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A runner with an appetite for adventure!

From the Sky to the Sea! November 8, 2010

Filed under: Dubai — Kelocity @ 3:00 pm
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Originally from 10/26/2010…

Today, we took the metro to the Dubai Mall. This is the largest mall in the world. It is huge and inside, they have an amusement park, aquarium, ice skating rink, stores, restaurants and more!
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Here’s the ice skating rink, right next to the food court, no big deal. haha My favorite part is the Zamboni cleaning the ice. Smile
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Also attached to the Dubai Mall is the Burj Kahlifa. This is the tallest building in the world. The tallest man made structure ever built.
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On the 124th floor, they have an outdoor observation deck so you can observe Dubai from above. You need a reservation, and we made us for early morning. The elevator that takes you to the top goes up three floors per second! Only 1 minute to get to the top!
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There are SO many huge buildings in Dubai that you kind of lose perspective on how high up we really were.

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It looks sandy and smoky because of all the desert sands in the air. It was quite hazy from the top.
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Then we had lunch in the food court. I found some awesome arabic food. I love how available this good food is here! Don’t let anyone tell you Dubai is expensive. We found everything to be pretty reasonable.
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After we came back down, we went to check out the aquarium in the middle of the mall.
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We were joking that Dubai always has to have the biggest, the oldest, the first, etc in everything they do. The aquarium is no different. This is the world’s largest single piece of acrylic used for the tank wall.
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There are so many different fish inside, including SHARKS!
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Even though you can see the tank from inside the mall, we bought a ticket to get a closer look at the other tanks inside.
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We found Nemo!
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And like little kids, we had to climb on all the fun rope bridges!
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They even had penguins! And it actually snows inside their tank!
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In the middle of the tank, there is a cage where you can pay to snorkel…inside the aquarium…inside the mall! (think about that… snorkeling in an aquarium? You can’t do that in the states. lol)
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So…when in Rome… Irving opted to try it!
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He’s braver than me. I’m very afraid of swimming with fish, so I waited outside the tank… in front of Chili’s Restaurant. hahaha. this place is so weird!
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It was hilarious watching Irving swim around in a giant fish tank.
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There were all kinds of tourists around me saying “is there someone swimming in the fish tank?” And I was laughing saying “that’s my husband!”
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We brought the underwater housing for my camera and he took it in the tank with him.

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A very cool experience indeed.

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After our morning in the mall, we headed out on a desert safari! There are so many companies that do the same type of tour, but we chose to go with Big Bus Tours, since we had a good experience with them earlier in the week. Our driver was an Iraqi who grew up in Basra, Iraq. He was very nice, and we had a great time.

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First, they take you an hour out into the dessert by SUV, where there are great sand dunes. We were really close to Oman!

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And Irving fell asleep on the drive. (Remember I promised you I got a good picture of Irving sleeping?) haha BUSTED!
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Then the driver deflated the tires a little in the truck…
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And the Dune Bashing began!
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Inside, I was hanging onto dear life, but it was SO fun!
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You drive full speed up the dunes and then come crashing down on the other side.
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Every once in a while, they stopped so we could take pictures of the Arabian sands.

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The sun was setting, so our pictures came out really good. The perfect amount of sun.

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The sand was so red and so soft. Exactly what you’d imagine!
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One one dune, we looked over, and there was a caravan of camels walking through!
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At one of the stops, our driver gave us some water. Look how they package it! It’s like a jello cup!
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As the sun was setting, Irving snapped one of favorite pictures of the whole trip. We call it “Kelley Jumping off a Dune at Sunset”. Winking smile
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This was the perfect Arabian Night!
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After the sun went down, we pulled into a fort in the dessert.
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They had all kinds of fun things to do (all included in the tour). Irving rode a camel for the first time!
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And I got a henna tattoo!
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Then they had some traditional Arab clothes you could dress up in.
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Meet Mr. and Mrs. Ali Babwa…

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They also had a real falcon you could hold!
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Before our dinner was served, we relaxed with the Sheesha Pipes. Just a little bit of the apple flavor.
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Dinner was served buffet style, and we sat on cushions on rugs on the sand. The food was really good, and the bread was being baked right in front of us!
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The night culminated with a great Belly Dancing show!
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On our way back to Dubai, the drivers were having a little playful fun passing each other and playing with their headlights. We even went over some dunes in the pitch dark without our lights on… that was scary. haha There really aren’t any driving rules it seemed. They pull off into the Dunes wherever they want and then come back onto the highway. It was a fantastic experience, and definitely a highlight of our trip.

 

Dubai by Bus…twice!

Filed under: Dubai — Kelocity @ 8:00 am
Tags: , , ,

Originally, this was 10-25-10.

