Dubai or Don’t I – Day Two

It’s 1.30am and I’m having trouble adjusting to this new time zone so I thought I’d write about a few funny things that happened yesterday.

IMG_9493We mentioned our kettle was faulty to the front desk. The staff here just bend over backwards to help. The man we were talking to said we were probably doing it wrong. It’s an electric kettle. How wrong could we be?

But we were wrong.

Most kettles click on to start boiling. Ours needs to be caressed and slid gently into position. If you don’t do it right it won’t turn on.

Now there’s a metaphor for you.

There’s a lot of older looking bikes here. They’ll tear up the footpaths. You have to be on guard! Nowhere near as bad as Japan but it still surprises me that it happens and we haven’t seen an accident yet.

Today we thought we’d head off down to the Dubai Creek again. As it’s Friday, nothing much is open (it’s their holy day). I was surprised to learn that even the metro (Trains and buses) don’t start until 10am.
It turned out to be the best option as we had breakfast at “Arabia Tea House Cafe Restaurant”
What an amazing place!!!


We went for a traditional Arabic Breakfast platter to share. I wish I could show you the platter we got but I was just too excited to eat it and forgot to take a picture. Here is the picture from the menu. We pretty much got this, except they changed up those green leafy things for baked beans.

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It was soooo good and much more filling than I could have imagined!

We also had tea and coffee included.

Hubby tried to ask for coffee but it was like that option wasn’t computed by the server so he just went for the tea as well but how nice was it!!!

It was like a chai tea but with a million more spices and was just so pleasurable to drink!!!

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They have this area outside where you can sit and have tea. Honestly, I wanted to say “How’s the serenity”

I don’t know if you can actually sit there or if it’s for tourists to take photos but I had to have a photo taken there too didn’t I?

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We’ve seen lots of cars here with their windscreen wipers up. I don’t know the actual reason for it but I googled and found some potential answers. It’s better for the rubber in this heat to not be next to your windscreen OR, dust particles can get under the blades and scratch the windscreen OR, people pay for others to wash their cars, and after the car has been washed they leave the wipers up to show it’s been done.
Either way, it looks strange.

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We saw this along our travels today.

A place for the needy to get some food.

How nice is that!

It was empty though and having said that, hubby and I both noticed that so far we haven’t seen any homeless people either.

We had seen pictures of the Marina Walk. I had read that it was a 7km walk but I think the 7kms is still being designed/built. I don’t think we walked more than 700 metres.
But I did take some nice pictures along the metro line way.


And the marina itself is pretty special!!

We thought we would be able to walk onto Palm Jumeriah. The tree-shaped Palm Jumeirah island is known for glitzy hotels, posh apartment towers and upmarket global restaurants.

If there is a way, we couldn’t find it. We did find the mono-rail that takes you all the way to the 7 star Atlantis hotel but by the time we figured that out we’d lost interest. We may be back another day.

By this time we were getting hungry again so decided to visit the Mall of Emirates. It opened in 2005 and is home to a ski field, a cinema complex and more than 630 of the world’s best brands. At that time, 2005,  it was named the World’s Leading New Shopping Mall at the World Travel Awards in London.
It was pretty special and after we explored a bit we got lunch that included mint lemonade. I thought I was going to hate it (it was a mistake order) but actually it was quite refreshing!
Here’s a few pics from the mall


IMG_9533We went back to our room to rest up a bit and on the way stopped in at a supermarket. I’m such a fan of foreign supermarkets!!

Look at how lovely and neat their fruit and veg section was!! omg!

Hubby asked me if I wanted  some poo chocolate cake. I thought what the heck?? but here’s what he was referring too… and yes it was pretty delicious!!!!


Seeing as it’s in walking distance to our hotel, we wandered down to the Textile Souk at Bur Dubai. Oh WOW! That was not what I was expecting.

There were loads and loads and loads, and then some, of people! If you are even a little bit anxious around throngs of people, don’t come here.
And while I’m in the camp of people who get anxiety by crowds, I’m glad I experienced it.
No matter where you are, someone is trying to engage with you. Trying to get you to come into their store or restaurant. We had menus shoved in our hands and were walking towards a table before we even knew what was going on! I can’t tell you how many times hubby was approached by someone trying to sell him a watch and even an iphone that was probably fake, for a “very cheap price”

It doesn’t matter what you say, they have an answer. I told hubby not to even engage but I think he likes the fact that someone is wanting to talk to him.

