Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The UAE (finally!)

I know I have been saying that I would show the pics and tell about the middle east for a while now but my social schedule as a Shanghai Tai Tai (house wife) has been very hectic!  Lol, but here I am, finally sitting down to share with you our trip to Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
This trip was right after I went to the UK with my mom (you can read about it here and here if you missed it!)  We flew from London to the middle east with a layover in Frankfurt.  Not too bad of a flight.  After several 14 hour and 12 hour flights since moving abroad, 7 hours is a drop in the hat!
We arrived in the middle east around dinner time, which was perfect because we were meeting my hubby (who I hadn't seen in 2 wks!)  and some of the people from his office for dinner and drinks.  This was a working trip for my dad and Joel so my mom and I were pretty much on our own during the days, and for one night when the guys travels overnight to Kuwait City.
So our first day my mom and I were very fortunate to run into another mother and daughter traveling together.  We were waiting behind them at the concierge desk to see if we could plan a few trips.  She was discussing the big bus map with the concierge (which you all know by now is my favorite!)  and my mom and I sort of butted in.  It worked out for the best because we decided that it would be fun for the four of us to see the city together and hire a private car so we could see the sights that we wanted to see.  So we met up after lunch and headed out.
We saw pretty much everything there is to see in Abu Dhabi that day.  We went to the cultural center, which is for tourists obviously but it was still interesting.  We also went to the Big Mosque, which is new but boasts the largest carpet in the world.  Let me tell you, it was huge!  The entire mosque was really awe inspiring.  We did however have to wear full burkas to pay our respects to the religion (and to be let in), which was a weird experience having lived my whole life being able to wear whatever I wanted (except the one time in 7th grade I got in trouble by my mom for wearing a tube top to school).  Totally worth wearing the burka though because the Mosque was not something I would have wanted miss seeing!  We also stopped at the giant mall for a starbucks, and finished off the day with a little shopping.

The next day our new friends left so my mom and I were on our own.  We hired a private car to take us around for the day again, this time in an SUV incase the shopping got out of hand (which it did and my mom had to ship an entire suitcase full of stuff home) to drive us to Dubai.  Dubai was only about an hour drive and it was actually very interesting scenery, even though it was really just sand.  Once in Dubai we got the driving tour, saw the world's tallest building a few small mosques and then stopped for some shopping at the gold and spice markets.  While we did not buy any gold, we did buy some spices and we also bought some amazing embroidered pillow cases and my mom bought a beautiful hand embroidered scarf.  It was some very amazing shopping.

The next day was our last day and my mom and spent it just chilling on the beach.  We  just swam and read and hung out.  Our last night in Abu Dhabi we went on a desert safari with the guys and people from Joel's work.  It was a blast.  The night started with four-wheeling on the sand dunes (which was slightly terrifying) with a stop at the camel farm, to our dinner location where they had camels for us to ride, sand boarding, dune buggies to drive, a lady doing henna tattoos, hookah to smoke, belly dancing and of course food and drinks for us.  It was a really fun night to be out under the stars (not something you see in Shanghai) and to experience new things.  I of course got a henna tattoo and Joel of course rode the dune buggies, which after the guides warned us they were dangerous and that they didn't have insurance to cover accidents, Joel still managed to go flying off his.  But all in all it was a really fun night.  The next day Joel and I headed back to the 'Hai to rest while my parents went to Hong Kong and then came to spend a week with us in the city.  But more on that in another post!

Click here to see a video of our trip!

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