A runner with an appetite for adventure!

The Marina to the Creek November 9, 2010

Filed under: Dubai — Kelocity @ 2:00 pm
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Originally 10/28/2010…

We started the day with breakfast inside the Mall of the Emirates. There’s a coffee shop called ‘Costa’ and they had Zartar Croissants!!!!!! Guys… Zartar Croissants. This pretty much was worth the entire trip to the UAE. (Anyone who doesn’t know what Zartar is doesn’t know what they are missing!)

First, we headed by Metro to the Dubai Marina. This is an up and coming area with lots of construction and high rises. But it was still really pretty.

We met a nice Iranian man who was a contractor on some of the buildings there and he gave us a nice history of the area. We noticed there were very few Americans or Aussies in Dubai, mostly British and Italians. When people found out we were from the States, they asked us a million questions. They were just curious about our life and our culture. That was different from most other places we’ve seen.

Then we took the metro to the Deira area (near the Dubai Creek). We took an Abra (small boat) across the river. It was 1 UAE dollar (which is about 30 cents) to get across.

Once on the other side, we walked to the Al Maktoum House. It was a nice walk along the creek, but it was scorching outside. This was our hottest day yet in Dubai. maybe 90 degrees with high humidity.

The Maktoum family ruled Dubai for many years, and this was one of his estates.

Those sticks at the top were the wind tunnels that allowed the cool breezes to come inside during the summer months.

Then we walked back along the water to a small cruise port for a tour of the creek.

It was stunning to see old Dubai being overshadowed by all the new skyscrapers.


Docked up the creek is the Queen Mary 2 cruiseship. Dubai bought it and is in the process of turning it into a floating hotel.

For dinner, we went to the grocery store inside the mall. It was fun to walk around and see what they have and how the locals eat.

Here’s what we got:

We got:

-Pasta Salad
-Stuffed Peppers with feta
-White Rice
-Indian Butter Chicken
-4 bottles of water
-Pita Bread
-Fruit Salad
-A Vegetable Samosa
-Garlic Cream
-Zartar Bread

…..For a total of $10.27 (US Dollars)
ISN’T THAT INSANE! Who says Dubai is expensive?!

Then we headed back to the Dubai mall (world’s largest).

We were there to see the Burj Khalifa at night.

Our tickets to go to the top weren’t until 9pm, so we stayed down below and watched the water displays while we waited.

The show is similar to the one at the Bellagio in Vegas, only bigger (Dubai wouldn’t have it any other way. lol)

Then we went to the 124th floor again to observe the city from the sky.

We weren’t sure if it would be a waste to go up the tower twice, but the views were just stunning. It’s a very photogenic city.

And bonus: We got to watch the water show again from the top!

It  didn’t feel like we did too much today, but we were just exhausted when we got back to the hotel. The heat coupled with all of our walking definitely wore us out.

Til tomorrow!


The Lost World of Atlantis!

Filed under: Dubai — Kelocity @ 8:00 am
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Originally 10/27/2010…

We dedicated a full day to the Aquaventure Waterpark at Atlantis. I had been to Atlantis in the Bahamas and I knew we would both love to do it together. Atlantis Dubai is on the tip of the ‘Palm Island’ (the manmade islands shaped like a palm tree).

Irving was the Ultimate Tourist. HAHA

On the other side of Atlantis is the Arabian Gulf (or Persian Gulf). It was really pretty.


We arrived three full hours before the park opened. We thought that we could walk around the grounds and take pictures, but this wasn’t really the case. We had to beg our way into the hotel so we didn’t have to wait outside. We passed the time looking at the giant aquarium inside.






We also finagled our way into the hotel lobby (which is supposed to be for hotel guests only).

There was a gorgeous Chuli sculpture in the middle. I think the Bahamas Atlantis had one as well.
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We still had a couple of hours to kill, so we had a leisurely breakfast in a café overlooking the hotel pools.

