Dubai or Don’t I? – Day Three

IMG_9516A sometimes frustrating thing is that when crossing a road here there can be up to four sections. So you’ll have a separate pedestrian sign for each section. It can be fine for you to walk the first three then STOP! It’s also a little dangerous for us as we’re not used to seeing it. We’re used to looking at what the sign is at the end of the walk which often is not the same as the sign closest to you.

If you haven’t noticed it, the first sign in the pic to the right is don’t walk! but how easy would it be just to step out because the other two are walk!

Hubby was up early this morning to watch a Hockey game. I tried to sleep but it was impossible so at 6am I hit the gym. It’s a really nice gym! Lots of equipment and three treadmills. When I walked in two of them were being used. Awkward! But it was OK and it felt so good to move at a good pace rather than the slow pace we use when being tourists.

We left as they were coming to clean the room. It was a bit strange yesterday when we came back in, the cleaners had even put some of our stuff away. For example, we had some charging cords on the counter and they put them in the drawer beneath that. There were a few little things like that. I’d never experienced that before.

 

 

Today we were smart and bought a day trip pass. This allows us to catch and bus, train or tram on the same ticket all day. It doesn’t include the monorail though which is a shame as that ticket was almost the same as the day pass.
The pics above were from today’s trip. We were going to try to get to Jumeirah Palms again today.

When we got to the ticket booth, we were disappointed to find out that they don’t take credit card. It’s cash only. Not only is it cash only but the nearest ATM was pretty far away.
Hubby went to check for a cab service but the first guy who approached us gave us some ridiculous price. On the way back through (We were going to make the long trek to the atm) a security guard stopped us and said he would give us the 60 dirham we needed for a routine ticket on the monorail. He said there were ATMS on the island that we could use so we could pay him back when we came back.

Sounds too good to be true right? I mean he was risking losing his 60 dirham but if, as I believe is the case, most people are honest, he will likely be making some good tips doing it this way. I know we tipped him well when we came back. It was so nice of him to offer and we were beyond grateful.

So we got on the monorail to the amazing Atlantis hotel on Jumeirah Palms and sat as close to the front as we could. Here are a few snaps I took along the way.

 

 


Once there, we had a coffee then took a look through the shops of the Atlantis hotel.

Here’s a few pics inside.

 

 


IMG_9606Those cakes are from the Starbucks. We didn’t have any but they looked good.

You’ll notice Gordon Ramsey has a restaurant here. The bottom right pic is from inside there. We stopped and had a couple of drinks. The drinks were about $24 each and we only had a wine and bourbon. Very expensive for what we’re used to but it was a good experience.

Oh and look (left) I found Jason Mamoa here too!! Or more correctly, Aquaman!

We took a stroll on the board walk..

 

 


Then headed back on the monorail. Here’s a few pics from the way back.

 

 


IMG_9625We stopped at The Dubai Mall for a walk and a snack. We’re  going to a river cruise buffet tonight so we didn’t want to eat too much.

On the train we saw this sign that separated the women from the men. We walked in without realising, then when hubby saw it, he retreated to the other side of the line.

If you can’t see it, he has little kangaroos on his shoes.

IMG_9627So the river cruise was an experience!!!! We had no idea what to expect. We contacted the company from a brochure that was left in the hotel. I couldn’t find the name of the people operating the tour, or a website, but there was an email address so I contacted them. They confirmed the price (so many tours list one price but charge a higher one when you go to book) and that pick up and drop off was included.

Hubby and I had been waiting in the hotel lobby for a while when a dishevelled looking kid came in and asked if I was the person waiting to be picked up for the tour. I must admit, from the way he was dressed and his manner, I almost wanted to say no.

But I said yes and hubby and I went to his vehicle. I was expecting a minivan type thing used by the tour operators but no, it was his own personal car. He said there was another group of three waiting to be picked up too. That made me feel a little better.

Hubby is 6’7” and  has a frame to go along with that so it was funny when, after picking up the new passengers, the driver tried to squeeze hubby in the middle of the back row, with people either side of him. I just couldn’t stop laughing and finally the driver said actually, you can sit here and moved him elsewhere.

When we got to the boat he asked for the money for the river cruise. Up until this point I hadn’t paid and it felt weird to be giving him the money. We gave him the equivalent of $80AUD and walked towards the boat. He said he’d be there to pick us up at 10.30pm.
Hubby said “he ain’t coming back”

 

 

We got onto the rickety boat (a dhow) and thought what the hell have we gotten ourselves into!!
The boat started to move away from the dock and five minutes later, another boat caught up to us and let a few more people on. Hubby said “here are the guys coming to take our wallets”

But we were so wrong to be afraid. We had a FANTASTIC night!!

Here’s some of the views we enjoyed

 

 

 

 

Once everyone was on board the entertainment started. First with this…

I loved the music and everyone just got into it!! Especially the kids.

