Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Day 17 - Friday 11th January

I can't believe we all slept until just before 9:00am! We weren't sure what we'd be doing today, we have a list of things we'd like to do in Dubai so we decide to ask at reception the best way to get about. We were told the hotel ran a free bus that did a few stops at various tourist attractions then picks up 4 hours later! How good is that! Only problem was that it left at 10:00 and it was now 9:25 and we hadn't had any breakfast, after missing tea last night we were hungry. We hadn't booked breakfast at the hotel but decided to eat there for easiness. After speaking to the receptionist we decided to go to the Burj Al Arab today, the 7 star hotel. We were dropped off nearby it, just next to the beach. It gave us a great viewpoint of it.

We walked along the seafront, there was quite a breeze so sand was blowing in our faces! We then had to walk away from the seafront as it was blocked off, at this stage we didn't really know where we were going but headed for the road. We saw what we thought was an entrance way to the Burj Al Arab, there were camels dotted in and around the grounds.

We made our way along a corridor dotted with shops and eateries until we reached an exit but after only stepping a few steps were stopped by a security guard who asked if we were guests. We then realised the Burj Al Arab was in front of us and as it turned out we were in fact in it's sister hotel, the 5 star Jumeirah Beach! It's a very nice hotel but not the one we want to see so we made our way out and turned right in the hope of finding the Burj Al Arab. We finally found the entrance to the driveway which is guarded and that's as far as we got! Still, we got a photo of us in front of it, it seems this was the photo point as we had to wait a while to get this!

Just a funny, you can book an expensive lunch to go in but we were told we couldn't as there is a very strict dress code and apparently demin 3/4's and t-shirts aren't appropriate!! Hey ho!
When we arrived at our hotel yesterday we picked up some leaflets, one being for the open top tour bus which had a map of Dubai. From that we knew that the Palm Jumeriah was close by. At first we thought we'd be able to walk to it but we quickly learnt that the scale of the map was a lot bigger than we'd expected. By the entrance of the Burj Al Arab there was a water park with a taxi rank outside. The security guard told us this was the best way of getting to the palm. I've seen pictures on the internet from above it, like this one.

I just thought we'd take the taxi to the entrance, walk onto it and wander around but it's massive!! I mean, there's a whole motorway running up the trunk with apartment blocks either side.

There are slip roads going off to the branches which were private living areas. (we weren't allowed onto them but according to another internet image they look like this!

The driver was excellent, he took us all the way to the top and stopped at the Atlantis hotel for us to take photos.

Of course as we were further out in the sea it was even windier and the waves were really high, crashing over the wall at times. At one point the taxi had to keep as far left as he could because loose rocks were also being thrown over. One part of our journey that interested me was we had to dive through an underpass, the driver said we were under the sea.

I presumed there must be a gap in the palm and when we got back to the hotel I realised it was from the top of the palm tree to the outer circle. Taxis here are very good price wise, they are government regulated so everyone has to charge the same rate. It only cost 60 dirhams (including tip,) around £10 for us all and we got a good ride for that! After being dropped off at the water park again we went back to the Jumeirah Beach Hotel for coffee, hot chocolates and cakes, commoners like us were allowed in there, lol!

We had a bit of time left so went back to the beach for a play! The sand was really fine, lovely to run little fingers through.

The sky had cleared as the day had got on, it was still quite smoggy but we could now see the Atlantis hotel beyond the Burj Al Arab.

The hotel bus came to pick us up one once back we found this themed seating area in the hotel and posed!

We then changed into our swimming stuff to go for the rooftop swim that was supposed to happen last night! The pool is regulated so was nice to swim in The attendant gave Charlie and Courtney the life rings to float in, they both enjoyed kicking their legs, swimming around with them. Charlie then showed us his swimming skills that he's been learning in his lessons.

In the evening we ventured out to the dancing fountains, we walked to the Mall of the Emirates which is near to our hotel and ate there first before wandering through the mall to the metro station, the mall is huge and HORRENDOUSLY busy! The metro was so handy though as the train directly went to the Dubai Mall, home of the fountains. Just like the Mall of the Emirates, Dubai Mall was huge and HORRENDOUSLY busy!!! (Dubai Mall is actually quite a lot bigger, housing 1200 shops!!!) We had to encounter 7 travelators from the station before we even reached the mall. Again, we made our way through the mall and found where the fountains were.
It was at this point that we got our first proper view of the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest tower.

We were about 10 minutes before the 9:00pm show so good timing, or so we thought! It was very popular and very busy all the way along, we kept walking and eventually found a tiny space. It started and was over in about a minute! I hadn't even managed to get a decent photo. People wandered away and we decided we hadn't travelled all that way for just 1 minutes entertainment! We had read mixed reviews about these fountains, people say some shows are disappointing so we decided to wait for the 9:30 show. We found a prime spot and stood firm! (People come along and try to shove you out of the way!) I'm so glad we waited, the next show was wonderful! The music was 'Time to say Goodbye' and it lasted for a few minutes. The fountains were graceful, my photos don't do them justice.

Although beautiful and as much as we did enjoy the second show I'm not sure they were really worth the 4 and a half hours outing!

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