Heres a few pics from our walk through this area. Oh, and it’s right on Dubai Creek so we took a few pics of the little boats (abra?) that leave from this location.

The first pic on the left is a whole bunch of shoes. There’s quite a few places here where people take their shoes off to enter.


My anxiety was at peak level by that last pic!!!

We’ve had an amazing day. Still trying to book our dhow dinner cruise. I hope we get that sorted as it would be fun to do that tomorrow.

For now, I’m safe back in the hotel room ready for some quality sleep.

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Girls Gone Mild – Day Three

This morning we were back in the gym very early – even though we knew there was going to be a lot of walking today. There’s something soothing about being in an empty gym in the wee hours of the morning (trust me, there is no sarcasm in my words)

IMG_7977As I was making breakfast and going through our groceries I saw a few of our purchases from the Asian Supermarket from yesterday and realised we forgot to open the SoJu!

We saw it in the Korean restaurant we went to yesterday but didn’t drink it so bought a bottle later in the day because we wanted to have some – Will need to make room for that tonight.

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Our plan of attack today was to visit the QueenVictoria Market. This time I checked the opening time online and saw the food and veg sections open at 6am and the rest of it opens at 8am!

That didn’t sound right to me  but we got ready and walked down there. As it turned out, most of the shops were open and trading!

Melbourne has really turned on the weather for us! 22 degrees today and it was such a lovely fresh walk down there.

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We spent a bit of time clocking up steps, walking up and down the aisles but not really finding anything to buy.


I think we got more excited to go back to “our” coffee place. Last year we exhausted their supply of “free to try” chocolate coffee beans. (We bought lots of jars of them too!)

This year, we were excited to be back and wouldn’t you know it, the woman who served us remembered us from last year! She was lovely and I’m sure we were memorable not for raiding their chocolate coffee bean bowl, but because of our lovely personalities and enviable good looks.


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On the way back mumma bear wanted to stop in a kitchen store and I saw this which I thought would go perfect in my kitchen at home!

The only thing missing is the word “permanently”

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The next stop on our agenda was St Kilda so we topped up our public travel cards and hopped on a tram.

A vigorous discussion about whether you had to “tap on” and “tap off” ensued and a local woman thankfully interceded and said tapping off was not required on the tram.

We got to St Kilda and passed the various cake stores. I’m not sure how others feel but those cake stores seem to be better in fantasy than reality. Every time I go there I feel excited to try something but often it disappoints and my mum noted that the cakes at Brunetti looked better.
We didn’t get any cakes.


We ended up lunching at the same place we did last year. Well it was pretty good last year so why ignore a known entity?

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And the food was pretty good!!! Those serves were huge! In fact we were wondering whether we’d be able to take our leftovers with us so when the server came to take our plates away my mum asked “Do you do doggy style?” 
Of course she meant “Do you do doggy bags?” which the rest of us girls quickly restated.
I bet that server will have a story to tell tonight!


My mum wanted to walk to Port Melbourne. Sounds like a good idea in theory but it was so very windy and we were against the wind and walking in a warm sun the whole way.

Of course we stopped for pictures and coffee as we walked.


And finally we were there!! For a brief horrifying second we worried that there might not be a tram from there to Melbourne but thankfully there was.


I’m not sure why the “thumbs up” (Fonzie would be proud) has made an appearance in our photos but we all got into the spirit of it by the end of the day.

I’m not sure about the other girls but I’m pretty sure that I’ve had enough excitement for the day and am looking forward to getting into bed and dreaming about days with no wind.

Now, where’s that Soju…

Girls Gone Mild – Day Two

I know what you’re thinking. You’re all wondering how much Baileys is left right? And how can I call this “Girls Gone Mild” when there’s Baileys???
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Let me educate the uninformed.
When you give a bunch of women (who normally don’t drink) a shot or two of Bailey’s, it very quickly becomes a “Girls Gone Mild” night with some of us not even making it to the end of The Bachelor (save the jokes, I get it – The Bachelor would put anyone to sleep)

But the early night meant that a couple of us were ready very early for the 24 hour gym!

 

The gym has more than treadmills but that was the only thing I was interested in. It’s a nice huge area but there are no televisions. We made do with Netflix/podcasts on our phones and we definitely appreciated the gym, television or not.

