Tuesday, 9 May 2017

UAE...

Our trip to Dubai was a big undertaking.  John had only returned from the UK on Wednesday afternoon and we had three weeks to catch up on and notes to handover (clearly I forgot the one about watering the plants in my absence!!).  I then left early afternoon to pick up Mum and Dad and make our way to Larnaca airport which is about a 2 hour drive if you take it steady and in the Peugeot that is easy - thank god for cruise control!

We had got flights via Cairo which had worked out much more reasonable - in fact the three of us could fly via Cairo for the price of one direct ticket.  Dad, not having flown for 6 years would get an fairly easy reintroduction as the first flight from Larnaca to Cairo was about 1 hour 15 minutes and then we had about 2 hours in Cairo airport in transit before the last leg to Dubai which would be another 3 hours 30 minutes.  I had organised assistance for the duration which, on the whole, worked well although I would have to say Larnaca were absolutely first class, Dubai a close second and Cairo airport needing to take some notes on how to make air travel smooth and stress free for those that need help.  Had we 'sat there and not worried' as instructed we would still be sitting there now.  At the end of the day though we arrived safely flying through the night and arriving in the early hours of the morning.  Egypt Air are dry flights but there was an abundance of soft drinks and food on both legs even the short hop.

I was so glad I had pre-booked a taxi to take us to the accommodation as there was no need to panic about how much it was going to cost having only a small amount of the local currency on me.  Just as well because what I had was required to pay a Tourist Tax on arrival.  Our room booking was however upgraded to a deluxe suite with a view over the Marina which, as the sun was just rising, looked stunning.  Mum and Dad were tired understandably so they retired to bed and I was just about to do the same when my sister arrived (she and her group were staying down the corridor) with some supplies so that we could have some breakfast (our accommodation was self catering although the establishment clearly do not expect people to do so as the kitchen was rather poorly equipped).  As a result I didnt get to go to sleep and waited up until Mum and Dad surfaced so that we could have some breakfast together.



Our afternoon was spent around the pool and catching up with friends and family.  It is amazing how all the trials and tribulations of the trip soon melted away.  My sister and Elena and Michael were there although sadly not Elena's son who had to stay at home with Dad Andy and Granddad recovering from chicken pox.  Kaye's great friends Vanessa and Colin and their kids Alex and Rosy were there along with Vicar John and his wife Rosie.  Vicar John was taking the service tomorrow.


When Dad went for a little snooze Mum and I took the opportunity to take a walk around the marina - we were mesmerised by the buildings, just one after another after another of high rise blocks with manicured green spaces in between.  Everywhere was so so so tidy and so so so clean that I couldn't work out if I loved it or hated it.  I think as a visitor I really appreciated it but it wouldn't be anywhere I would want to live.  As Elena Savvides would have said it was like being in the Truman Show.

We were invited to cocktails and a pre-wedding get together at a bar called Shimmers which was located at a Hotel near the Burj.  Dad was absolutely blown away by the sheer scale of everything on offer, the hotel we walked through housed 50 different eating establishments and they all seemed to be full!!!  We were even more blown away to learn that a single shot of gin (never mind the tonic) was the equivalent of £20!!!


So here are Mum and Dad waiting for a golf buggy to take us to our beach bar with the famous Burj lit up in the background.  I realised then that Dubai now is unrecognisable from the Dubai John and I visited nearly 15 years ago.  Then the Burj and the Jumeirah Hotel were is a sort of splendid isolation and now they are surrounded and in some cases swamped by new buildings.  Some of the landmarks we visited are no longer there having been replaced by bigger and better attractions.


Just to prove I was there here I am with Mum and Dad awaiting the buggy - apparently no-one walks anywhere in Dubai - even worse than in Cyprus it would seem.  A group of us assembled for drinks at Shimmers and go to know both sides of the wedding party - Matthew and Loren were there and I think Matthew really appreciated the effort that Mum and Dad had made to make that long journey.

I will finish with some night shots - Mum Dad and I wilted quite early having as the jet lag caught up on us and it was going to be a long day again tomorrow with the ceremony at 5.00pm and going on into the early hours of Sunday morning.  We returned to room 1603 to get our heads down in the city that truly never sleeps - just when you think it might there is a city wide call to prayer that is quite something.

There was a constant hum of traffic from outside which Dad was convinced was some airconditioning left on somewhere but we checked everything and it was all off - guess we were just going to have to get used to it - makes a change from dogs barking!


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