Dubai, Middle East

[Dunes, Dates & Dubai…The Epic Layover – Dubai]

August 6, 2013

Since my undergrad graduation, I have not been able to take more than two-three work days off so as I saved up some money and pooled some vacation days….I waited for an opportunity to use them. I’ll preface this by saying I tend to love the more adventure bound type vacations so seeing something so opposite to my reality was exactly what I wanted. Ultimately I was happier in the developing countries we were able to visit on this trip then I would have been in any luxury hotel in Europe.

My college roommate Ben and his friend Matt both quit their jobs and bought a $10,000 ($5,000 each) round-the-world Groupon. They are currently on a six month trip around the world. Brian and I decided to meet them on the India leg of their trip! This first post is of our 15 hour layover in Dubai on the way to our first pitstop: Delhi.

We got to the airport bright and early Friday morning…

One last check of the smartphones before we start playing wi-fi bingo

One last check of the smartphones before we start playing wi-fi bingo

The lovely Emirates ladies getting ready for boarding

The lovely Emirates ladies getting ready for boarding

 

On a…Magic Carpet Ride?

Brian and I were both really excited about flying the A380 which yes is the full Double Decker. Despite the overblown nature of rumors, they were pretty accurate in this case. Flying Emirates, especially on this plane was the most luxurious experience. (Sidenote if this wasn’t enough for you, here is a pretty neat video from Business Insider: http://read.bi/154Od25)

Let me break this down in order of amazing-ness

1- Children got amazing sets of toys, beach towels, smiley faces in their pudding and backpacks

2- The first class level had this crazy staircase complete with waterfall, seems that this is worth the price

3- The mood lighting in the plane recreates shades of sunrise and sunset with the bonus of a constellation of stars at night time.

Here are a few pics I snapped before I got off the plane. From, the warm lemon scented towels and multilingual staff to the delicious cocktails and full stocked and lit bathrooms. I will be back Emirates. I will be back.

Fly Emirates!

Fly Emirates!

Menus, stairs and comfy seats

Menus, stairs and comfy seats

 

 Dubai: The 15 Hour Layover

We finally landed. After being cooped up for 12.5 hours and exhausted from the jet lag we hit the ground running at 9 AM Dubai time. Start your clocks, here is what we did:

I first want to mention that everyone is dressed like epaulettes have never gone out of style. Also this terminal is nothing like the others as it is an over the top glamorous wing aka Terminal 3 aka only for Emirates. U.S. Citizens get in free for short term stays so visas were not a problem. [Sidenote: Having traveled to the Middle East before, i.e. Israel, Jordan etc I will say that this is more like the Vegas of the Middle East then, well, the Middle East so if you go in with this mind set you will have a great time]

 

Emirates Terminal 3

Emirates Terminal 3

Baggage Claim?

Baggage Claim?

Bing, bonggggg – Riding the Rails…

We took the choo choo, er, the metro. You have the option of a Gold Class car, a Ladies & Children car and the regular cars on the Dubai Metro. It is clean, beautiful and efficient, we didn’t need a car once and took it straight from the airport.

City Bound!

City Bound!

Before heading into Downtown Dubai we headed to the Gold Souk. For those of you who aren’t familiar, Dubai is notorious for it’s gold goods in fact they are giving away grams for people dropping pounds right now!

 

Off the subway and into the heat

Off the subway and into the heat

Sights along the way

Sights along the way

Morning Dead Zone

Morning Dead Zone

You know, in case you need to know the price of gold while shopping
You know, in case you need to know the price of gold while shopping

 

I love Gold!

I love Gold!

 

 

Follow the yellow brick road

Follow the yellow brick road

 

Brian was attacked by a shopkeeper

Brian is easy prey

 

 

Our first stop was the Mall of Emirates, what wikipedia says is the world’s first shopping resort. It is also home to Ski Dubai. Of the two malls we visited, this wasn’t really my favorite.

We're going to the mall!

We’re going to the mall!

