Day two in Dubai we decided to head to the Aquaventure water park at the Atlantis Palm resort and we were so glad we did. We briefly explored the impressive hotel before making our way to the water park. The cue to get in was massive and therefore we were expecting the cues for all the slides to be massive as well but we were wrong. At most we had 5 people in front of us when waiting to go down a slide. Most slides we could just turn up and ride away without waiting in any line. This is because there is so much to do at the water park and its so big that everyone is spread out. In addition to the main slides, there are tons of little beach style areas with lounge chairs, there is a children's area with calmer slides, there is a "rapids" attraction where you float all around the park and pass through little rapids. We were brave and tried out the "Leap of Faith" which is basically a completely vertical slide and very scary! You end up going through an enclosed part of the shark tank as well. Lets just say we only had enough courage to go on that slide once. One of our favorites was the "shark attack" ride where you end up in an enclosed case in an aquarium and float through with all the fish swimming around. It was a very neat and unique idea. We tested out our new waterproof camera and got some fun photos as well!
This was our first "honeymoon" type activity that we did and it felt quite relaxing although I was getting quite nauseous near the end with all the being thrown around! We were really happy that we decided to spend a majority of the day here and thought it was worth every penny of the overpriced admission. It felt like the Disneyland of water parks.
We then went to Madinat Jumeirah which is this area near the water that is made to look traditional. It was next to the water with lots of nice restaurants and a traditional souk with merchants selling lots of souvenirs and clothing and so on. After browsing the restaurant menus, we found a nice Lebanese restaurant to sit down and have dinner. We chose to sit outside and as they sat us, another waiter from another restaurant in the area (we couldn't even see where the restaurant was) came over with a menu and said that the outside space is for all the restaurants to share and that we can choose from his restaurants menu as well. It was a very awkward and uncomfortable situation because we specifically liked the look of the menu (and prices) of the one we chose so we had no interest in eating from anywhere else. He seemed quite desperate. The waiter from the restaurant we chose came by to see if we were ready and the waiter from the other restaurant just stood right beside him and then started showing us every single page of his restaurant's menu to try and get us to pick something. He told us that they have "nachos, burgers, wings" and other foods we were not interested in. It was so uncomfortable and awkward and not a very pleasant dining experience because we felt a bit bad for rejecting him but we chose the restaurant we chose for a reason. Once he got lost, we started to enjoy the atmosphere. Our meals were MASSIVE and our bill came to something crazy like £12/$18! We couldn't believe how cheap it was especially considering the setting of being by the water and with a view of the Burj Al Arab (the famous 7 star hotel that is shaped like a sail) in the background. It was a perfect end to a perfect day.
On our final full day, we decided to start off by taking it easy and lounged by the pool. We worked on our tans for a couple of hours (oh yes, life is tough) and then we got ready to go visit the world's tallest building: the Burj Khalifa. We were so glad we pre booked this before we even started our trip because all the time slots to go up were sold out for at least the next couple of days. This attraction is called "At The Top" and it takes you to the 124th floor of the building. The elevator shoots you straight up and really builds it up with dark and futuristic lighting. When the doors of the elevator opened and we got out on the 124th floor, our knees immediately stiffened and locked up. We were terrified and found it difficult to get ourselves to the edge of the windows but we got there in the end. The worst bit was the exterior part that had wooden beams on the floors that were bouncy and creaky and didn't feel safe at all. We got the views and photos we wanted from the exterior bit and then got the heck inside. We chose a perfect day to go up because it was very clear and you could see a lot of the famous buildings. We managed to capture a photo of me heel clicking as well!!
We then went back down to earth and wandered around Dubai Mall- the world's largest mall. We got some more cheesecake chocolates from Patchi and we tried these amazing buns called Papparoti which are basically a warm bun with a caramel and coffee flavor coating and a filling of butter that oozes out. It's so naughty but soooo good! So much for losing weight on this trip!!
We watched the very impressive Dubai fountains some more and then I got a call from Farhan whom I went to high school with. He currently resides in Dubai and we met up and went for a coffee. Crazy to think it has been pretty much 9 years since we have seen each other! But very cool to be meeting up on another side of the world!
Today we depart Dubai and arrive in Kathmandu. So we are basically going from one of the richest countries in the world to one of the poorest. It will be a crazy culture shock and we can't wait! From hereon in, we will be slumming it. Lets just say our hotel in Kathmandu cost £3 a night. We will have to sleep with our mouths closed so no creepy crawlies find their way in!
As mentioned, Dubai has been an interesting city. The city itself is absolutely MASSIVE and then so is everything within it! The world's tallest building, the world's biggest mall, huge luxurious hotels...it's definitely not a place for backpackers (we got PLENTY of stares when we were traveling with our backpacks). But we did enjoy it and it felt like a "honeymoon" place to be in as we got some sun, some swimming, nice meals etc, relaxation. But it may as well have been Vegas, Florida, Beverly Hills or all 3 combined. All that is missing is a Cheesecake Factory...or so we thought!!! We researched it a bit late and realized there is one here, and not just any but the world's biggest (but of course). We are completely kicking ourselves for not researching this before we departed! But I guess the cheesecake flavor chocolates from Patchi satisfied our cheesecake cravings for the time being.
So now we are at Dubai airport, terminal 2, one of the dingiest terminals we have been in (besides maybe Heraklion!). Check in was an absolute nightmare with only ONE agent checking in TWO international flights with only 2.5 hours to go! They finally got some more staff on about half an hour after and for some reason we got pulled out of the middle of the cue and put in the beginning of a new one. We felt really bad bypassing everyone but I think it's because we had only backpacks and everyone in front of us (all Nepalese men), had massive amounts of luggage and cardboard boxes so we must have been easy to move?? We were starving so we were just happy to be checked in. We enjoyed one last sinful meal (which I wont mention what) and now Perry and I are becoming vegetarians for a majority of the remainder of the trip (even though I don't eat much meat as it is) and certainly for the rest of the week as we are doing a trek and want to be in tip top condition for it (ie, no diarrhea and upset stomachs!). So here is to city 3, country 3 of our honeymoon adventure and to no more meat for a while!