It was an early rise as we left Oman for the UAE to hang out with the younger and brasher Dubai.
Dubai is like an adventurous new graduate out for a night of beaches, tequila and mayhem on Daddy’s credit card! It’s lavish and in your face, but measured and enterprising when its older brothers are in earshot. This is the land of bigger, taller and more impossible than anyone else; where competition is game and where, if you drop half a million GBP on an apartment, you’ll get a free Lamborghini to park on the drive!
We arrived on a cool February morning and this trip was beginning to feel a little bit ‘hashtag lads on tour’! Note the unimpressed passenger.
Whoever founded this establishment deserves a medal.
Our hotel was in the Al Barsha district, an optimistic stones throw from Jumeirah beach and the Burj Al Arab (the Sail Hotel) on the main road between Downtown on our right and New Dubai to the left.
First and foremost- WiFi!
The very reason we were all in Dubai in the first place was, of course, for our play and so after getting settled, we headed off to the theatre to
conduct some serious work fight over dressing rooms!
My attempts at capturing the auditorium were less than successful…
Maybe they knew I’d blog their pretty faces! I tried again….
…and after the Springbok and Gazelle had finally found pastures new…
This was to be our home for the week! A beautiful, intimate but deceptively large space with great facilities and a Costa Coffee front of house! How could we complain.
We unloaded our personals in the dressing rooms and took a whistle-stop tour of The Mall of the Emirates. For those unfamiliar, the Mall of the Emirates is a tiny inconsequential mall, lots of shops, restaurants and an indoor ski- centre, much like every other shopping complex you’ve seen. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture- probably because I was so distracted with the sheer audacity of it all that I simply forgot where I was…. in space and time! What planet was this?!
This from the telegraph should wet your appetite!
Malls are already on my radar for Room 101 and I had to escape back to normality. My route out of the mall took me through and out of the very opulent Kempinski Hotel, past the parked-up super cars, onto the highway and right in front of a local police car. A Lamborghini police car.
Still not finding anything remotely normal, I ordered some flowers for the room from a little flourist nearby- sadly not quite Emma Vowles Totnes but the best I could find in the given circumstances- and reached for some room service Dubai style!
I very safely spent a normal evening getting acquainted with the roof- top bar.
and our glorious views of Downtown. In the distance you can see, towering above the rest, the World’s tallest building- The Burj Khalifa. He’s the tall one in VIP with 20 empty bottles of Dom Pérignon Vintage!
The next morning we all hopped on a bus to the far end of the Palm for some very touristy water sliding at the Atlantis Water Park– out of season, of course, but blissfully quiet and with no queuing! The weather was glorious and there’s never a wrong time for a Mary Poppins reference.
As this is Dubai, I wasn’t at all surprised to find the vertical 100ft high water slide, titled ‘Leap of Faith’, that drops you through a shark tank at the bottom! When in Rome, I say.
You’ll be happy to know that I survived the Leap of Faith, as this certificate will testify.
With more of my life in tact than expected, and clearly on a winning streak, I decided to chance my odds of survival on the next death defying ride. I think we termed this the ‘Ring of Men’. Equally terrifying.
…and if you ever find yourself at a loss after accidentally lodging your shirt 40ft aloft in a palm tree (don’t ask!) then Jimmy, below, will be sure to lend his body weight to its retrieval.
The patient amongst us trialled the metro back to the hotel. The rest, myself included, hopped in taxis. Not before venturing to Starbucks for latte with a sprinkling of religious banter for the journey home.
An enormously fun first few days in Dubai!