Thursday, January 15, 2015

Dubai Trip 2014: Deserts and Dinner Cruises

I'm back today with another recap of part of our trip to Dubai!  So far, I've recapped our first day in the city when we took a bus tour and saw many of the sites.  Read the other recaps here:
Today, we'll cover the second and third days of our trip.  Both days were "free days" with our travel group with some optional tours we could sign up for.

We started the second day with a leisurely breakfast and sitting by the pool.  What was neat was that there was a mosque right in front of our hotel, so while we sat at the pool, we actually got to hear the broadcast of the noontime prayer up close and personal!  I had no idea what was being said (all in Arabic), but it did sound very pretty.
The big thing we did on Friday was a desert tour!  At first, I didn't think we'd be able to go; the first part of the tour involved "dune bashing," and the travel company said that pregnant women weren't allowed to do that.  When I asked if there was another way out there, the travel company said no.  Luckily, we were able to talk to the desert tour director, and he worked out a ride for me to get out there (Joe came with me, too)!  I was so thankful because this was something I REALLY wanted to do, whether or not I got to do the "dune bashing."

The drive out there was rather interesting.  We quickly saw the transition from an extravagant, vibrant city to nothing but sand.
Once we got to the right spot in the desert, we got into a Jeep and rode out to the campsite where all the activities were taking place.  The driver didn't realize I was pregnant and gave us a little taste of "dune bashing," which involved driving sideways along the dunes, getting air, etc.  Let's just say I was glad we only got 2 minutes of that!
We pulled up to the campsite, and this was the first thing we saw:
Camels!  The big thing I REALLY wanted to do was to ride a camel, so we got right in line for that.
The ride was short, but it was really neat!
Someone who worked there guided the camels out and back, and Joe and I had a good time riding our camel.  He seemed like a nice one!
The scary part was when they sat down.
It's quite an incline!  I'm SO glad we got to do that, though.
Once that was over, we caught some of the sunset over the desert before heading in to the campsite.
There was some local food and Arabic coffee to sample, a tent set up for Henna tattoos, and a booth where you could get your picture taken in traditional clothing of the region.
 Joe and I opted to sit in a little "lounge" area with some people from our group.
They also brought out the sheesha (aka the hookahs), and Joe and the others enjoyed partaking in that.
We had a great time just relaxing and getting to know our travel mates better!  After that, it was time for a desert barbeque dinner buffet.  There were lots of options, and everything was delicious!
After dinner, we had some entertainment!  First up was a Turkish dancer.
I don't know what his style of dance is called, but he would spin around and around (seriously, for about 10 minutes straight!) and do different things.  At first, he had some light-up plates that he would arrange in different patterns as he was spinning.
The picture is really bad, but I wanted to give you a little idea of what he was doing.  Next, his skirt lit up and came apart into two pieces.  He would move the pieces around, and it was really interesting to watch!
This dancer was lots of fun, and after spinning pretty fast for AT LEAST 10 minutes, he walked away like he wasn't dizzy at all.  It was crazy!  Next up was a belly dancer.
She did a few different dances with various props, then at the end, she got some people up to dance with her.  I actually got up on stage and participated, it's kind of hard to belly dance while pregnant!

Our trip out the desert was a lot of fun.  On our way back into the city, we saw a lot of locals who had set up campfires out in the desert just hanging out.  It was a great way to experience another part of Dubai!

We started our third day in Dubai with a leisure pace, as well.  I actually went to the hotel gym in the morning and ran on the treadmill!  The funny thing was, the treadmill was in kilometers, so I was constantly trying to do the conversions in my head to see how many miles I'd run so far.  Yes, I am a math nerd :)

After breakfast, we ventured out into the city and took the metro to the Mall of the Emirates.  Dubai has a ton of malls, but Mall of the Emirates is the "more affordable" mall in the city.  I was surprised at all the Christmas decorations all over, especially at the mall!
The reason we were there was for the indoor skiing!  While I didn't get to participate, Joe got a 2-hour pass to ski on the three indoor slopes at Ski Dubai.
It was really fun to watch Joe ski (well, he actually snowboarded), and I enjoyed hearing how much fun he had while doing so!
We grabbed lunch at the mall, shopped around a little bit, then took the metro back to the hotel.

That evening, we met back up with our travel group for dinner.  Before heading to dinner, we went back to the Dubai Mall for the fountain show.  On the way there, it was really fun to see the city of Dubai at nighttime.
There's a fountain show every 30 minutes.  Our tour guide told us that the show changes each time, so we stayed to see two different shows.
The first show was to "Hero" by Enrique Iglesias, and the water coordinated really nicely to the music.
 The second show we saw an energetic Arabian song.  The water was a lot more "energetic" this time and lots of fun to watch.  It was really cool to see the show with the Burj Khalfia as the backdrop!
After the second show, we went back to the bus and drove to the Dubai Creek for our dinner cruise!
Our boat took us from one end of the creek to the other and back, and we got to see some new views of the city.  The skyline is really pretty and colorful at night!
In addition to eating dinner, there was a Henna artist on the boat.  I decided to get some Henna done while we were there.
Here's the finished product!  I was really proud with how it turned out.
At the far end of the creek, we passed by the souk again.  It was really bright and lit-up at night time!
We went up to the front of the boat for a different view (and a picture) after we finished eating.  Nice view from up there!
The government buildings were really pretty at night, as well.  They were still celebrating their independence day, so everything was really UAE-spirited.
We all had such a great time that we were docking before we knew it!  The dinner cruise was a really great way to see the city in a new light (literally!), so I'm so glad this was included in our tour group!

Next up in the Dubai Trip recaps: our tour of Abu Dhabi, one of the other emirates/cities in the UAE.  We visited a mosque, ate traditional Emirati food, and learned more about the culture and government.  Look for that recap very soon!

Question for you: Have you ever been to a desert?  Have you ridden any animals (horses count!)?  


  1. How cool!! I've always really wanted to try riding a camel and an elephant. I'm not sure why, but both seem really fun!

    1. I know what you mean! Riding an elephant has been on my bucket list for a long time. Riding a camel was pretty fun!