Thursday, November 26, 2020

Around the World - Dubai

Since cruise lines are still shut down, this month we're looking back at my Around the World in 31 Days adventure. It was just a year ago when we could fly internationally, stay wherever we wanted and do whatever we wanted - with as many or as few people as we wanted. 

The following post originally appeared here on debsdays.com on November 26, 2019.

Dubai

Welcome to Dubai! 
Can you find the tallest building in the world in the Dubai skyline?
 As we were sitting on the Promenade Deck this morning after breakfast we heard some terribly loud noises. We looked over the side and then remembered that today was disembarkation day for many of our passengers. 500+ left the ship with just as many joining. The poor guys working the luggage had to pick it up at the back of the ship and roll it across all the cobblestone and then up the ramp to get it into the terminal. We’re so used to seeing forklifts do all the work but not here.
Inside the cruise terminal
Today was another Hop on Hop off trip for us and Dubai has three different routes. To get to the starting point we had to first take the HOHO from the port to the Dubai Mall.

Once at the Dubai Mall we could transfer to the red or green route. Knowing today might be too much for E I knew I had to prioritize our time so I wanted the green first.
The green route was important because I wanted to see something I’ve seen on TV and read about in magazines. It’s the Burj Al Arab.
Recognize it?
Shining bright like a diamond
The green route also had a transfer point to get us to the blue route.
I needed the blue route to get to Palm Jumeirah, one of the largest man-made islands in the world. It’s shaped like a palm tree. While I didn’t get to see it from above (that would have been amazing!) I did get to see things from ground level.
I couldn’t figure out how these flowers worked. Is it a tree or a bush? Alive or fake?
I also needed the blue and greens routes because of where they intersect. That would be at the Mall of the Emirates. Why is that mall so important? Inside it contains something else I’ve seen on TV and read about. A ski resort inside the mall called Ski Dubai.
A real operating ski resort. My picture doesn't do it justice.
I don’t ski, but I wanted to see others ski. While I got a picture of it in action, I didn’t get to stay to watch. By that point we were already on mile two for the day. For most people two miles is nothing. But for E, walking across the uneven cobblestone at the port added in with the big step to get on and off the HOHO buses, and then the long walk across marble floors in the mall were taking their toll. We needed to get him a place to sit. But as it would turn out, the Mall of the Emirates doesn’t have any seating around other than in food courts and restaurants. I knew there was a food court somewhere down by Ski Dubai but I couldn’t even get him that far.

We stopped in a cafe where he had a Superfood Salad and I had a Diet Pepsi.
Yep, it’s in Arabic.
He wolfed down the salad, the bowl of bread, a Pepsi, and it still didn’t bring him any energy. (The mall did make for some great people watching. How can so many people from so many walks of life and dressed in so many, many different ways get along together here?)
Jenn, look – you could have been Jenny and Jennifer at the same time!
We trudged back to the HOHO bus to transfer to the Dubai Mall in order to get the transfer back to the ship. Where he again had to walk over uneven cobblestone.
So tough for him to walk on
I’m bummed I didn’t get to take the red route, but I’ll have to be okay with it. I still got plenty of photos of some crazy looking buildings again today. They must have a lot of creative architects in this part of the world.
How was the traffic? So. Many. Cars.
We saw lots of these signs alongside the roads both yesterday and today.
Did you know a souk is a market? I didn’t until this trip.
More Arabic/English food signs:

Tomorrow we have a well-deserved, desperately-needed sea day.
Be sure to join me tomorrow for another installment of Around the World in 31 Days.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Around the World - Abu Dhabi

Since cruise lines are still shut down, this month we're looking back at my Around the World in 31 Days adventure. It was just a year ago when we could fly internationally, stay wherever we wanted and do whatever we wanted - with as many or as few people as we wanted. 

The following post originally appeared here on debsdays.com on November 25, 2019.

Abu Dhabi

Huge warning...the free wifi at the Abu Dhabi terminal is making my blog behave as if it's in Arabic  and it won't let me translate it
so things are big time messed up. It also doesn't like punctuation at the end of a paragraph so every  last sentence just hangs there, and...it's typing right to left. Oh.My.Gosh 

Today's sunrise over Abu Dhabi
Today was our hop on hop off tour. We weren't sure how close the buses would be but they were really close
Picture taken from the Promenade Deck. See the buses back there
The terminal
Inside the terminal
We were a bit worried about the length of time the face to face immigration process would take but we were done super fast. The agent looked at the passport, stamped it, then placed it in a plastic bin. Ship's staff were collecting the plastic bins so I'm guessing they'll be keeping them until we leave the United Arab Emirates in Dubai tomorrow

Once on the bus we first took the red route

One of the things I noticed right off the bat was how people were dressed. I expected to see all traditional garments. But throughout the city there was a mix of both western and traditional. Ship passengers had been asked to cover knees and shoulders when out but in the city we saw ladies in tank tops next to ladies in burkas. Men also wore an eclectic mix of clothing

Another thing I found very interesting was the mix of architecture. Abu Dhabi is young and is in a shiny building phase, trying to keep up with Dubai
The Presidential Palace is huge

Look at this pair of buildings. On the one to the right, between the spot where the sunlight hits and the top of the building there are a few little dots
But look closer...those are window washers. They were high up there

The Abu Dhabi Mall stop is where you can transfer to the green route
Or shop, or use the restroom. I noticed there was also a prayer room right off the ladies restroom
Inside the Abu Dhabi Mall
The green route
The green route is the one that gets you to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, the only one that non-Muslims can enter

 Hop on hop off buses ran frequently and there was also a shuttle at the Abu Dhabi Mall to transfer you back to the ship

Hungry anyone? Lots of choices in the city (and the mall) with signs in both Arabic and English
Can you guess this one
How about this one
Maybe some shopping at Ikea
There we are
We had a great day riding around on the Hop on Hop off bus. We didn't jump off the bus except at the mall, but that was plenty for E. He's napping now and I'm sitting on the Promenade Deck with my feet up typing this Arabic blog - right to left and no punctuation at the end of paragraphs. It is hard and probably will look a bit ugly once posted
And guess what? I didn't even have to go into the terminal to access their WiFi - I'm getting it right here in a comfy chair on the ship
A sticker as seen in a car's window today
Not sure love will solve today's blog issue
Tomorrow we're off to Dubai for another Hop on Hop off adventure

Be sure to join me tomorrow for another installment of Around the World in 31 Days.