The flight from Paris is about 7 hours and we arrive at 6:30 in the morning. We are welcomed in the arrivals hall before commencing immigration and customs procedures, by the agency Arabian Adventures who have arranged our time while in Dubai. A driver is assigned to us and we are very pleased – plush leather and full comforts of an Audi A7. With ease, we drift along the freeway towards our hotel in the Audi at 140kph. Most other vehicles are doing the same speed but we feel safe. In the 7 lanes, smooth and level – no bumps.
Our hotel, the Bonnington JLT, is fairly new and the first skyscraper to contain both residential accommodation and a hotel. The hotel is just 10 levels with a swimming pool/bar taking up the 11 level and then another 15 or so levels above that. It is a 10-minute walk to the metro and a further 10 minutes or so to the beach.
In the afternoon, we catch the Metro to the Emirates Shopping Mall. What a mall! This is the mall that contains a ski slope with a 400 meter run. Lots of up market shops. We purchase some ‘stuff’ and have an Indian meal for a late lunch – the best we can remember for a long time. The mall closes at 12 midnight but we don’t stay that long. On the way home, we get in a carriage and a guy comes up to me and tells me to move to another carriage as the one we are in is for mothers and children only. We had a lapse of what is expected in this culture.
After another broken sleep, we have breakfast and then make our way to the beach for a couple of hours of tanning before Australia’s winter sets in. There are a lot of expatriates on the beach and tourists. The watercraft are towing tourists all over the bay in or on, rather interesting tow behinds.
80% of the 1.88 million residents of Dubai are expatriates; there lots of Indians, Pakistanis, Filipino. They do all the ‘menial’ tasks around the area such as cleaners, building laborers, drivers etc.
We get back to the hotel for our 3:30 Arabian Adventure Tour. Not knowing what is going to happen, we are a little apprehensive, as we haven’t read the notes on what the tour includes. Our vehicle, a leather upholstered Toyota Landcruiser, with all the extras and internal roll bars, turns out to be one of over 50 that do the adventure at a time, each with 6 passengers. Somehow, we all turn up at the same point at approximately the same time to reduce tyre pressure to 15psi.
From here, we move to an outside theatre to witness a demonstration of a falcon attacking its prey. They can swoop at up to 300kmph. From here, we move into 4WD and the drivers have time to show off their driving skills in the sand hills, and they surely do; slides sideways down a dune, flat out up a sand hill to a sharp peak and over.
After 15 minutes of Lyn screaming, we stop for photos and a breather. I notice that all passengers have smiles on their faces as they get out of the vehicles. We take the desert pictures and hop back in the Landcruiser for another 10 minutes and a stop to watch the sunset in the desert. Then head to an area set up to provide us with dinner in tent like structures. Photos can be taken riding camels or holding falcons. A belly dancer entertains us for 25 minutes. One couple in our car is from near Yass are on their honeymoon with the next stops to be South Africa and the Mauritius – wow, how lucky! The second couple is from Colombia and are on a holiday. They may come to Australia to visit some day.
What a great night we have had – like little boys and girls enjoying rides at the show. Amazing, really! What a great way to end a trip away!
We get back to our room at 10:00pm to pack for the last time before our 6:55am pick-up in the morning for our transfer to the airport. Our flight is delayed but we pick up lost time by joining the Jetstream over near Bunbury to head into Melbourne.
I hope this trip has educated you in some part of the world where you would want to travel to. Thanks for your interest and comments where they have been made. Lyn is always ready for you to join us in a trip sometime soon. We have a full group doing Africa in August and have made a group booking for Scandinavia with a cruise in the Baltic Sea in June 2014. If you are interested in these or any other destination, please contact Lyn.