Friday, 12 May 2017

Done and dusted...

So the main event was done and dusted in style and Matthew and Loren start their new lives together as Mr and Mrs Thomas - jetting off to the Seychelles on honeymoon on Monday.  We made it and now the sleepless nights worrying about getting Mum and Dad safely from Larnaca to Dubai will be replaced by one worrying about getting them back again having sampled the chaotic 'assistance' on the Cairo transit leg of our journey.  Still at least I know that it is chaotic and will keep my finger firmly on the pulse this time or at least try to do so.

I guess for those who stayed to the bitter end last night (or rather the early hours of this morning) it will have been a slow start but I was determined to get Mum and Dad to see a little more of Dubailalaland and so I had recce'd where the train station was yesterday and reckoned Dad could manage the walk if we left early enough before it got too hot.  Sadly most of the landmarks here charge for you to go in unless you have some sort of reservation so my plan was to get them on the overland train and monorail out across the Palm to view the magnificent Atlantis hotel and being up high to get a view from above.  This was do-able as the train/monorail was airconditioned and there was only a smallish amount of walking required.

Everyone here is so very polite and helpful that it was easy to sort out how the train system worked - it was on time and immaculately clean - in fact, a bit like Singapore, it is easier to list what you can do rather than what you can't!  You can buy a ticket, validate it, sit down and enjoy the ride, you cannot fare dodge, chew gum, put your shoes anywhere near the seats or otherwise act in an unseemly manner!

We negotiated the first part of our trip with ease - this was an overland train out to the edge of the Palm but the walk to the monorail was a bit strange taking us through the bowels of a carpark following neat little signs on the floor - strange as Dubai'ns dont walk anywhere apparently so I am guessing this little section is incomplete and at some point there will be some mode of transport to take you from where the train journey ends and the monorail begins.

When I had been to Dubai previously the Palm had not been constructed (from land reclaimed from the sea) and in my ignorance I had assumed that travelling up above I would be able to see a small exclusive development and pick out where the land ended and the sea began - WRONG - this is a massive construction - a city within a city and if you were living there I am not sure what would give it any feeling of exclusivity except the address.  Anyway at the far end overlooking 'Dolphin Bay' is the magnificent structure that is the Atlantis Hotel and our destination.

The best view of this hotel (except if you are lucky enough to be staying in it of course) is from the monorail.  It is so big that at ground level you cannot really appreciate the architecture, but we have seen it and it is amazing.  We disembarked from the monorail along with a million Japanese tourists who excitedly took photographs of just about anything and made our way to the edge and the view over Dolphin Bay (we didn't see any).

It was beginning to get very warm and with such a mass of concrete everywhere this just acted as a massive heater so we found a little kiosky type thing selling juices and water and got ourselves a drink before making the return trip along with another million excitable Japanese tourists with their cameras, phones and selfie sticks.

It had been a good idea to make this journey - thanks to Father John and Rosie for suggesting it and explaining where to go otherwise we might not have tackled the train system.  It certainly gave us a chance to get a different view of this crazy place.

I realised sitting at the station that this particular line had a stop further on from where we had caught it which was at the Dubai Marina Mall and I had walked there from our apartment yesterday.  Our tickets were valid for that stop and it would give Dad a chance to have a look at the marina and walk in relative shade if he was up to the 20 minute amble.  He said he was which was good, and so we stayed on the train until that stop and then slowly made our way back to our temporary home and a well earned rest before a final family get together later on.

I reckon we had been up and out and back before several of the wedding party had even surfaced!

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