We woke up early friday morning to being a very busy, but very fun day. I had made reservations at the Burj Khalifa for 10:30am. If you make reservations, you pay 100AED each, as opposed to 400AED if you buy there. We took a taxi to Dubai Mall and I showed her around the biggest mall in the morning as much as I could without getting lost. We saw the indoor aquarium and the new Cheesecake Factory, which is apparently its first international restaurant.
We then made our way to "At the Top" which is on the lowest floor of the mall. We were close enough to our time that they let us through, so we wandered around the exhibit in the foyer before they sent our group through security. Then there is a moving platform which reminded me of Disney World, followed by a walk around the base of the Burj. Then you wait in line for one of two elevators to take you up. And dang, the elevators are FAST. You are up 124 floors in like 30 seconds. Once you get up top, they lead you to the outdoor observation deck where you can see sooooo far!
We took some amazing photos and just enjoyed the view, while silently thankful we came early before the sun was directly over head.
Then you walk into the rest of the observation area, which goes around the whole building (not very big here) and you can see in every direction. They sold us these cards for the viewfinders/telescopes, but trust me when I say they are not worth it. We left ours there for others to use with time still available.
We then caught a taxi in non-taxi-pickup spot to go across the highway to brunch at Pergolas. We sat down and chowed down, soon joined by Melvin. Nom nom nom. Of course, the highlight for me was getting my own Yorkshire pudding - so delicious! I actually did not have any drinks; the waitress was shocked when I asked for club soda and a water.
After brunch, we got picked up for our desert safari, that I had booked using the Entertainer (buy one get one free) with Desert Rangers. It was a long drive out and we had a long sit and wait at some desert town where the stores tried to force us to
buy things. Gwen and I got waters and sat outside waiting to continue on. I believe our driver aired out the engine and let the air out of his tires at this point. We then wound up joining up with dozens of other cars, getting our photos taken, before doing some fun dune bashing. The dune bashing was a great time and our driver did a good job, though it did seem to be kind of robotic. All cars went the same way over the same general hills, so if you can get your own car or know someone who has an off road vehicle, it is so much more fun (plus you get to see random camels!).
We then continued onto our dinner location. While waiting for dinner, they had various entertainment available for you, so you stayed pretty busy and happy. Gwen and I rented a quad for 20 minutes. I stayed on behind her for half then took pictures while she continued around for another 10 minutes. Two other guys rented a quad and while it was fun, it was really just a big circle with one wussy hill, but the one guy acted like it
was the most exciting and dangerous thing in the world. You could hear him hooting and whooping all over camp. I seriously think he was on something as this continued through the ENTIRE evening.
After the quad, we waited in line to ride the camels. Again, I now know that next time if I want to ride camels, to book a camel trekking expedition. You seriously got to sit on the camel, ride around in a circle to get photos, and get off. We had some hoochies who cut in front of us, not to ride, but take weirdly provacative photos with our camel. Poor little guy... It was pretty cool to feel how the camel stands and then sits - you'd better hold on or you'll get tossed over their heads!
Then we went inside and walked around. Most people seemed to have an appetizer of some sort, but we were still full. We got a beer and headed to the henna painting. There was a line though so we moved over to try on traditional clothing and take photos. Those things are pretty hot and after 5 minutes we were all set. Then we sat down
to dinner. Dinner was pretty good - they had various meats and salads, with bread and hummus. We were just still full! All in all, I think the desert safari was worth it, but it just gives you a small taste of what can be so much better individually.
Oh, i forgot the belly dancer!!!! I am pretty sure she was a stripper. She had long, straight blond hair and stripper heels. She did a decent job, but the whole get up just screamed "stripper" - where was her pole? Of course, the loud obnoxious guy loved it.
The driver then took us back to the hotel; the Italian ladies we were riding with were not very animated. The younger woman talked with us for a few minutes, but they just didn't seem very into it - it was strange. We took pictures in front of the Burj at night, then got a taxi to take us to the Mall of the Emirates (too crazy at Dubai mall that time of night). I forget why, but we needed something. On our way off the metro and to my building, we saw the gelato place and of course we
had to stop. Ha!
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