 

 

After this, a spinning guy came out. He twirled and twirled and twirled for ages! How did he not get dizzy!!!! And those discs he’s holding multiplied as he went round and round. He was so good!!

It was just so much fun. Later on, while we were waiting for our driver, another woman who I had been on the boat with but hadn’t spoken a word to, motioned for me to come over (she didn’t speak English) because she wanted a photo with me! How sweet is that!! She made me feel so special.

It was a fantastic night that we are going to remember for a long time and if you haven’t worked it out by now, our driver DID come back for us!!

Good night!

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Girls Gone Mild – Day Five

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Today is our last day. I got up early to hit the gym again.

Every morning I’ve been, I haven’t seen anyone else in that gym.

It’s nice having the whole area to yourself.
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This morning however, someone else came in and it was still very early. 4am to be precise.  I wondered what the hell someone else was doing in the gym that early on a Sunday morning!

Then ten minutes later, someone else came in! A girl who was doing some stretching and yoga. A few minutes after that, two more people put their heads in.

This was all before 5am on a Sunday morning!
I was going to let myself go  easy and walk more than run however with other people in the gym, it forced me to run more because, well that’s just what we do right?

b4784d4f53d6fd5bb580055961ab52bc--fitness-gym-fitness-humorMy sister came in very early also and when we were leaving (about 6.30am) we saw there were people in the games room playing table tennis!!! What is going on! Why were all these people up so early on a Sunday morning!

If I’d known I’d be encountering other humans, I wouldn’t have let myself be so scary looking and actually attempted  to look vaguely alive.

Have to say, the facilities in this place have been pretty good!

As we weren’t able to store our luggage in the building we were staying at, we didn’t leave our room until just before check out time. I mean who wants to walk all over the place with heavy luggage?
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We thought we’d go to Victoria Markets again just to kill a bit of time and perhaps snap up a bargain.

You don’t realise how difficult it is to pull a heavy luggage bag until you have to do it up and down crowded aisle ways.

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It’s even more difficult when you’re a party of five and trying to somewhat stay together.


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In any case, after buying a few more trinkets, including a pair of earrings that the shop owner assured me would not go green if worn in the shower.

We shall see about that!

We stopped to get coffee in a nearby foodcourt and I saw this…

You probably can’t read the sign above the piano but it says “play me”

I wasn’t going to but I heard a couple of others tinker and realised I wasn’t going to be worse than they were so I got up to play also.

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What I didn’t see was the woman at a table behind me who had her fingers in her ears!

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Ah well, can’t please everyone!

IMG_8179Time to leave the market…

Have to share this funny sign we saw along the way to the bus station.

Not sure if it was just because we were tired but it made us chuckle!

We were hoping to leave our luggage in a locker at the bus station but unfortunately, they were mostly all taken! So again, we were faced with the prospect of trailing them behind us.

Luckily, we saw the outlet store about the bus station and the foodcourt there had lots of comfy seating so we took it in turns to mind the bags while the others shopped.

After some more successful shopping (No photo, but I got a jacket from Jacquie E that was original $249 for $34.95!!!!) we hopped on the skybus back to the airport.

My daughter and I were on a different flight to the rest of our party so we had to separate at that point. It was sad, especially after spending so much time together.

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But we made up for it by sending photos and messages while we were waiting for our planes to leave.

As my sister, mother and sister-in-law had more time, they went to  a wine tasting that was set up in the airport.

They drank their samples and then the guy asked my mum where she normally buys her wine.
I’m pretty sure he meant what winery she was partial to.
She replied “Liquorland”

Ah, I wish I’d been there!

On our flight we were given snacks.
IMG_8183I saw the cabin crew coming down the aisle and I thought she said “Cheesecake” as she handed another passenger a box.

“Cheesecake!!” I said excitedly to my daughter. “We’re going to get cheesecake!”

But no, I was wrong, it was cheese and crackers.
Can you imagine the disappointment.

So I sent the picture of our cheese and crackers to the girls on the other flight.

They sent a picture of their “cheese and crackers”

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And yes they definitely win!!!

My mum had these taralli with her AND some cheese that had been left over from our trip.

Throughout the whole time away, no matter how obscure, if I asked my mum if she had something, the answer was always yes.

“Do you have some sharp nail scissors?”
“Do you have some water?”
“Do you have tissues? No, the wet kind… like you get from KFC?”

There’s loads more but I just can’t think of it right now. She came prepared! And we loved her all the more for it.

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They sent us this photo and I took one of my daughter and I to send back but I was making a face in that one that is definitely not fit for public viewing so it didn’t make it to the blog.

We had a great time being silly together and I’m grateful to have such a loving, close family.

I was also very excited to see hubby who was waiting for us as we arrived.

And now I don’t want to think about anything else but my bed!

 

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 – 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!!!!

