Monday, February 27, 2012


I've been busy baking cakes for the last two weeks.  I did one for Valentine's Day.

An another for a 'wecome back' party at Sharon and Serge's place for Jackie.

We had a great time at the party.  It was potluck and everyone brought something delicious.  Luckily for us, Sharon and Serge have seating for about 100 in their place so we could lounge around and eat to our heart's content.
Some of the group around the buffet table...yummy!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Dubai Tourist

This past weekend, I finally got to see Dubai in all its tacky glitz and gritty grime.  I took the "Big Red Bus" around so I could see what looked interesting and then jumped off to see the highlights.

My first stop was the tallest building in the world.  The Burj Khalifa has an observation deck on floor 124 but you need a reservation to go up.  I'll probably wait until someone comes to visit me before taking the longest elevator ride in the world. 

828 meters tall, 160 floors, 900 residences, 37 office floors, 4 floor fitness club and 3000 parking spaces.
Next was the Dubai Mall which is right next to the Burj, separated by a beautiful blue lake.  The mall is surrounded by outdoor restaurants so people can enjoy the views of the water and tower but the real insanity is inside.  The Mall is supposedly the largest in the world but there are some debates over how these malls are measured.  It has a flour space of 5.9 million square meters, 1200 shops, 160 restaurnts with seating for 3000, 200 jewelry shops in the Gold Souq, over 14,000 parking spaces and so much other stuff that I can't list it all. 

One of worlds largest fish tanks across from the candy store.  You can pay to walk through a glass tube in the center
or put on scuba gear and swim with the 33,000 fish (a few less if the sharks aren't fed on time). 

If ice-skating seems too tame, try racing cars on ice for a little more excitment.
 So, after finding the perfect lipstick in one of the many cosmetic shops, I was off to my next destination,  the Dubai creek.  It's still a working place with plenty of ships loading and unloading but I enjoyed a sunny walk along the corniche. 

I'm not sure that this side of the river has changed much in the last couple of decades.
But this side was awash with highrises and fancy buidlings.  Still, there were plenty of the
traditional Dhows floating around on the water.
After I walked along the creek, I hit the Dubai Museum which was surprisingly good.  It's built under a fort and takes you through the history of the area.  First, you walk through a traditional souq with little shops.  In the back of each shop is a video showing the traditional way in which the products were made.  As you go along, the environment changes to a desert, then a beach and so on....impressive.  As I was leaving, the tour buses pulled up and literally about a 1000 people went in so I felt pretty lucky to have been early.

I took a walking tour of the textile and old souq and then a ride across the creak on a little wooden boat called an abra and into the spice and gold souqs.  This was included in the Big Red Bus tour so I got to hear all about the area and see the biggest gold ring in the world; 63kilos.  We also got to see some of the older Mosques and Hindu temples in the city. 

I went out to the newer section of Dubai the next day and saw really some insane stuff.  The things that they are doing here are shocking in their engineering wonder and their abuse of the environment.  Dubai uses more water than any city in the world and has actually altered the coastline by over 800 kilometers.

The Burj Al Arab, one of the world's only 7 star hotels...with an underwater restaurant, heli-pad and
the fame of having Tiger Woods hitting golf balls off the top.

Jumeirah can't see it but about 4 kilometers off this beach is "The World", a collection of
man-made islands that can be bought for 10 million to 100 million a piece.  Branjolina have one apparently. 
It was really funny watch all the people holding their pant legs up and wading in the water
because it's pretty rare to put on a swim suit in a public area.
This is one of the plam fronds on Palm Island.  You couldn't pay me to live in this
place.  Its ugly and overcrowded with an expected 20,000 residents by the time they
finish.  The 'trunk' is apartment buildings stacked up against each other and then
houses packed in so tightly that there is no yard at all.  At the top of the island, at the end of the
crazy mono-rail is the waaaay overdone Atlantis hotel with dophins and masive gardens sucking
up millions of gallons of water a minute.
After all that beach stuff, how about a nice fireside hot chocolate next to Ski Dubai at
the Mall of the Emirates.
Can you see the luge run at the bottom of the ski hill?  The top is
out of sight but you can get the idea from this picture...crazy!!!
Anyways, it was a hectic weekend but I feel like I know the city well enough to get around now.  The metro is fast and convenient and there's plenty to do and see so I'm already thinking of going back before the weather heats up too much.

As a last note; friends and I bought tickets to see the Eagles up in Dubai for April.  The reviews for the show are great so I'm sure I'll enjoy that trip up to Dubai also.