Sorry for the delay… this is the first time I haven’t had a chance to write a post for a week. We arrived back in Shanghai Friday afternoon and I was back to work on Monday. This year we have had more training sessions so there is less time in our rooms and more time in meetings. I have been staying a late to do things, so by the time I would get home and eat I would be too tired to write.
We landed about half hour early on Friday and were one of the first 4/5 people off the plane. We flew through customs and our luggage came out rather fast as well. In 40 minutes we were outside. We decided to jump in a cab to make it easier to handle the luggage. We missed rush hour, had a new larger taxi and he drove fast. We were home in record time.
We had gone through Dubai and didn’t sleep too much over 2 days since we had a 13 hour leg to Dubai and 8 hours to Shanghai, not to mention to out 8.5-9 hours in Dubai, so we went to bed early and attempted to get back on this time zone.
Dubai was a quick tour around for about 3 hours. We were given our visa, hotel and food voucher by the airline, what a nice bonus! We did all the steps at the airport for the visa, some handing in of paper work and an eye scan. Then through customs and to the hotel. We had arrived a bit early in Dubai and it was dusk when we left the airport. Too bad because we didn’t get to see things in the light then the skyline in the dark. It got dark about 7PM. We drove to the hotel and checked in where we dropped our carry on luggage and then hired a car to take us around.
Dubai was HOT and humid. I knew it would be hot, but I didn’t expect the humidity. It was now dark and it was still unbearably hot. I think around 36-38*c, which didn’t factor in the humidity. Within minutes you felt like a wet dish rag. Our driver said it was even hotter the few days previous… in the 50’s, so the drivers sat in their cars with the AC blasting and would wait until people came by before getting out and attempting to get a hire.
Dubai is very much like Shanghai, a city under construction. There is lots of building and probably more so than in Shanghai. I was somewhat disappointed since all we could see was construction and not the fantastic skyline filled with unusual buildings that Dubai is known for. As we drove to the main touristy parts of Dubai there were lots of ‘strip type malls’ along the highway, very similar to the shops that you can see along the QEW in Stoney Creek to Hamilton and other parts of Toronto. The shops were mainly car shops selling BMW to Porsche to more everyday cars. There were also shops with boats and motorcycles.
Our driver winded through the streets and brought us to the largest mall in the world. In side there was a skating rink, fantastic fountain show and an aquarium that has the largest piece of acrylic glass in the world. Of course there were shops galore that sold fancy jewelry, clothes, and name brands we would recognize from home. I also noticed lots of pastry and sweet shops. We didn’t go into any of the shops since we wanted to make it to the fountain show which was quite a hike from where the parking area was and only twice an hour. Along the way we stopped to see the skating rink, which was pretty large. I had heard of the mall that also houses a ski hill, but that was at another location.
We also stopped to see the undersea aquarium that was filled with fish, small sharks and manta rays. This side faced the mall and people were crowded around and mesmerized by the calm and relaxing dance of the fish. If we had more time you could pay to go inside the aquarium and see more.
From there we continued our trek off to the outdoor fountain show. For 3-4 minutes water patterns danced to music and light. Water swirled, waved, shot up and down to music as lights flashed on and off. It was a large outdoor fountain that looked more like a small lake. From here we could also see the tallest building in the world, the Burj Kalifia which was right beside the mall. Again it was a shame it was dark so we could see more of the building and appreciate how tall it was.
When the water show was complete we made our way to the Burj hotel, the hotel that looks like a sail. It is the world’s only 7 star hotel! Inside it is supposed to be very visually interesting with colour, patterns and shapes, but only guests are allowed inside. Rooms can be $1000 a night or more, so this trip we had to pass 😉 Beside the Burj hotel was a really cool water park called Wild Wadi (they went there on the Amazing Race). It was after hours and the time for the women, who usually wear the Abaya, a long black flowing garment worn over clothing and head scarf. This time is for women so they are given freedom to go uncovered and allowed to swim, so no men, tourists or photographs were allowed. We got out of the SUV and immediately our glasses steamed up so it was impossible to see. We were in a parking area, so we made our way to the sidewalk until we could see and a guard quickly came over asked us to leave and not to take pictures. We were given a few minutes to take a few shots of the hotel before getting back into the air conditioned comfort.
Dubai has the man-made Palm and World, made from reclaimed land into the sea, and again the darkness did not allow us to see these incredible designs. It would have been cool to also see the desert and do one of the jeep rides through the sand dunes. Darkness again was our enemy. Another time we will have to extend our stay for a day or two to be able to explore all the treasures that Dubai holds.
Stay tuned for our travel adventures and more from Shanghai…