Darwin – Day 2

I slept like a baby last night! Of course it helped that the hotel’s air conditioning was on at full blast.

gum.jpgDarwin doesn’t have daylight saving so it was still quite early when I woke. I remembered the hotel gym opened at 6am so I decided to go down there early and get in some k’s on the treadmill before hubby woke up.

At 6.01am the gym still wasn’t open so I went down to reception to see if perhaps I’d gotten the time wrong.
I wonder if a guest has ever chased the staff about opening the gym before??

Hubby ended up coming down ninety minutes later and after a quick shower, we hopped into the pool to cool down.

We wanted to stay active and looked for a few things to do. We had wanted to go to the Aviation Museum but didn’t want to use a taxi or the bus. It was probably too far to walk with this humidity, so we decided to go to the “Qantas Hangar” instead.

The Hangar was about four kilometres from where we were staying and off we trotted on foot. I think hubby perspired at least ten buckets worth only to find when we got there, that we hadn’t really researched what the Hangar was….
I was more than a little disappointed but oh well, we got to talk to a few locals at the Parap shops and that’s always nice.

We saw a man waiting at a bus stop and asked him how soon the bus was coming. Lucky for us, there was one just about due and while we waited he pretty much told us his life story. Everyone has a story here! It was really interesting talking to him and it made the trip worthwhile.

fullsizerender15The bus took us right back to the Waterfront so we hopped off there to get some lunch. This time we were NOT going to go to the Hot Tamale.

Instead we ended up at Fiddlers Green.

The staff here were fairly friendly. They work hard to entice you in.

Hubby went for a couple of entree’s. SMOKED SALMON BLINIS- Salmon on potato pancakes with dill, Sour cream, capers & red onion jam and a BASKET OF WEDGES – Served with sweet chilli sauce & sour cream


He absolutely loved the potato pancakes. “Why can’t you make them like that?” he asked. Hmmm, I’ll have to try harder. They were really delicious and I know because I was allowed a taste test! I think he allowed it so that I know how to make them….

I went for the THE BOOKIE’S SANDWICH – 150g scotch fillet steak, with onion, tomato Lettuce, mustard mayo & fries

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You just can’t go by a good honest steak sandwich. It was just what I felt like.
The steak was cooked well and the onions and mayo… just yum!
The dining room could do with a bit of refurbishment as a lot of it was looking a bit old and dated.
It was also just a little disappointing that they were so friendly when trying to get us in, but less so when we were actually in there. But, again, you get what you pay for and we couldn’t fault the food.

fullsizerender10After lunch we continued walking and found ourselves walking past Northern Territory’s Living Marine Educational Discovery Centre where outside the building it’s advertised as being Darwin’s most interesting attraction with a quality coffee shop.

I didn’t take a picture of the Quality Coffee shop sign OR the Coffee shop itself… which is really too bad. I can vouch for it though because I saw a percolator on the counter.

Eventually we walked back to our room, changed into our bathers and spent a good hour in the hotel pool along with a couple of other guests.What a nice way to cool down!

We decided to visit Sky City Casino for dinner so after a bit of a nap  refreshing ourselves in our room, we walked to the Casino.


There are a few restaurants to choose from but hubby couldn’t go past the buffet.
We walked in and asked if we could look at the food before deciding if we’d eat here. Is that weird? The server kind of looked at us strangely so I guess she hasn’t been asked that question before!


We saw SO MUCH seafood! We don’t even really eat seafood but we saw enough to know that this was the place for us.

What we did eat was so very tasty! It was really hard to slow down and enjoy but we forced ourselves because we wanted to try a little bit of everything.
My favourite was probably the special fried rice.
They topped up the food regularly and ensured everything we were having was fresh.
The views from the restaurant were quite pretty too!

Unfortunately, where our table was located, we were not able to enjoy the view with our dinner.

What we did have however, was a birds eye view of the dessert table, complete with a chocolate fountain!

It definitely was a hit with the children!
What I loved about the desserts was that they were all small serves so we got a few things between us to share.
They also had a bread and butter pudding. One diner lamented the absence of custard to go with it “How can they have a bread and butter pudding without custard???” she exclaimed to me.
I just shrugged. There was cream and ice cream so that was good enough for me.

We finished off the night with a bit of luck at the Black Jack table. Hubby doesn’t do that often and I’m always nervous when he does but it usually works in his favour.

I don’t have a full day’s worth to make a “Day Three” post but it was pretty funny to see our taxi driver flirt shamelessly  with hubby on the way to the airport. It was like I wasn’t in the car at all!! I’m half expecting a facebook friend request to come through for hubby from the taxi driver… I mean there’s friendly and friendly….

I also have lots to tell you about the Qantas Club lounge that we were lucky enough to use. Qantas club, Business class tickets… I could get used to this life!!

So we survived a couple of days in Darwin during the wet season.
Have you been there?
What your experience been like? I’d love to know!!

Spoon You Fork Me/The Dining Diaries will be returning in the regular format from Monday the 16th of January.

Thanks for reading!