For our first full day in Dubai, we opted for a hop-on/hop-off bus tour to show us around the city. We chose Big Bus Tours, which we highly recommend.

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They took us to all the major sights and it was extremely organized and easy to use.

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We were happy to be on the bus because it takes all the pressure out of finding your way to the tourist sights.
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Everything is in English, but the Arabic was still a little overwhelming at first.
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The first stop we got off at was the Dubai Museum.
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It was really well done. It was a nice glimpse into how life in Dubai used to be.
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From here, we joined a walking tour (included in our Big Bus Tour ticket price). It was a great way to explore the souks without getting lost.

This is the Grand Mosque. You can’t go inside unless you are Muslim, but it looked really pretty.
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And right down the street is the Iranian Mosque. It was so pretty.
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Walking through the old Souks, you could see what life was like in the desert prior to modern air conditioning. They used Wind Tunnels to capture the breeze and draw the cooler air inside.
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Then we jumped on an Abra (a small boat) across the Dubai Creek.
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On the other side, we walked the spice souk. So many amazing smells and herbs. I bought some Arabian Tea, it smelled delicious.
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After that, we also walked through the Gold Souk and the Textile Souk.

Against the modern skyline of Dubai, you can still see the old way of life. Along the creek, they still import and export goods to India, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. On 100+ year old boats, they transport refrigerators, appliances, food, and other goods.
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Apparently, this is the world’s highest flag pole!
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This is the Jumeirah Mosque. It was gorgeous from the outside. This is the only Mosque that non-muslims can enter in Duabi, but we didn’t have the appropriate clothing to go inside. We’ll have to save that for next trip to Dubai. Smile
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Then the tour took us along the gulf coast. You could see the water and it was really pretty.
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Our next stop was the Madinat Jumeirah (a really nice beach-side resort).IMG_0515

Inside is a really nice souk, but the views outside were the highlight. It’s really close to the Burj Al Arab, which was perfect for some photos before the bus came by to pick us up again.
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Then drove up the Palm Jumerirah to see the Atlantis Hotel. This is famous because the islands were created to look like a giant palm tree. Atlantis is on the crescent of the palm tree at the top. (More on Atlantis later!)
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As the sun was setting, we had some fantastic views of the Arabian Gulf.
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One thing we LOVED about Dubai was how large the skyline is. There are multiple ‘downtowns’ and each is divided into mini cities. This one is Media City.
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Then we headed back to where we started the tour. Along the way, we got a good glimpse at the Burj Khalifa (the world’s tallest building). More on that later too!
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Then we grabbed some Dunkin Donuts for an afternoon pick-me-up! (Can you believe they have Dunkin Donuts in Dubai and not in Los Angeles?!)

After this, we headed to our Big Bus Night Tour. This was different because the day tour is a pre-recorded audio guide, but the Night Tour has a real person giving commentary and sharing stories along the way.
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It was a long day (there may or may not have been a half hour nap on the bus during the tour)….

ok… there most definitely WAS a nap on the bus (but don’t worry, I got Irving back good for taking this picture!)
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We stayed in the CityMax Al Barsha hotel and we highly recommend it. It was really close to the Mall of the Emirates and Ski Dubai.
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It was clean, convenient, reasonably priced, new and friendly.
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It goes without saying that we legitimately passed out that night. The 11 hour time change from LA was catching up to us!

Stay tuned for day 3!

 

Cairo Time August 28, 2010

Filed under: Cairo,Dubai,Movies — Kelocity @ 11:13 am
Tags: , ,

Irving and I are planning a vacation to Cairo and Dubai! We are getting really, really excited but still a little unsure of what to expect.

Yesterday, we went to a cute little indie movie theater in Pasadena to see the film Cairo Time.

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It was a little slow and predictable, but it was really a beautiful film. It was so simple, yet deep and passionate and I totally let myself fall inside. The film made Cairo feel romantic and exciting! So foreign and rustic, yet comfortable and real. In parts, it looked like any other European city. Irving and I giggled through parts because we just can’t believe we’re going!

The fashion in the film was just incredible. I think we were both blown away at the beauty of the clothes. They were soft and flowing against the grainy-ness of the Egyptian dessert.

I was in love with this dress:
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And Irving agreed that this guy’s suit was the most amazing suit we’ve ever seen…

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And there’s one scene with an arabic wedding and the girl’s wedding dress was just GORGEOUS! I know nothing about fashion, but I know a good dress when I see one. 🙂

[note to self: get pretty clothes for our trip to the middle east!]

Needless to say, after the movie, our minds were spinning with excitement. We headed straight for a travel bookstore to do some more research!
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Can’t wait!

 

 
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