Monday, 12 January 2009

The Dubai Mall Aquarium

Last week, we visited one of the largest Malls in the world. As always, out here, it just has to be the biggest or break some sort of world record . . . shame though that half of the retail space is still empty. I can honestly say that I have never seen such a concentration of coffee shops in my entire life! It is huge though and you really do need a map to navigate your way around.

The children were moaning about going "shopping" - clearly the dullest thing to do in their world - Ella was stropping and refused to walk. I cajoled and ultimately started to drag her and when we rounded the corner, funnily enough she came to life!

She saw the Dubai Mall Aquarium! It is enormous and fantastic. The acrylic panel is about 38m wide and about 8m high. It's huge! Behind it are some 80 species or marine life including sharks, stingray, beautiful (and ugly) fish! Initially, the children were actually quite scared - some of the fish are quite big and I suppose for a small person, this could be quite threatening. But, given a bit of time, they started to inch closer to the glass and see what they could discover.

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Here are some photographs of the children at the aquarium - which is free to view by the way - always a bonus! I have also tried to put together a couple of photographs which show just how large this aquarium is!

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Interestingly enough, E had a nightmare that night – apparently a shark was trying to get through her bedroom window!!  Who would have thought it would have brought on a bad dream!!

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Happy Moon

We thought we were being a bit stupid the other day when we looked at the moon and it looked totally different from the UK.  Then we realised that we weren’t being stupid, but after 30-odd years of looking at a crescent moon from one angle, given the different latitude and longitude on which we now live, we saw it very differently.

Here is last night’s Dubai moon – a little happy smiling face in the sky!

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New Year . . . Dubai Style

We are notoriously rather quiet at New Year.  Generally speaking, New Year’s Eve is a night where everyone is expected to go out and be happy – generally to a UK pub whilst the designated driver (usually me) drinks far too many diet cokes and has a sense of humour failure whilst listening to the drunkards slurring and repeatedly repeating themselves!  Sometimes, I’m just not in the mood and fancy an early night, especially as the children will always wake up sometime between 6and 7am! 

Now, before you think I’m such a misery, I don’t believe myself to be so, I just think that NYE is so often better for drinkers than non-drinkers!  Last year however, we spent a lovely night with our UK friends, just before embarking on this adventure – and I wasn’t the designated driver!

So, how would Dubai compare?  Well, fortunately, we have found some lovely people here in Dubai and we were invited to New Year at their villa.  They live so wonderfully close to the Jumeirah Beach Hotel that we were planning to go their villa for a party and then go up to their roof to watch the inevitable fantastic fireworks display at midnight.  A good plan!

However, it was not meant to be.  On 31 December, the Sheikh decreed that Dubai would cancel the regular festivities out of respect for the Palestinians.  Outdoor music was to be cancelled with definitely no fireworks.  Whilst it is clearly applaudable to think of others in dire need, I was looking forward to Dubai fireworks, especially as we had slept through the Atlantis fireworks earlier in the year!  But this year, it was just not meant to be and I don’t have any glorious photographs to post.

We continued as planned and had a lovely night with our friends.  Incidentally, at around 10pm, a thick wet fog descended upon Dubai, where visibility was about 20m, so had the fireworks been allowed, no-one would have seen a thing anyway!!

I have decided (although we still have to work out the logistics – both financial and otherwise), that I have to travel to Sydney to see their new year firework display on the harbour – and I am posting a photograph of Sydney Harbour below!  It’s on my “things to do before I die” list.

On that happy note, a Happy New Year to all.

sydney