After a quick browse we decide to just make our way to the Dubai Mall. I LOVED the Dubai Mall. It was gigantic and not filled with the bustle of people until we came back that evening due to Ramadan but we still made our way through the Souk (if you can even call it that) the Ice Rink and the enormous aquarium.

Here's to hoping it doesn't have a leak...

Here’s to hoping it doesn’t have a leak… [via Brian Cronin]

They say there are plenty of fishies in the sea

One fish, Two Fish, Red Fish...well you know

One fish, Two Fish, Red Fish…well you know

If you’re wondering how I got these photos [via Brian Cronin]

#Sharkweek

#Sharkweek

Why so serious?

Why so serious?

 

I do not know what this is but I think he likes me

I do not know what this is but I think he likes me

A few of the Mall Souk..

Golden Arches means soemthing different here

Golden Arches means soemthing different here

If you like it, put a ring on it

If you like it, put a ring on it

Stop. Picturetime.

Stop. Picturetime.

 

Sky High!

While in the Dubai Mall how could we NOT see the Burj Khalifa. Lesson time: The Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world [2,722 ft]. You can only go up to the observation deck on the 124th floor. It is the third highest observation deck in the world and second highest outdoors with a height of 1,483 ft. Basically it is high.

Here is our journey into the sky…

In the lobby, waiting for the ear popping elevator

In the lobby, waiting for the ear popping elevator

That's how much further up we'd have to go to be at the actual top, not just the observation deck

That’s how much further up we’d have to go to be at the actual top, not just the observation deck

And through the doors we go...

And through the doors we go…

The Observation Deck [via Brian Cronin]

The Observation Deck [via Brian Cronin]

Take one, take two

Take one, take two

Some of Brian

Some of Brian

Top of the World?

Top of the World?

We were the eye in the sky

We were the eye in the sky

At this point we waited in the lobby for our excursion. We decided with a few hours left before our flight we would book a Desert Safari. For roughly fifty dollars we were taken into the desert for an intense 45 minutes of dune bashing. This was followed by an Emirati BBQ in the desert after sundown and the option of sand boarding, camel rides, henna and in lieu of Ramadan we had a crazy talented male dancer rather than a belly dancer. Yes, this was all inclusive.

Head for the Hills…

We started zooming for our location out in the desert, winds whipping and our driver clearly with a serious case of the death wish.

Ready to go! (We made some friends in the car)

Ready to go! (We made some friends in the car)

Brian the photographer

Brian the photographer

So tiny in the desert

So tiny in the desert

Phew, desert heat

Phew, desert heat

Um....the cars needed to cool off

Um….the cars needed to cool off

From 'Cuse to Dubai

From ‘Cuse to Dubai

Say Cheese!

Say Cheese!

Photostop.

Photostop.

Getting ready to head back for dinner

Getting ready to head back for dinner

 

Finally we arrived for dinner, I decided to opt for some Henna while we waited and then we chowed down on some Emirati BBQ. I just want to point out at this time it has been since 9 AM that morning and we have not eaten a single thing. Needless to say we were pretty hungry.

She went so quickly I barely blinked before it was over

She went so quickly I barely blinked before it was over

Henna was quick, lasted only about a week though, loved having it while it was there

Henna was quick, lasted only about a week though, loved having it while it was there

The end result

The end result

Then it was time for FOOOOOoooood!

Our new friend made a new friend

Our new friend made a new friend

Dinner at Sunset

Dinner at Sunset

Fooood where are you?

Fooood where are you?

Mmm we could smell the BBQ

Mmm we could smell the BBQ

Ready for Delhi…

Back at the mall we took the time to stop by Bateel Dates where we had out of this world dates stuffed with delicious things from almonds to orange peels. So as we embark on our next leg…here a few snaps of the mall and our snack stop.

Coffee Break

Coffee Break

Date Break

Date Break

One last goodbye, Delhibound!

One last goodbye, Delhibound!

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2 Comments

  • Reply Dan August 8, 2013 at 4:49 am

    Awesome blog. Loved every bit of it!

    • Reply admin August 8, 2013 at 10:58 am

      Thanks so much!

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