32 at night.

We knew it was hot when got off the plane, but we didn’t feel the full extent until we left the airport!
We had a car waiting for us and just the walk to the car was like walking into fire! It was so engulfing!

I don’t think we’re going to be leaving this hotel. Everyone here has been so nice to us and so accomodating. Our room is lovely and big and we have some nice views.

 

 

Unfortunately you can’t really see it as there’s some sort of fog over the city and the windows are dirty. I don’t know if it’s smog, fog, a sandstorm coming or something else! In any case, it obscures the view which is a shame.

We didn’t leave the hotel as hubby wasn’t well. We didn’t even get food. We wasted  the whole evening so I don’t have anything interesting to say and hope we do something safe and fun tomorrow.