IMG_7892Like any city, there is a lot of poverty around and it just breaks your heart.
Every now and then my sister especially, is moved to speak to one of them and share what she has with them.

Yesterday she met Craig who she had a little chat with and she had some left over food with her so she left that with him.

 

Yes I know there’s a whole debate about why there’s a homeless situation in the first place but I know that at the very least, this guy’s day was a little better for that moment.

 

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Today we were adamant that we weren’t going to do anything else until we went to DFO.

It was such a nice day that we decided to walk down there.

 


Snapping a few pics along the way of course….

 


6We walked along at our own place and were soon sitting in the DFO Food Court Area.

We hadn’t thought to look up the time the shops opened and were 30 minutes early.

Perfect time for a yoghurt parfait if you ask me.

My daughter, sister and I were eager to start shopping and had been counting down the seconds to 10 o’clock.

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My mother and sister in law were more relaxed and just happy to be out and about and if a bargain presented itself, all the better.

But thankfully they were happy enough to sit and wait for us while we tried on just about everything we put our hands on.

Speaking of trying this on, here are a few pictures of things we may or may not have bought…

 

With regards to the pic on the most right, in my defense, after a couple of hours taking off and putting on your jeans, if you don’t have to take them all the way off, leaving them at your ankles is fine enough. (Have you got a certain Nickelback song going through your head right now????)

11aHubby, who tried hard to invite himself but is sadly not on this trip (I don’t think he understands what a “girl’s shopping trip” means) wanted to shout us all a birthday meal in honour of my mum’s birthday. So sweet – and as we passed Sam Sam (Korean restaurant on Swanston st) my daughter got super excited and that was enough for her nonna to say “Let’s go here” and what a good choice it was!

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Some of us had never had Bibimbap (bottom right) so four of us ordered it!! And it was just so good!!!


The next mandatory stop was the Dangerfield outlet store, with a few more pics along the way. Hubby look away now because if first base is hand holding I got to first base with this guy (below). I think he was puckering up for a kiss too. Bit forward.


After a few more hours of shopping (and some fabulous purchases) we saw this sign above a store.

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Before I knew it, the words “in other words, old and fat” came out of my mouth. What I didn’t know, was that the owner of the store whose sign this was, was standing in the doorway. Suffice to say, she was not impressed.

We were getting overdue for a drink break so found ourselves in one of the lovely malls and stopped for some dessert and drinks.


We were going to stop at Hopetoun Tea rooms (pic left) but it was too crowded so we moved on. I can’t remember the name of the place but when we told the waitress that it was my mum’s birthday, she brought out a candle and helped us sing! She was so lovely.


The desserts, coffee/tea and wine were pretty good too!


And a few more pics of us because why take the pictures otherwise?


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On the way back to the apartment I was approached for money in a unique way so I gave him a bit of time.
He told me he was an Aussie legend (yes self proclaimed) and involved or responsible for the Ocean’s Eleven movie.
He said he was trying to produce a new movie that was a comedy along the line of “Shameless”.
I didn’t have any cash on me but I was interested to hear how he was going to spin this plug for money.

My mum, being mumma bear, finally had enough and got between us and said “we don’t have anything to give you” and I’m pretty sure there were curse words being spoken behind me as we walked on without him. Ah well. Who carries cash with them these days anyhow??

I’m pretty sure it’s going to be another night of Netflix and The Bachelor but we’ve had such a full day, nobody is complaining!! Plus, we have an abundance of shopping bags strewn about the apartment that are a testament to the great day we have already had!!

So please excuse me, I have some organising to do!

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Girls Gone Mild – Day One

There’s nothing like getting a text at 4AM saying “Your 6.10AM flight has been cancelled” to bring a bit of stress to your morning!!

I had been up since 2.30AM because I was just too excited to sleep and I wasn’t about to let an early morning wake up go to waste so… after frantic texts and phone calls, and hubby entering the picture to lend a steadying hand, my daughter and I were on a 6AM flight with Qantas (life savers) and my mum, sister and sister in law were now transferred to a 6.40AM Qantas flight.

Because we were now on different flights we missed out on taking a pre boarding flight photos but there were enough separate ones to make up for it.

On the left, my daughter and I, and on the right, the birthday girl!! My mum.

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My mother, sister and sister-in-law were on the same plane but spread out a little.

 

But what’s a seat or two to get in the way of a selfie?

