We reached our house in Dubai and were greeted by Fe who 'runs' the home for the owners whilst they travel, and their kitten 'cheeky' Jasmine!
Dubai is best described as a cross between Singapore, with it's gleaming new towering sky scrapers and at times unbearable heat and America, with sweeping wide 6 lane highways, huge strip malls and massive hotels lining the roads.
The feats of engineering are outrageously impressive, the Burj Khalifa, The Burj Al arab, and the Cayan Tower, are to name but just a few, the Palm Island is also a man made marvel!
We then got very lucky indeed, we headed over to the Dubai Mall, where the famous aquarium is housed inside, and were stopped by the staff of an open top bus tour company, who were obviously trying to get us onto their trip.
"Sir, come take the bus tour"
"Not today thank you, we are just going into see the aquarium, but I will take a brochure please"
"Yes brochures generally are"
"The bus sir, is free"
"Three? 300 hundred Dirhams? What per person, what about kids, how much are they?"
"Its free sir"
"kids are free?"
"All are free"
"Wait, wait, wait, stop, free, as in free? As in, all 6 of us get on that bus and I give you zero cash"
"Yes sir, it's free"
"What time do you leave?"
"Back in a jiffy!"
We dashed in to see the oversized fish in the oversized fish tank, scratched our heads as to why people were paying loads of money to go inside the aquarium when you could see most of it standing in the mall, then got straight back outside to our free bus tour.
They welcomed us on board with smiles and hi fives, gave us headphones and set off for a tour of the whole city. The reason it was free was because they were a brand new company just starting out and were conducting trial runs for that weekend, right place, right time!
So far, on all of our travels, we have been lucky enough to catch up with friends and family in all but 3 of the countries we have visited, and Dubai was no exception to that list. We have old friends here that we met and worked with in Singapore years ago, it was great to catch up and talk about old times, again it was as if no time had passed at all and all the kids got on really well together, plus it was very handy to get some insider hints and tips on what to do and where to go in Dubai!
Our driver Zia picked us up at the house at 3.30pm and off we set to the desert, he pointed out places of interest along the way, such as sand, the horse racing track, sand, the cricket stadium, sand and some more sand.
We then met up with the other 100 (literally) or so Landcruisers and started speeding through the dunes. It was mental, great fun and extremely bumpy, the kids loved it, being thrown up and down all over the place as we swept over the peaks and down the other side.
You can only take about 20 minutes before you need to vomit though! So it was a quick stop for pictures and then back onto the hard top to get to our 'camp'.
At camp we were treated to camel rides, henna tattoos, belly dancing and a buffet all under the desert night sky that was illuminated by a full moon!
Soundtrack provided by Kardinal Offishal Feat Akon and 4 excited monkeys!
The first of which was the arrival of a Toyota Hilux with a rather unique and most special guest!
Thank you 'Cricus Conway', we all had a great day!
Luckily for us the park was relatively empty as schools still hadn’t broken up for half term, so we got to ride pretty much every slide, some 2 or 3 times! The twins had a whole area dedicated to their age group for them to explore and the lazy river rapids were seemingly endless! We spent all day here, from 10 am - 6pm and were suitably knackered afterwards, but fun was had by all. Sophia even braved the ‘Leap Of Faith’ and even wanted to try ‘Poseidon’s Revenge’ but was not allowed due to her not weighing above 45 kilo’s, she is definitely a dare devil!
Sadly we have no personal pictures, as all of our belongings were locked away in the locker for the day!
Somehow 2 weeks had suddenly passed us by and it was time for us to leave, which was sad as we had enjoyed catching up with old friends and slowly getting to know the city.