A Travellerspoint blog

Sat 16 May Abu Dhabi to Dubai to London

Eastern experience finishes and UK experience begins

This morning, Fleur and Pete drove us from Abu Dhabi to Dubai Airport to catch our plane to Heathrow, London. A very calm trip up on the manic Middle East roads thank goodness. Easy trip through Dubai airport and in plenty of time as well. the flight in the Emirates double decker plane was very smooth and uneventful. we arrived before the sun had gone down and it was a nice temperate and blue sky which we certainly didn't expect. Our second experience of Heathrow was as easy as our first thank goodness. We wonder what people go on about really. Dubai is bigger and much busier we feel. We were met and taken to our Hotel for the start of our Cosmos Tour - 24 days London to London through England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. This really begins on Monday as most people will arrive on Sunday. Fleur, we have been in contact with Ant already and are meeting him for a London Pub Lunch tomorrow. He lives around the corner from our Hotel!

it's late, time for bed. Looking forward to the next 24 days but loving our last 7 days Middle eastern experience.

Posted by RitchieOE 14:25 Comments (0)

The last meal and the largest Fri 15 May Abu Dhabi

Ritz-Carlton brunch with Fleur, Pete and their friends

A Sleep in this morning then off to the Ritz-Carlton Hotel for Brunch. This hotel is full of opulence where on a Friday, the expats ha e brunch starting at 12.30 and it finishes at 4pm. The buffet is set out over several large rooms each room having a course e.g. Dessert. It's a bit to overwhelming for us Kiwis really but the food is wonderful and we certainly will not need to eat another thing today. I think Pete, Fleur and Des are ale rash having an afternoon nap while I write this blog in the quietness of our bedroom. Might have a swim either at the beach here or the pool here when I have digested this insane amount of food (even though I paced myself very carefully).

Tomorrow, Pete will have to drive us back to Dubai Airport to fly out to London for the start of out tour through England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. We have a 7 1/2 hour flight Dubai to Heathrow so not too bad. The worst bit will be the trip on the highway fromAbu Dhabi to Dubai where the drivers are mad and the speed can reach 140kmph. Pete does not like this trip. Note to self, if there is a next time here, get flight to Abu Dhabi airport as it is 5 minutes drive from their place.

Posted by RitchieOE 05:36 Comments (0)

Thursday 14 May still in Abu Dhabi but this time on safari.

4 wheel drive over sand dunes in the desert

Fleur decided we should have a quiet day in preparation for our afternoon/evening activity. We met another of her friends for coffee at Jone the Grocer cafe in Fleurs apartment complex and then chilled out in their airconditioned apartment as the temp soared outside to 47 degrees again. Pete arrived home in the early afternoon to begin his 2 day weekend - Friday and Saturday which is the normal days here in the Middle East. Pete, having been outside and on the water running a course all week in the heat, decided he would not come on the desert safari we were going on. At 3.30pm we left for the trip of a lifetime!
We were met by a Toyota Land Cruiser and the best driver we have experienced. That gave me confidence to think he was taking us into the desert and up and down steep sand dunes so I relaxed into this amazing experience. We travelled through towns and finally out into the desert within about 1 Hour. First stop was a camel farm where the camels were roaming free and just came up to us for pats then quietly and sedately walked past us to their food troughs. 47 degrees by now in this heat in absolute desert with nothing around but sand, dunes, camels and about 20 4 wheel drive vehicles in convoy each carrying a driver and up to 6 passengers, was mind blowing.
Lots of photos then the drivers seemed so excited to get into the what they call "dune bashing" experience for us. We were the 2nd vehicle in the convoy so we could see what was in store for us when the one in front just suddenly disappeared over the edge of a high dune and then it was our turn with sand flying over the front window and looking straight down into a cavernous space, I was amazed I felt so exhilarated and not terrified by it. even when we slid down then side on, I had such confidence in the driver (who was incidentally, from Bangladesh).
We arrived, through the dunes at the Bedowin camp in the middle of the desert about an hour later in time to watch the sunset go down over the dunes. Seating was on cushions around low tables set on carpets over the sand. There were activities there such as camel rides, quad bike rides and sand boarding down the dunes as well as henna painting and you could even smoke the pipes if you wanted. You could try on the traditional dress for a photo but we had done that at the Sheik Zayed Mosque and the Falson Hospital so didn't need to do that. Plenty to drink and I had Arabian coffee and heaps of water. the BBQs were giving off amazing smells as we lay around on our cushions just taking in the never experienced before atmosphere here for us.
The BBQ meats, salads and breads were all very eastern flavours and delicious. By this time it was dark so we were now eating under the stars. A belly dancer entertained us after dinner. Before we left, all lights were turned off to view the stars. Not as good as New Zealand stars but still lovely.
Back in the vehicles to travel a little more on the dunes before returning to the road and back home to Al Muneera apartments about 9.30pm. time for bed after the most wonderful experience in the Middle East, thanks to Fleur and Pete .

