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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Dubai saga - Part II

After the Day 2 full of activity in Al Ain, we continued the weekend (Fri/Sat for them) with a visit to Abu Dhabi. But before that, here's a view of our hotel - Arabian Dreams which was a Club Mahindra property. We were very happy with our experience there, the room provides a full kitchenette and not just the usual water heater you see in most places. There was even a washing machine which was very convenient for a longish trip like ours.

Day 3 was a whirlwind of sightseeing trying to take in a place full of character as much as we could in a day :). Here are some glimpses of what we saw:
Checked out the F1 circuit

The gorgeous colours of the sea on our way

Checked out the opulence of the Emirates Palace Hotel

Yes.. of the bathrooms there as well ;)

Amazing view

And the highlight of the trip, the Mosque at Abu Dhabi

Day 4 morning was spent in Deira City Centre, the urgency of the trip being that I had my heart set on picking up slippers from Birkenstock which are not available in India. Thanks to a kind friend (whom I got to know through FB!) who gave me pointers on where to go and even came along on that day, I was shortly after the proud owner of a pair. For the afternoon, we planned to visit the Global Village which is a setup on a large ground provided for exhibitions. It is unlike anything I had ever seen before - each country puts up their pavilion with stalls and shops of the goods sold in that country. India had the biggest display and lots of lovely goods from Kashmir and a few other states. A couple of clicks, one of a quirky auto from the India pavilion, and another of some lovely blue glazed pottery that caught my eye at one of the other stalls.

Remaining of the trip in a nutshell and mainly in photos, coming up soon :)

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Our Dubai Holiday - I

Those of you who've been reading my blog would already know that my holiday posts are always a "bit" long and have to be broken up into parts. Well, I will definitely have a lot to say about this one in Dubai, as it was a really really memorable one :)

The planning was actually quite impromptu, compared to my usual obsessing over destinations. I try to book the Club Mahindra holidays in advance so as I was looking over their website thinking about Rajasthan in October, I realized that they now have a functional resort in Dubai as well! This being one of those places where we always knew we wanted to go at some point, I thought I would just go ahead and book and think about it later ;). Turns out, October was a good time of the year for Dubai and we just went ahead with booking the plane tickets soon after.

With advice from relatives who suggested to factor in a couple of weekends when they would be free as well, we even rebooked the dates from 10th to 20th (advantage of booking early, we could cancel and rebook without trouble). As luck would have it, that week turned out to be the week of Bakrid and everyone had loads of holidays there.

Note: We found later that there is a significant difference in price when booking an Emirates flight from Bangalore Vs. Chennai, so do note for those who will be planning a trip in the future!

Day 1 we got picked up from the airport by an aunt and uncle of my hubby's and went to the Club Mahindra hotel - a place called Arabian Dreams which pleasantly surpassed our expectations. As we had taken a morning flight, we were not all that tired or jet lagged and decided to start sightseeing bright and early at the Dubai museum. The place is great for learning the history of Dubai and about the local craftsmen and businesses in the early years.

That's a model not an actual one :)
The evening of our first day was to start off our (enforced?) habit of long walks, though on this day it was completely by accident. As we were still new, we walked around in circles a bit and even places that were close by seemed to take forever. Picked up a light meal at one of the malls and then walked back to the hotel.

Day 2 was spent at Al Ain, which is in Abu Dhabi, that is another Emirate of the U.A.E. We visited the hot springs at Green Mubazzara (and these were HOT not warm, I literally couldn't keep my foot in for more than a few seconds though D was most comfortable walking around - a mystery to me!). Here we also stopped at a date tree laden with dates and even plucked a few. This is not usually the season for them, so this was not a normal sight on our visit.

This was followed by lunch at the picturesque Jebel Hafeet. The day was rounded off with the afternoon spent at the Al Ain Zoo. We managed to put in so much road travel so soon after we reached Dubai, thanks to hubby's kind relatives - the earlier mentioned aunt and uncle - who were pretty much our tour guides in Dubai. They took us around themselves to a whole lot of places, and even when not with us gave us all the info we needed. Add to this, a few other friends and relatives whom we spent time with, and the combination of touristy stuff with the home ambience thrown in just made for a wonderful holiday.

The captivating budgerigars