We're really sad to be saying goodbye to Bahrain but the next leg of our adventure was calling. Our flight to Dubai was with Air Arabia from Bahrain Airport and flying into Sharjah Airport in Dubai. Bahrain Aiport is a lovely airport, spotlessly clean with everything you need. I've not seen it elsewhere, but, there is a large play area for children that has plenty to keep little people occupied and potentially tire them out before a flight. Good shout in my opinion. When the kids were little and I took them to Austrtalia, at the stop over in Singapore I suggested they run up and down the rolling road the wrong way. Worked a treat, the pair of them fell asleep within minutes of boarding the plane to Australia. We were the only people there and they were knackered after 6 hours! Anyway, I digress... Back to current trip. Although you can check in online, you still have to do it at the terminal. We'd booked airport assistance online but we were a little surprised when we were told Mildred had to be shrink wrapped before she could be loaded. Its the first time weve come across this, and poor Mildred is most probably trauamtised by the whole experience. Generally Mildred travels for free on planes, lucky mare, on this occasion we were asked to pay for her. It was only 6 Dinar (about£12) with the shrink wrapping being 2 Dinar.
Waving goodbye to Bahrain we settled in for our next leg. The flight was only an hour and the seats were really comfortable. A rather tasty chicken and Mayo sandwich was ordered by Dai for Si and I but weirdly, because they were taking a return flight, they were unable to order food for themselves! As we're flying over the desert we could see massive properties seemingly in the middle of nowhere, but with a rather good road system running through them. We landed in Sharjar Airport at 11.45ish Dubai time, and wheeled through arrivals only stopping to get our Visas and photos taken from customs, and then off to collect the baggage and Mildred. My first ipression of Dubai is that the people weren't particularily friendly and were pushing and shoving, and the way they were looking at us actually made me feel a little uncomfortable. We unwrapped Mildred outside as the assistance guy had to get back to work and waited for an Uber to take us to our hotel, home for the next 6 nights. The roads are huge and don't seem to be as bad as Bahrain, traffic and driver wise. Driving out of the airport all the roadsides are lush and green and perfectly manicured. Palm trees line the roadsides, kept weed free by white circular borders and lots of busy maintenance men. The roundabouts are covered in plants and trees and it all looks really nice. A few miles up the road, it comes to a stop, and you are surrounded by building sites, and desert until you get into the city.
The main reason for our Dubai trip is for the Rugby Sevens which start on Friday, but since we have a day or so either side of the tournament it makes sense to do some sightseeing. We are Staying at The Arabian Park Hotel and were able to check in early. Dubai has a visitors tax i guess you'd call it , and you pay for the number of nights you are staying. having finished with the paperwork we found our friends in the bar. They'd travelled overnight from the UK and landed a few hours before us. They were hanging tired but elected to carry on regardless. Troopers! By comparison, Dai, Caz, Si and I were positively perky as our day only started at 6am and our flight was considerably shorter. After a quick drink with the rest of the gang we elected to hit The Metro and get into Dubai. I mentioned that the roads were good, when i say that i actually mean the main drag was good, Dubai , like Bahrain, its a mass of construction, with lots of it left half finished, and that incluides the pavements. It was easier to walk on the road as Mildred isnt great on Cross country, she gets stuck.
The Metro is a gold roofed affair and rather splendid, I do love a bit of shiny on a building it has to be said. It's accessible to all with lifts and escalators and you purchase a day ticket, two day etc, whatever you need to suit your needs. Getting on board is simple, the metro is behind glass doors that open once its in the station. The stops are announced prior to entering the station so you know when to hop off, if you know where you're going. We had Mad Bastard Tours inc. who knew where we were going so we follwed the guide. I really can't recomend them highly enough.
We got off the Metro at the Mall, and then walked what seemed to Si who was pushing me, to be several miles. Some really stunning boutique shops inside, along with an Aquarium, as you do, a food hall and some spectacular fabric shops. One of my favorites was a Diamond store that has won awards for the most diamonds on a lipstick case amongst others! Fair play they were stunning and given the store was next to the lifts, whilst waiting for it to arrive i was able to take in the beautiful shiny's.
Our destination was the At The Top Burj Khalifa The tallest buliding in the world at 555 metres. you can buy tickets online prior to going, but you still have to que to collect the tickets. No pushchairs are allowed, laptops, vapes and sharp objects are kept in a secure locker in the reception area where you get the tickets. The admission fee was 1106.00 AED( £237.96) and for that we got Sky VIP stickers, which gave us access to the top, arabian coffee in a little room before the tour and a walk through displays of the history of the building and how it came into being. It's totally accessible, and people magically appear to escrt you through the tour on the different levels. when you reach the top, a number of people at a time are allowed through to look out and take photographs. The ticket covers you for 2 hours, which is enough to see the lot if you so wished. The view is spectacular, and Dubai looks magical from that height. We missed the sun actually setting but caught the final glow of it over the city. From 1800hrs the musical Fountains start below, and from our viewpoint they were very good. (I think seeing them at level was better, but that's just me)
Whilst waiting for your turn to view, you are given more coffee, soft drinks dates and fig rolls. Proper ones, not the ones you get in Tesco!! Do you remeber the Ferrero Roche Advert that had the chocolates all piled up into a tower? well that's exactly how the fig rolls were stacked. They didnt stay that way long as a plaque of locusts descended on them and demolished them in a matter of minutes. To be fair, there were a fair few people up there. Once we'd taken all the photos we wanted, and filled up on dates and fig rolls (yes we were a part of the locusts) we made our way back down. You have the option to stop at each level, we declined as some of the gang hadn't joined the tour and were sat down in a restaurant waiting for us enjoying the fountains and a beer. We were also bloody starving, half the gang hadnt eaten all day and were also absolutely exhausted.
The rest Gang were waiting for us in Abd el Wahab A Lebonese restraunt named after the the street it's located on in Lebanon. The restaurant is located underneath the Burj khalifa and has outside tables from where you can watch the musical fountains. The table had to be vaccated by 19.30 hours for the next booking to come in and sample the menu and take in the fountains. As there were no available tables outside we ate inside. The menu is linked in the name of it above and, as you can see its substantial. The portion sizes are extremely generous and our waiter Rabin was splendid, very nice, and also aided in the selection of our starters and mains. I for one am very glad he intervened because they were huge. Warm fresh made pitta breads were bought out to accompany the meal and they were damn good. At the end of the meal he asked for a review which I provided and for the five star rating we were given deserts for free. Oh my days they were goooooood. When we left the restraunt the Burj Khalifa was lit up and changed colours which was quite a sight.
With another full belly and some long blinks we made our way back to the metro station. oh my god i began to think we were never going to get there. Everyone had slowed down, we lost them due to the lifts and each floor of the Mall was a different layout. At last we were at the station and thankfully the Metro ran every two minutes. I think Bob had been on the Tequila because he was REALLY showing off on the metro. To give him credit, his gymnastic skills are pretty impressive.
We were all so tired our tired was tired and i think we were all grateful to arrive at our stop. The short walk to the hotel passed without incident and that was me done like a kipper. Up in the lift for Bedfordshire ready for another day tomorrow.
Much Love Flairey. x