Archive for June, 2008

The Family in Dubai – Part 1

June 30, 2008

It’s been a wonderful few days showing the family the sights of Dubai.

They flew in very early Wednesday morning (3 am) and we went straight to the apartment to try and get some sleep before the sun came up. The kids had trouble – it was 9 am their time – but the adults went to sleep OK!
Wednesday and Thursday are work days. I joined Albert and David in a local cafe at JBR with the family for breakfast on the first day. After, we headed back home and I left the crew to look after themselves with directions to the pool (up) and to Ibn Battuta Shopping Mall (cab). Eventually caught up with them in the shopping mall after work for dinner after I had done a bit of shopping for work for the next day.

Thursday they stayed on the shopping theme with a trip to Mall of the Emirates to see a movie and to generally ogle at the place. Finding them was much easier this time and we came home for a lovely home cooked meal.

Went quad bike riding and to Fujeirah on the day off on Friday to show them out of Dubai. Tim found the biking in the desert a bit hot and flaked it before his half hour had finished. It gets pretty hot out there on the baking sand with a helmet and sitting on top of a bike that is emitting lots of engine heat. We headed out to a dinner party on Friday night which was great to show them what a real Dubai villa looked like (rather than an apartment).

Saturday we spent going to the Jumeirah Mosque in the morning for a really interesting presentation on Islamic faith before heading on to Wafi City for more bling and back to a friend’s house in Jumeirah 1 for a chat and then a swim at the beach before heading home for delivered pizza beside the roof top pool.

Sunday I was back at work and the family had a cruisy morning watching a movie on the TV, spending time at the pool before heading through to Al Qasr to be gobsmacked and then heading next door to Madinat Jumeirah. I caught up with them by leaving work early and we did Wild Wadi (I was the only one game and stupid enough to try the thrill ride that goes a million miles an hour). I forgot to cross my legs which meant that the crown jewels took a pummelling but the kids really enjoyed the other water slides – mostly featuring jets that take you up the slide while you are sitting on a rubber ring. So Dubai – why walk up stairs when you can get the water to take you up!

Today, they are off on the Dubai Big Bus Tour seeing some sights along the creek and I will pick them up over there later tonight after work. Just found out that they are at the Burjuman so better head off to pick them up before they max out the credit card.

The Family will find it Hot!!

June 22, 2008

My period of irresponsibility and waywardness as a Dubai bachelor is about to come to a brief hiatus.  Lyn and the kids will be arriving this week to holiday over the school term break.  I’ll be taking some time off to go with them to visit Egypt for 6 days.

I’m sure that they will enjoy various parts of Dubai.  But unfortunately, the news from the Met Office is not what they want to hear.  We’ve had a respite from the really hot weather for the past couple of weeks with relatively balmy temperatures at a maximum of around 39 to 40 due to a strong wind known as the Shamal whipping up the dust from Sauid Arabia and Iran and leaving very hazy skies here with low visibility (down around 800 metres).  The dust is very fine and you don’t feel gritty or dirty. That dust and haze blocks the sun and lowers the environment to relatively manageable temperatures.  I went for a swim in the sea yesterday as the sun set (or would have set if I could see it through the haze) and the water was actually quite pleasant – not quite a Japanese bathhouse temperature!!  I took some photos of the very low visibility on the road to Abu Dhabi a week ago (which I left early because it was too windy and dusty!) but they are on my camera and I am having trouble connecting it to the USB port on the computer.  All the photos to date on this site have been taken with a mobile phone camera.

Today’s local rag says that temperatures are set to soar as visibility improves (which it already is doing).  The dust will lift and temperatures will rise to up to 47 degrees.  So sorry family, looks like lots of indoor activities over the next few days – but at least you will get to “see” the place.

My First Dubai Nightclub

June 21, 2008

Another weekend and I ticked off another lifer and Dubai experiences.  Headed west on Friday morning to Ghantoot to see if I could spot some birds at the Polo Club.  Managed to see some Greater Grey Shrikes and Little Bee-eaters looking very hot in the desert areas.  Did get to see some Coursers but they were about 150 metres away – thankfully I had the scope.

Helped out D in the afternoon with getting her Internet communications working properly before heading off for a birthday party at the Madinat.  Arrived a tad late for T’s birthday party at The Agency (only 3 hours!) and we later headed over to Jambase next door to see a live band, have a couple of beers and maybe do some dancing.  This was my first Dubai nightclub experience and well – it was about the same as all other nightclubs; loud music, a packed dance floor, boozy clientele and lots of people checking each other out.  Unfortunately, it was way too smoky for my liking – they don’t have the no smoking indoors as yet.  The smoke was just as bad at the Sportsman Bar at the Hilton that I went to the night before to see Germany beat Portugal (unfortunate result but great game with high skills throughout).

JamBase at Madinat Jumeirah

More Dubai Disneyland at Bawadi

June 17, 2008

Just when I think that this place cannot become any more grandiose, along comes another project.  On Saturday morning, the weather was relatively cool and the wind had not picked up as yet (raised dust) so I decided to head inland a way to near Bab Al Shams. 

Along the way, past Arabian Ranches (a plush residential suburb out in inland area), I came across the Bawadi developments.  Apparently, they are creating an enormous hotel complex themed according to 6 various areas (Wild West, Asia, Europe, Latino, etc).  Out there they have this enormous cudboard cut-out of the theme on the side of the road (about 50-60 metres wide).  Just to show you what it will look like when finished in a few years time.  This will be all part of the Dubailand experience – where people can stay and whoop it up (especially if they are in the Wild West part) before heading off to Dubailand for rides and additional entertainment.  Of course, one of the hotels is planned to be the biggest in the world (note not the tallest, just the biggest in numbers of people staying there).

And also on the way, they’ve built the road and the roundabouts, but the turnoff just ends in a sand dune – awaiting development of the various hotels.

I asked someone at work the other day when will all this stop, and they said that they have been asking that same question for the past 5 years but it just keeps going on and on!!

Humidity is Rising – A Warm Fog

June 15, 2008

Fog looking west towards JBR Fog looking back to JBR from the beach

I’ve seen that Melbourne has been hit by fog a few times recently, delaying planes and forcing some international flights to be diverted. I remember that chill in the air, the low sun trying to get through as the fog finally clear, particularly out in the eastern suburbs.

So around the same time, we had our own fog here in Dubai. Yes, it is a little cooler but it is also a herald of increasing humidity. I went for a walk and light run along the beach a couple of mornings this week to build up the fitness again after getting sick in Melbourne. (Medical check at the time – no more lingering cough – just a little every now and then, pretty well right at last!). And I even went to the gym this week one evening (my first gym experience for about 15 years!) – it is just too hot to exercise outdoors.

Back to the fog – here are a couple of pickies – it looks great how the low cloud moves around the buildings – and it was nice not to have the morning sun stream into my apartment in the morning for a change.

UPDATE:  I wrote the above a while ago and did not post it.  The weather for the past few days has been quite pleasant – much cooler, but fairly windy – particularly in Abu Dhabi on Friday morning – visibility on the road on the way back was very low at times.