Finally it was time to buy our wristbands and get into the park! The bands have a computer chip in them that you connect to your credit card and you can use it to unlock the lockers, and buy food and drinks. cool, huh?

Our first stop was the beautiful white beaches along the gulf.

I remember learning about “The Gulf” in school, and it was so cool to actually be there and put your toes in the water. Or jump right in!

You can see the Dubai skyline from the beach. Just gorgeous.The land in the foreground is one of the ‘palm island’ leaves.

Then we headed to Aquaventure.

We started out on the lazy river to get a lay of the land. It takes you around the park on an innertube.

The coolest part about Atlantis are the Water Coasters. They are actual waterslides but they have jet propulsion that shoot you down AND up like a waterslide! And you don’t ever have to get out of your tube to get to the top. There is a conveyor belt that takes you up automatically!



After doing a few coasters, we had lunch… mmm burgers!

Then it was time for Irving to try the leap of faith!! This is a huge freefall slide that ends inside a shark tank (protected by acrylic). It was made popular in a season of “The Amazing Race”. A girl was too afraid to go down and it they got eliminated because of it! I did the slide in the Bahamas, but I was too chicken to go down again here. Irving was brave and went straight down!

A closer look:

Then we did a little more of the lazy river, this time we tried the rapids!

We did a few more slides and then ended the day swimming again in the Gulf. Behind Irving is the famous Burj Hotel (the world’s only 7-star hotel…the one Tiger Woods hit the golf ball off of).

As the sun set, we could see the Burj Khalifa in the background. the sun was hitting the windows and all you could see was the sun’s reflection!

After that, we spent an hour or so in the “Lost Chambers”. This is the aquarium in Atlantis that is set up like a giant ship wreck. They have a decent collection of strange fish.

These guys were HUGE! Almost as big as me!

By the end, we were fried and headed back to our hotel. Another fabulous day in Dubai.


From the Sky to the Sea! November 8, 2010

Filed under: Dubai — Kelocity @ 3:00 pm
Tags: , , ,

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!

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

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.

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!

There are SO many huge buildings in Dubai that you kind of lose perspective on how high up we really were.


It looks sandy and smoky because of all the desert sands in the air. It was quite hazy from the top.


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.

After we came back down, we went to check out the aquarium in the middle of the mall.

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.

There are so many different fish inside, including SHARKS!

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.

We found Nemo!

And like little kids, we had to climb on all the fun rope bridges!


They even had penguins! And it actually snows inside their tank!

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)

So…when in Rome… Irving opted to try it!

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!

It was hilarious watching Irving swim around in a giant fish tank.


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!”

We brought the underwater housing for my camera and he took it in the tank with him.



A very cool experience indeed.


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.


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


And Irving fell asleep on the drive. (Remember I promised you I got a good picture of Irving sleeping?) haha BUSTED!

Then the driver deflated the tires a little in the truck…

And the Dune Bashing began!

Inside, I was hanging onto dear life, but it was SO fun!


You drive full speed up the dunes and then come crashing down on the other side.

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!

One one dune, we looked over, and there was a caravan of camels walking through!



At one of the stops, our driver gave us some water. Look how they package it! It’s like a jello cup!


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

This was the perfect Arabian Night!

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!

The night culminated with a great Belly Dancing show!

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.


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


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.

The first stop we got off at was the Dubai Museum.

It was really well done. It was a nice glimpse into how life in Dubai used to be.

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.

And right down the street is the Iranian Mosque. It was so pretty.

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.

Then we jumped on an Abra (a small boat) across the Dubai Creek.



On the other side, we walked the spice souk. So many amazing smells and herbs. I bought some Arabian Tea, it smelled delicious.

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.

Apparently, this is the world’s highest flag pole!

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

Then the tour took us along the gulf coast. You could see the water and it was really pretty.

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!)

As the sun was setting, we had some fantastic views of the Arabian Gulf.

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.

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!

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.

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!)

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.

It was clean, convenient, reasonably priced, new and friendly.

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
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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.


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…


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!

Can’t wait!


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