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Published: August 10th 2013
I woke up this morning with sore arms and feeling dehydrated. It was nice to lounge around for a few hours with no thoughts except updating my blog... Around noon, we finally kicked into gear and went to the Al Ain mall where we satisfied our cravings for hamburgers at Applebees. Then we headed to the Al Ain zoo. I was tired and it was hot as hades out so I wasn't exactly looking forward to it. But what a treat! The cost is minimal (15 AED) and I bought a hat for shade, also minimal cost (15 AED) and we each got a voucher for a free trip before the end of the year. We were lucky because apparently summer hours are only 5 days a week and at night, but since it is Eid, they opened the park up.
The zoo is laid out great and is bigger than we thought. They have a "shuttle" you can take, which is basically golf carts that travel around and take you to each destination. We decided not to pay the extra money and walked it. It was H.O.T. Unfortunately, the big cats exhibits were generally closed. The white tiger was
inside as it was too hot to come out until late afternoon. We saw some poor lions that were just miserable and some cheetahs too, trying to get shade and stay cool. Not much to do about it and it is not far from their habitat. The animals generally seemed well taken care of. We were happy to see rhinos, hippos and giraffes, which basically came right up to the fence. Lots of them! There was a reptile house, where we also saw a porcupine and some little fox with giant ears who was taking a nap. Lots of birds and monkeys, though the gorilla was nowhere to be seen. It was a great place, and we wanted to see the penguins, but they were at the other end of the zoo and we were just too hot and tired. I actually drank three cold bottles of water in the two hours we were there and was still close to dying...
So we packed up and headed back to the water park where the wave pool was sounding pretty darn good right about now. We went into the park and went straight to the wave pool where we played
around for about half an hour before having to go to our rafting time. The pool reminded me of Typhoon Lagoon at Disney World, only smaller and less people swimming out. The lifeguard even told me not to swim far out though one of the reasons I do is because it is less crowded (and i love to swim). There are not a lot of people that know how to swim in this part of the world, which always surprises me a little.
We headed to our rafting appointment and there were about twenty people going in four rafts. We had to watch a safety video then this Philippino couple asked if we all wanted to ride together. We thought we got the best rafting guide, Bed, a Nepali guy who basically could have done all our work for us and he was sneaky.... We did the level 2 rapids, the previous route from the night before, for practice and we were ready to go to the other section where it was a higher level. The water was churning and it was AWESOME! When we got to big rapid areas he'd yell at us to "Get Down!" and we
Zoo set up
lots of shade and green
would scramble to sit in the bottom of the raft while we splashed and jumped and spun through the rapids. There was an area where we always saw people who'd been tossed out or the raft had flipped, but we did pretty well! We went through I think four times until Jamie had to get out because her hand was hurting, and we went up one final time. This time, at one of the rougher spots toward the end, our guide deliberately tried to flip us, but me and the other girl held onto one side of the boat for dear life, while her husband and Addi were unceremoniously dumped into the rapids. We were able to pull the other guy in but Addi floated toward the lagoon where we finally picked him up and called it a day. Seriously - the rafting was so much fun! We saw John when he was done with his lessons and he rode his kayak in front of our raft each time. The last time, the crazy man went without a paddle... I wasn't sure I'd see him again, but he was at the bottom at the end.
Then we went next
to the Airpark, which was covered as part of our Cabone deal (kind of like Groupon). It is this obstacle course about 5 meters above the ground and you are clamped in doing a circuit of various elements. Balance is like the one athletic thing I'm good at so I was ready and went first. But I was disappointed because I wanted to walk the tight rope, but the way it is set up is that my harness and the pulley above me was not fluid and kept me off balance, so I basically had to sit in my harness and pull myself along the rope above the tightrope cable. Bummer. Then you had to grab these ropes hanging down, then step on the tops of logs, which were hanging straight down. Then was a spiderweb of rope, followed by a long log you had to walk across (I rocked that one), then swinging platforms, then a rock wall. It was pretty fun but dang - my arms are going to really hurt over the next couple of days!!! We headed upstairs for the zipline, which was actually pretty fun (I'd previously done it in Hawaii over a canopy of
I'm not really a monkey fan but thought he was cute
trees). Finally, we got on this giant swing, made for three (perfect!) and the guy who strapped us in asked if we wanted to be surprised and we said yes. So we are talking on the way up, mainly I was worried about this cable next to my head, Addi trying to tell me what it was for, and mid conversation - SNAP! He let us go and it was awesome. 😊
So, all in all, a terrific, fun filled weekend with great company. We are all too tired for another round of drinks, so off to bed!
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