 

Finally we were reunited in Melbourne and annoying delighting the other passengers on the SkyBus to Melbourne with our giggling and occasional outburst into song.


I was in the back row and my sister in law was quite a few seats ahead but it didn’t dissuade us from enthusiastic conversation.

I asked my mum if she’d liked the birthday meme I posted to her Facebook page. It was of one of her favourite Turkish actors. She started giggling and said “You know, I heard he was married but I also heard he’s gay” and when she got to the word “gay” she didn’t say it, she mouthed it. As if it was a dirty word that the rest of the passengers weren’t allowed to hear.

We had to wait a couple of hours before we could leave our bags and wander around unencumbered so we went into Melbourne Central Station and I got a little bit too excited to see a Bread Top Store there (guilty pleasure – and yes, we have them in my city too so my over excitement was not warranted)


We found a few Asian supermarkets and stocked up on a couple of essentials.


My favourite, Milk Tea and who wouldn’t want a creamy colon collon. Oh and check out those Pokemon Noodles!! How cute are they!


Bag drop complete it was time to get to Lygon Street and have our traditional “we’re in Melbourne” meal. I just love Brunetti’s. I think just about every server was born in Italy. Those accents!!


And the food was soooooo good, I didn’t even think to take a picture of it!! We were hungry and over excited.

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So with full bellies we hopped on a tram and got to Harbour Town for some not so serious shopping. Last year when we came here, there was a lot of construction going on and only a handful of shops were open.
This year, many more shops were open but it still looked very sparse.
Still we did manage a bit of shopping! The serious stuff starts tomorrow!!

 


We didn’t have to worry about getting lost. These two with their red hair were like a beacon keeping us together.

Later on in day it was time to celebrate the birthday girl with a cake and a shot of Bailey’s. We had to improvise!

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With such an early start we were pretty wrecked early and seeing as this is #girlsgonemild felt ok about sitting back on the couch and watching some Netflix.

Tomorrow is going to be a fruitful shopping day, I can feel it!!!

Ladies, let’s get our card tapping hands ready!!

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Girls Gone Mild – A Prelude

Readers I’m about to embark on a “girls shopping trip” to Melbourne.
We first did this last year as we thought it would be a fun way to celebrate our mum’s milestone birthday.


We had so much fun that we’re doing it again this year.
As for a cast of characters, it will be myself, my daughter, my sister, my mother and for the first time, my sister in law. Five women who expect to giggle a lot and buy a bunch of mostly useless amazing things, probably on sale.


We stayed at the most perfect place last year but for some reason, the price of the same hotel was a lot more than it was last year so we started looking around on the usual travel/hotel websites.

We had specific needs which turned out to be not so easy to find.
1. Had to have a kitchen
2. Had to have a 24 hour gym (with a minimum of two treadmills)
3. Had to comfortably sleep five
4. Had to have two bathrooms.

534c4a778cc6fd601f691d9608ed99a9--gym-fitness-fitness-humorWe found a couple of places we liked but although they listed having a gym, they didn’t specify if it was a 24 hour gym. This is particularly important as some of us like to get up very, very early and complete our work out and be showered and ready to hit the day as everyone else is getting up.
It also needed to have two treadmills as at least two of us want to run and what good is one treadmill in a gym?

So I rang one of these hotel websites and I have to applaud the off shore girl who answered as she was doing her best to find us a place. She kept trying to call hotels and was asking them if the gym was 24 hour and if they had at least two treadmills. I bet those hotels had never been asked that question before!!!

It was getting really frustrating as we couldn’t find what we were looking for. We had been at the computer searching for a couple of hours when my daughter said “why don’t you check out the Air bnb links I sent you. “
She only sent three links but of those, two had everything we needed!!! Amazing!! Not only that, but they were about half the price of the hotels we were looking at for the dates we wanted.

So now the accommodation is booked, travel, mostly arranged and excitement growing!

21743070_10155214660564531_668942632114337689_nOh, and why the title?

69deb5515636a8db4aa99a2ae7e53989-crossfit-memes-fitness-memesLast year we called our excursion/used the hashtag “girls gone wild” but when you’ve got half your party getting up before the sun rises to exercise, then hit the town to start shopping, then eating cheaply, then shopping some more, eating cheaply some more, shopping, bringing food home and crashing on the bed at 7pm. then it’s more a “Girls Gone Mild” kind of thing!

Get ready my sistas!!!!