Posted by RitchieOE 22:39 Comments (0)

We'd 13 May Eating, eating and more eating in Abu Dhabi

Breakfast: it was 7.30am when we walked for half an hour in the slightly cooler hot sun to the next apartment block Al Zeina, to meet several of Fleurs friends for brunch. All girls and little Olive 7 months were lovely. By the time we finished it was too hot to walk back so another Taxi ride back to Al Muneera where Fleur and Pete live.

Lunch: taxi to Yas Island Marina to a restaurant called Stars And Bars which Fleur described as like Denny's. We met Cassandra there who had been at the breakfast. A lovely friend of Fleurs who then took us home afterwards. By then it was 43 degrees so glad to be in the aircon at 22 degrees back in the apartment for the afternoon.

Des had been suffering since the Waterworld experience with a blocked ear and although we got drops from the Chemist this afternoon it seemed worse so Fleur arranged for him to go to a medical centre where he could see an ENT specialist on the same day! The plan was that when Pete came home from works., Des and Pete were to play golf while Fleur and I went shopping. We firstly attended the Medical clinic and that was another Eastern experience for Des and I. For me having been a medical receptionist, it was fascinating as we were the only Europeans in this very busy waiting room where everyone else was in Emerate dress, children included. Des was seen by the ENT Specialist after only waiting for 5 minutes and came out a very happy man who had had his ear suctioned and could hear again. That 10 minute experience cost 990 derim which is about $360 NZ then off to the Pharmacy to get antibiotic ear drops. When we walked into the Pharmacy, that too was very different. Not like at home of course. The waiting room was segregated seating with a desk that Pharmacists sat behind and you presented them with the prescription which they checked and gave to someone to collect the meds in another room. Nothing was on show in the actual Pharmacy. Another 10 derim and we were off to the Golf and shopping at the Yas Mall. We hope our Travel Insurance helps pay for this fascinating experience.

Dinner: After our shopping experience in Yas Mall, Fleur and I got another Taxi to the Golf club to meet the men for dinner under the stars. The temperature had soared to 47 degrees during the afternoon but thankfully, had cooled a little by 9pm when we ate dinner. The golf course, Yas Links, is a 9 hole Par 3 course which Des got around in 39 and Pete in 38. Des was happy with his game but Pete was not. Pete has had an extremely strenuous week at work out in the sun and in boats all day so he is very tired in this heat.

Posted by RitchieOE 00:37 Comments (0)

Seem to have lost the blog from Monday 11 May so here tis

Theme park fun in Abu Dhabi

Monday was a day for theme parks, mostly for Des to enjoy. We headed to Yas waterworld and Ferrari World. The waterworld had a wave pool I enjoyed while Fleur and Des experienced the water slides. Fleur suggested I may enjoy the "really tame" roller coaster,where you are in hanging chairs underneath and no going upside down. OK I thought I that sounded OK. Note to myself, never listen to Fleur again. it was terrifying!!
For me, back to the gentle wave pool while the others abused their bodies in more water slide activity.

Next, we were off to Ferrari World for Des to experience the ride of his life on the worlds fastest roller coaster Formula Rossa which shoots you out on the ride with speeds of up to 250kmh. It's a huge roller coaster, very high and long and it's over in about 45 seconds as its so fast. Pete says it's the closest thing to feeling like you do when you jump out of a plane when parachuting he has experienced. He has done many parachute jumps in the army so he knows what he is talking about.
After that we all went on a sedate ride in miniature Ferrari sports cars around a miniature track taking us through the "Italian alps" passing little towns such as Pisa and Venice which we have been to last OE so I loved that. More for kiddies really but still nice. A little chicken feed for the others after Formula Rossa.

Finally, at home Fleur still had the energy to cook us a roast Chicken dinner then off to bed to recharge our batteries for the next busy day.

Posted by RitchieOE 03:08 Comments (0)

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