Friday, November 24, 2006

A sleep over at the Burj Al Arab

I think that last night I was possibly one of Dubai's luckiest girls - well myself and three other girlfriends.

We had all finished our annual exams which can be quite stressful. Our assessments take place through exams and practical assessment, covering everything from initiating evacuations on the aircraft simulator (which rolls you from left to right with life-like gut churning accuracy) through to delivering babies and jumping down big slides from the aircraft. So yes, it can also be a little bit of fun too!

Here we were, out on the town celebrating one more year until we hit the books again. The four of us were on a nightclub roof top (which is almost a club in in itself, in that it has two bars, a dance floor and pillow packed lounges all around) sipping on our cocktails when luck shone down on us in the guise of two extremely humorous men from America (something which I wasn't sure existed). After giving them the once over, which even the CIA would have been proud, we were able to establish that their intentions were honest and it was only our company which they sought. We were treated to bubbles and cocktails for the rest of the evening which were bought to us at their table. My first taste of VIP treatment and it didn't taste too bad!

At the end of the evening one of the men announced that we were all very welcome to come back to their hotel to continue the celebrations. Images of a dank, rundown Motor Inn with a vibrating bed filled my head. As we all begin feigning yawns and mumblings of an "early night" the yanks quickly informed us their place of residence for the next three nights was at room 301 in the Burj Al Arab (, and their Rolls Royce was waiting to take us from from the club to the hotel. "Sure sure" we said, "we're Australian girls and you cant pull the wool over OUR eyes, but just to make sure we'd better check this car out".

Sure enough the Rolls was there, and so too was the room at the Burj. It was outrageous. More gold than even Mr T could handle and it was certainly the first time I'd been in a hotel room which had a spiral staircase (hell, I could even slide down it! See picture).

They were true gentlemen, offering us the pullout lounges for sleeping arrangements and in the morning kept insisting we order breakfast (but with our morning-after panda eyes we declined and did a very brisk walk of shame out of the hotel).

The whole experience was like a Pretty Woman-esque, fish out of water, dream sequence where the humble girl/s meet filthy rich slightly older but handsome man/men (minus the prostitution element).

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Meet the parents

My parents leave tomorrow after having spent a week here in Dubai visiting me and checking out the sites and sand of this fair city.

We had a yummy Lebanese meal one evening outside by the water, at one of my favourite places The Blue Barjeel. The food is so tasty and cheap as chips! My mouth waters thinking about it. Hmmm.....

Mum and dad also had their first taste of sheesha (the water pipe) before we all jumped on an Abra (a traditional, although now motorised, wooden boat which takes you from one side of the creek to the other) leading us to the Spice and Gold Souks.

It's mind blowing to think that all the gold jewellery hanging in the windows twinkling under the lights is real. There were no purchases made on this occasion (much to one man's delight!) but it's still fun to go in and try on all the different types of bling and ask for more ostentatious examples of their wares.

Yesterday we drove out to the Hatta pools which was a first time for me as well. Only an hour out of Dubai and we were surrounded by rocky mountainous terrain and flowing water! I'm not always a believer that the journey can be as interesting as the destination but this time was a little different. During our drive we spotted in front of us a herd of camels making a brisk beeline from the desert onto the highway. Luckily the police were nearby and used their siren and flashing lights to heard the adventurous camels back into the safe surrounds of their sandy home.

If only these 'ships of the desert' were aware of how often their mates are accidentally hit by cars (especially at night). I met a guy recently who ended up in hospital with injuries and had to write off his car after a camel ran onto the highway and straight into his path late one evening.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Groove Armada in the sand

20 minutes on the bus from our apartment and we were out in the desert arriving at our destination, the Groove Armada concert under the stars. It was a very well organised event (unusual for Dubai) and the weather couldn't have been more perfect which is making for a welcome change!

The highlight of the evening - paying an extra DH100 for a "VIP" ticket which included the added "luxury" of access to a wooden viewing platform two steps up from the ground. How stupid was I to even consider that it might include a couple of free drinks. A small detail which was clarified for me after waltzing up to the bar and waving my super special uber-exclusive VIP wrist band demanding my free drinks.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Horsing around

A couple of nights ago a few of the girls and I helped my housemate, and friend, Lauren celebrate her birthday.

We bought her some horse riding lessons. Lauren used to do professional show jumping so I don't think we will be offering her any tips if we also go along for the ride.

I wasn't sure how we could best present this gift to her, until I found a little boxed Lego scene of a horse, it's owner and his accessories (complete with not one but TWO whips!?).

The plastic horse and its rider were presented over dumplings and noodles, all went down a treat.