March 26 – March 30, 2015
Finally, after nearly 7 months in Riyadh, I’m off to Dubai for a weekend getaway. I’ve been on a bunch of trips and adventures so far, but this is technically my first weekend away! I was lucky enough to get an extra day off on Sunday so I have a bit more time to relax in Dubai.
This weekend was crazy!!! So many people flocking to Dubai for the Dubai World Cup. The airport was the busiest I’ve ever seen an airport in my life!!!! It wasn’t bad getting out of Riyadh… my flights left on time. I had a stopover in Doha in Hamad International Airport… one of the newest and definitely the most gorgeous airport I’ve ever been to… and landed in Dubai around midnight.
The queue to go through immigrations was absolutely horrific!! Thousands of people crowding a massive hall that smelled so strongly of paint… waiting to go through one of about 20 different immigration counters. It took me well over an hour to get through immigrations… and all I really wanted to do was hit the duty free and then collapse in bed in my hotel. I’d worked all day Thursday so I was exhausted!!!
Anyways… I finally got out of the airport and then was stuck in traffic for a considerable period of time… because the JBR is ridiculously busy at midnight!!! But I finally made it to the hotel… my friend had checked in earlier that day and they upgraded us to the top floor to an executive suite… winning!!!
The next morning… I awoke to sunshine and beautiful blue skies and rich blue/turquoise water… white sand beaches… and bubbles!!! Bubbles for breakfast… every day. Because how else to you celebrate a weekend away in Dubai?!!!
Friday… the first day in Dubai… was all about Gaelic football. This was actually the purpose of coming to Dubai, specifically for the Gaelic football tournament, run by the Middle East GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association) It just happens to be on the weekend that coincides with the Dubai World Cup. Again… winning!!
Now, I know absolutely nothing at all about Gaelic football. I was meant to join the girl’s team in Riyadh but as it was so close to the end of the season, thought I might as well leave it for next season!
Basically, what wikipedia tells me is that Gaelic football is an Irish team sport, strictly amateur (none of the players are paid) played between 2 teams of 15 players each. The point is to score a goal by passing it through the other teams goal (3 points) or score points by between the goal posts above the crossbar (1 point). The ball, a round ball similar to a volleyball, is advanced across the field by kicking, bouncing, carrying, hand passing or soleing which is when one drops the ball and toe kicks it into the hands… The ball can be continuously soled, but cannot be kicked or bounced more than once in a row, and one cannot run more than 4 steps without doing something with the ball. Tackling is allowed.
Anyways… it definitely looks like good craic!!
We watched the girls team from Riyadh kick some serious ass… they dominated the games!!!! The guys were fun to watch also and did pretty good too… although not as good as the girls 😛
Sat up at the club bar and had some great drinks overlooking the pitch… So relaxing to just sit and sip an icy cold, refreshing G&T… or a nice cool beer… take in the sporting activities going on around me… grateful I don’t have to run around in the heat.
After the tournament was over, I went to the Meydan Grandstand box office to go buy tickets for the Dubai World Cup.
From the box office… the view of the city skyline, especially the Burj Khalifa, was amazing!!!! Finally a proper view of the Burj. Unfortunately, I won’t have time to visit it this trip… I guess it means I just need to make sure I go back to Dubai again!
Our first night out in Dubai was to the Irish Village for the Middle East GAA tournament awards evening. I’ve never been to the Irish Village but it’s definitely a favorite amoung expats in Dubai… especially Europeans… and especially the Irish! We had a great dinner… a live band… awards were handed out… made new friends and hung out with old friends…
Part two of the night: 360 club at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel… absolutely amazing!!! Set out in the water at the end of a long walkway out into the water… it has… obviously… 360 views of Jumeirah Beach and the Burj Al Arab… and the ocean around… city skyline… absolutely gorgeous!!! Beautiful way to finish the night!
The next morning… well… when in Dubai in the Jumeirah Beach Residence… one must definitely go for a beach run!!! And that’s what I did. Out the door of my hotel, relatively bright and early in the morning and down to the beach. Thankfully I’ve got sandproof shoes… because i’m not keen on running in shoes on the beach unless I know I’m not going to be sandpapering my toes! And not sure how sanitary it is to walk down the street to the beach in barefeet???
Anyways… beautiful morning at the beach. Warm and sunny. Gentle waves. Blue/green water. White sand.
And… so many parachutes dotting the sky from the many people jumping out of planes high in the sky above Dubai. The landing strip for Skydive Dubai was just down at the end of the beach near my hotel so I got to watch them slowly float down… so envious!!! I definitely want to skydive in Dubai!! One day soon! Maybe for my birthday next year?!!
So, after my beach run and breakfast, my friend and I headed out to the train station to take the train in to the Dubai Mall for some sightseeing and shopping. Don’t laugh… but this might be nearly the first time I’v ever taken public transit!!! Living more than an hour outside Vancouver, I’d actually have to drive 45min to the nearest sky train station, so I never take the train. Ever. So… new experience today! And I must say… it’s so convenient!!! Much cheaper than a taxi… and definitely more relaxing than driving and trying to find parking, etc!!!
The Dubai mall is AMAZING!!! Unfortuantely, we didn’t have much time to stay there… a quick browse around for accessories and such for our outfits to the Dubai World Cup… but we did briefly hang out by the aquarium… and saw the fountains… etc. Next time I’m going to do some serious damage here!
So… after checking out the Dubai Mall… we headed back to our hotel to get ready… wait for it… for the Dubai World Cup!!!!!!
You know what’s coming in the next post now!!!