A Travellerspoint blog

Tuesday 12 May Abu Dhabi

Another 39degree hot day of tourist attractions and feasting with Fleur and in the evening, Fleur and Pete.
The morning was spent at the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital with a Jordanian guide who was a real character who you could have a laugh with. We learnt about 3 breeds of Falcons in UAE that come into the hospital for treatment. the Peregrine, the smallest of the 3 is found in NZ and they are the fastest when hunting travelling at 250khm. We got to hold the largest the Gyr which is very heavy to hold. We saw a falcon put out to have his claws cut and shaped. Some Emirates have as many as 13 Falcons in their homes and they are their pride and joy. Des and I then dressed up in Candoras and Abayas for photos with a Falcon.

At night, we went to dinner at Shangri La Qayat Al Beri a very flash hotel where we went down to the poolside for a BBQ meal to watch the sunset go down over the water. Across the water we watched the sunset on the Sheikh ayes Grand Mosque which we had been to on Mother's Day. the lighting system around the Mosque is incredible (which we had seen when there) and we then saw the amazing effects from sunset how this beautiful white marble building gradually turns blue as the sun sinks and it then looks like the moon in shining on it.

We then walked along the water front to the Souk Mall. This was another really wonderful area that made you realise how you are not in a western culture presently. Fleur then bought me a silk wrap with hand embroidered flowers all over it. I must remember to never admire something so precious or expensive again, when I am with Fleur.

Home in another taxi. They are airconditioned and cheap here so it's easier to travel this way. We have never travelled in so many taxis before and thankfully, MOST of the drivers a good although they are on their cell phones most of the time while travelling at up to 120kmh amongst cars in 5 lane highways where no one indicates. There are also so very large bends in the road where you travel around almost a full circle, a huge speed making you feel like bring in up your last huge meal you have eaten.

We are loving this whole eastern experience though and thanks to Fleur and Pete we are really seeing the sites. The heat is the only drawback but mostly, we are in airconditioned areas.

Posted by RitchieOE 00:00 Comments (0)

Mother's Day in Abu Dhabi with our Daughter, Fleur

A very busy day

What an unbelievable day we had. Fleur gave me my Mothers Day present which was a canvas print of several Arabic doors. I had seen a similar one in Dubai Mall the day before and loved it, so I was thrilled that that is similar to the one she had bought for me.
We then headed of to the Mosque to be kitted out in our Abayas before entering. Des was able to wear European clothes but women have to get into the dress or at least have their heads and bodies completely covered. This Mosque is the only one that anybody can visit. It is the third biggest in the world and is completely covered in white marble from Italy. It has the largest hand made carpet in the world and it is decorated so beautifully a with marble inlaid flowers in all the pillars and walls and on the floor. It was the most beautiful experience ever.

As though that was not overwhelming enough, we then headed to the Palace Hotel for cappuccino. My coffee had real gold sprinkles on it and the place was just so upmarket it even had an eftpos machine that gave out gold, not money.

Next, Fleur took us to lunch at another upmarket Hotel where we met several other women who we had Mothers Day lunch with. Des was perfectly happy to be the only Man there. Pete was at work as Sunday is a workday in UAE.

In the evening, we went to the new Yas Island Mall for dinner. That food just did not compare with what we had eaten during the day but the Mall was huge and quite amazing. our Grand daughter Jenna would have loved the HUGE toyshop.

Posted by RitchieOE 10:01 Comments (0)

First day in UAE

After Fleur and Peter picked us up from the airport in Dubai on Saturday 9th of May, we drove to Dubai Mall. The traffic is pretty scary but Pete is a very good driver and appears to have eyes in the back of his head, which is definitely something you need here. We looked around the mall. It is HUGE! An ice skating rink and an Aquarian, with huge manter rays and sharks are incredible attractions not to mention for Des, the trip up the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world presently. The trip to 124th floor which is not even the top, was in a lift that took about 45 seconds and he didn't even feel it move. We enjoyed a wonderful lunch at a restaurant called Friday's. We then had the drive for about 1 hour at 140km to Abu Dhabi, The drivers don't indicate and apparently talk on their cell phones as well as no seat belts so it makes for scary driving. It was good to get home to their apartment complex of Al Muneera, just before the city of Abu Dhabi.

They live in a fabulous apartment complex with a man made beach, shops, restaurants and like living in a resort really. They have 2 mad Egyptian cats who live inside the apartment. They were street stray cats that had been rescued and now are treated like royalty. An early night was needed for us after looking around the complex. It was 4.30am in NZ so no wonder we were tired.

Posted by RitchieOE 22:35 Comments (0)

Auckland to Sydney to Bangkok To Dubai

Up at 3.30am to walk across the road to the airport from our very comfortable stay at the Novatel Hotel in Auckland. Plane trip to Sydney was very good and a short stay in the transit lounge in Sydney then on to Bangkok with another good albeit long (9 1/2) hr flight arriving in 32 degree humid heat. That's a big airport but the walk was good for us being on 2 flights with 13 hours in total cooped up in planes. Another Novatel Hotel by the airport and also excellent accomodation.
Next morning, a sleep in till 6.30 then another quick trip to the airport for the 6 1/2 hr journey on to Dubai this time with more space in an Emirates plane and also very smooth journey. Hardly any turbulence on any flights, weren't we lucky. Finally, landed in Dubai where Pete and Fleur had arranged a meet and greet service for us to get us quickly through the airport, which is ginormous!! Wow what a service. A really exciting and FAST trip past all the other people striding it out to the long queue at immigration. Our service provided us with a fast trip past those in line and off to collect our bags which were then taken out to meet Pete and Fleur by a porter who then went to their car as well. We felt like Royalty with that service. Wonderful to see Fleur and Pete again and this time in UAE where they live now.

Posted by RitchieOE 05:43 Comments (0)

About to leave NZ in 4 days now

We are so looking forward to this trip. We have 7 weeks away this time. First we will visit our Daughter and Son in Law for a week in Abu Dhabi before we head on a 24 day coach tour of England,Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Then we spend 3 days in London, 3 days in Saltzburg and 3 days in Prague. this journey will be easier on U.S. flight wise as our Daughter here in NZ who is our Travel Agent, has us doing shorter hops. The longest is only 9 hours this time and that is from Bankok to Dubai on Saturday.

Posted by RitchieOE 19:33 Comments (0)

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