Thursday, August 26, 2010


I thought about coming up with a clever title to this post but then I decided Dubai is pretty interesting all by itself. In a recent post I mentioned we had taken a trip there one February and I said I would write about it one day. Today's the day. Lucky you. Oh, and its long and photo heavy because hey, it's Dubai.

Dubai is not a place I ever imagined I'd visit. Or want to visit. In fact, its entirely possible that when we began making plans with friends to spend a February school break there I might have had to look at a map to see exactly where Dubai is located. I'll save you a trip to wiki and tell you that Dubai is situated on the Persian Gulf coast of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It is bordered by Abu Dhabi and Oman. Course I didn't know where those countries were located either so whatever. I did know that even though Dubai is plopped down in the Arabian Desert it has wonderful beaches and I'm all about a great beach, especially in mid February. Keep in mind we were all coming from England where the weather in February leaves a little something to be desired.

Our trip to Dubai was also our first family vacation with one child absent. Daughter1 was in her first year of university and daughter2 missed her a lot. We took this trip with several other families from our school so there were 6 or 7 other teenagers traveling with us which made it more fun for Daughter2. And maybe caused Daughter1 to turn green with envy and say, "No fair going to Dubai without me!!!"

Most long haul British Airways flights have tv monitors in the seat backs so you can view the map as you fly. At one point hubs nudged me and said, "Hey look, we're flying right over Iran now" but I plugged my ears and sang lalala and prayed the pilot was not asleep at the wheel.

Dubai is unlike anywhere else I've ever been and I'm not sure my description is going to do it justice. Our hotel was absolutely beautiful and was known for its amazing service. Upon stepping outside for the first time we saw lovely gardens and the gorgeous Arabian Gulf sitting right there in front of us...

A beautiful beach complete with a camel or two...

Then we turned around and saw this...

Seriously, it was like Manhattan was being constructed right before our eyes.
The amount of building that was occurring at that time was staggering although I hear things are not quite so rosy there now.
You couldn't help but wonder how in the world they had enough people to fill all those buildings.

We had the most wonderful week.
We planted ourselves on the beach and laughed and talked and had serious discussions too, about the lives of women who must wear a burqa even while riding on a banana boat.

There was more than a little of this...

There was also some beach volleyball...

and some
soccer futbol...

and some forgot their fear of heights for a minute...

and para sailed over this crazy beach/sea/city.

Like any beach trip, there was much digging and sand castle building...
hubs is like the Pied Piper and he had fun with all the kids on this trip.

We shopped in the Gold Souk,
ate wonderful meals,
one family even visited the indoor ski resort because
why not snow ski when you're in the desert?

One member of our group organized a catamaran tour for all of us around the coast which was a lot of fun.

He had been in a business meeting that morning and joined us by speed boat partway thru the trip.
It was a total James Bond moment.
No, he is not a spy.

Everywhere you go you can see the Burg Al Arab hotel, supposedly the only 7 star hotel in the world.

No, we did not stay there.
And yes, it does look like a ginormous cross sitting in the middle of the UAE.
In fact we were told they changed the lighting after it was built because at night that is particularly obvious.
And completely accidental.
But its an interesting accident don't you think?

One day we took the
dads kids to Dubai's famous water park known as Wild Wadi.

We felt like the park creators must have made a trip or two to Disney because it had a similar feel...beautiful and clean and cleverly designed.

Hubs, along with another dad and that dad's son, spent a big chunk of their days getting their Scuba certification which is something my hubs has always wanted to do.

He is part fish so he loved this.

One evening most of the group trekked out to the desert for a 'desert adventure'...

This involved a jeep ride across mucho sand...

camels and henna and dinner...

and a pretty amazing sunset sky.

This post is all over the place but that's what happens when you don't have a blog to record memories as they are made.
I'm glad I've put it here now though.
Because it was worth remembering.

Partly because of the location...

but mostly...

because of the people with whom it was shared...


  1. WELL.... Daughter 1 is still very much green with envy.

  2. Hmmm. Now that would not be on my list of places to go to either but now . . . maybe I'll add it.
    The Hubby thanks you. Ha

  3. Joyce,

    WOW! What a wonderful place to see and completely immerse yourself in everything it has to offer. Not something you would think about when you hear Dubai! I absolutely loved my virtual vacation today. Thank you for sharing these wonderful pictures and memories.

    Love and Hugs ~ Kat

  4. Looks gorgeous! My best friend's son & DIL just moved there for a year's committment to teach school. How cool is that?

  5. Thanks for sharing! It looks absolutely beautiful!

  6. What a great vacation!! Thanks for the pictures.

  7. What great memories! Thanks for sharing with us.

  8. Is it too late for you to adopt me? Yes, I know I'm older than your daughters, but I'd promise not to be too much trouble. ;) Seriously, your family has such wonderful adventures. This was a beautiful vacation.

    The camel + sand + city pic... If I didn't know better, I'd say it had been edited. :)

  9. Wow Joyce, what an amazing vacation!! I don't think anyone could top that one. How beautiful and such an interesting place. I loved all your pictures. What great memories! Thanks for posting about this beautiful location. Love & blessings from NC!

  10. It does look amazing! My husband traveled there once and he said the cleanliness of the city was fantastic. He enjoyed it very much, especially as we were living in Uganda at the time. All that luxury was a great contrast to a third world country!

  11. So, was everyone else in a burqa while y'all were frolicking in your swimsuits? Was that weird? \

    And, seriously, GORGEOUS!!!

  12. This is a destination I never would've thought of. You make the entire trip look so . . . comfortable. CAMELS ON THE BEACH! How cool is that! And the architecture!
    This is just an amazing post. Love, love the photos! Now if I ever fly over Iran, I will think of you . . . :) humming the entire way.
    :) Karen

  13. Dubai is not high on my list of places to visit, but your pictures make it look more fun and less "futuristic" than some of the professional travel pictures I've seen. This was one of the trips offered by the Arkansas Alumni Assn. this year. We opted for a Mediterranean cruise that will take us to Turkey, Croatia, Greece, etc. instead. I just love seeing all of the old stuff.

  14. I would have never thought it would be so beautiful. Wow, it looks awesome. Sounds like you had a wonderful time. The pictures are all so beautiful. Thank you for sharing your trip with me.

  15. How beautiful! Thanks for sharing! Your pictures are beautiful! What memories you have with all your travels! That is so cool!
    until next time... nel