Thursday, 22 May 2014

Dubai to Manchester with EK 17.

I checked in at Staff Travel Dubai early in the morning, to get flight EK 17 bound for Manchester due to depart at 07.25. It was an A380 and there were a few Economy seats spare so I got on with out any problem.
Again the new menu has the FIFA world cup logo on it.  
Two services were done on this flight the first was Breakfast;
Continental Breakfast;
Fruit,
Breakfast Deli Platter, sliced pastrami, chicken breast, gouda cheese, potato salad.
Croissant
Tea and Coffee.
Then no sooner had you had that when we were served Lunch;
Appetiser; Sweet corn and Vegetable Salad.
Main ; Roasted Chicken with onion sauce, mash, peas and carrots. OR
            Fish Biryani.
Dessert; Banana Hazelnut Cake. with fresh cream and passion fruit.
Tea and Coffee and a Chocolate.
I ate all the food I was given and watched the end on Mad Men Series 6 and Saving Mr Banks on ICE and with that we were landing into Manchester. How times fly's when your having fun.

Dubai May 2014. The Public Beaches of Dubai and Indugence at The One & Only Royal Mirage Spa


When you tell people you are going to Dubai they ask about the beaches and the shopping.
The beaches, The Arabian Gulf is a beautiful part of the world, with emerald sea and white beaches, BUT many of the new hotel complexes that have been built as beach resorts in Dubai have resulted in much of the beach being off limits to the general public. over the next two days we visited Public Beaches. Starting with the beach close to the Burg El Arab, also know as The Kitesurfing Beach and Umm Suqeim Public Beach. This is such an iconic view of the Burg that many coach loads of tourists stop here for 'the photo', then move on.
The surf was high today and most people on the beach had rented surf boards from a surf shack further up the road and were out catching waves. There are changing rooms and toilets on this beach but no umbrella or sunbed rental. It was really windy and soon we were fed  up of being sand blasted so made our way to Dubai's newest public beach.

Public beach and Burg in Dubai
Public beach and sand Burg in Dubai
 The Walk at Jumeirah Beach has been open for a while, but it has been extended to include the beach. there are restaurants, shops, a new shopping mall, on open air cinema, it has seating in and out doors. New public bathrooms and changing facilities. A rubberised running track with exercise machines runs parallel to the sea. There is a large grassy area perfect for picnics, the beach as umbrellas to rent, I am unsure about sun beds. But best of all for children (or adults who haven't grown up!) there is a large inflatable obstacle course in the sea.
On the beach were these sand sculptures, they must have been there a while as some were quite eroded, but they were still really good.
Dubai in sand and real

Dubai

Dubai

The Walk Dubai

We went up to the One and Only Hotel to book a spa treatment for the next day and enjoyed sun downers on the beach then ate a South African Restaurant at the Habtoor Grand later.
The next day we spent the morning at a the Jumeirah Open Beach, this beach has changing rooms, toilets, showers, umbrellas and sunbeds to rent as well as a 1.8KM running track. It was really pleasant on this beach despite the view of the docks.
I love afternoon tea and was thrilled to hear that Fortnum and Mason have opened a store in the Dubai Mall. We went and indulged in Afternoon tea before going back to the spa  at the One & Only Royal Mirage. We had chosen this spa as it has a Hammam.We opted for the Signature Experience 'The Compete Oriental Experience'.
The Hammam at The One & Only Spa, Royal Mirage, Dubai
Firstly we arrived early and used the facilities, plunge pool, sauna and relaxation room. then we were escorted into the Hammam. Here we were cleansed with traditional Moroccan Black soap, it smelt of Eucalyptus. We waited in the steam room as the soap bubble up for about 20 mins. Then in the heart of the Hammam, on the marble slab our body's were vigorously scrubbed with a Loofah glove then we were sluiced with warm water. Laying back on the warm slab our bodies were coated with Ghassoul Mud, and a Honey face mask applied. After 30 mins were again sluiced with the warm water so that all traces of the mud was removed, hair washed, conditioned, and wrapped in a towel we were led into the relaxation room to enjoy Moroccan Tea and Dates. We then had a full body massage in a private room. The treatment lasted well over 2 hours and it was heaven!
So all to soon my weekend of indulgence was over and it was time for me to go home and for my Dolly with the Trolley to go to Sydney / Auckland.

Dubai May 2014. Wadi Adventure and Bab Al Sharms Desert Resort.

I have visited Dubai many times, each time it changes. New buildings are completed, and others start to rise from the sand. New forms of public transport such as the Metro are  stating to take shape and being added to with new bus routes, water taxies and a tram system. New entertainment is constantly being developed and during my weekends visit I did lots of new activities and visited places I had not been to before. Today I was taken to Wadi Adventure, this is a water park located in the Oasis town of Al Ain. It is 120 KM south of Dubai and took about 1 1/2 hours to dive to it. Due to its location it is not at all busy.  
Map of Wadi Adventure Park, Al Ain.
 At this water park you can Raft, Kayak and Surf. There are three white-water rapids available. Those of you who read this blog will know that I had an accident in New Zealand white-water rafting so I have no intention of repeating that experience, I just looked on!
 
 The surfing takes place in a pool that has the largest man made waves in the world, and the waves looked good.

Adult Pool








Wadi Adventure also has an Airpark that includes a climbing wall, high rope course, zip line and a 33ft falling swing. It is a fantastic facility and if it was located in Dubai it would not be as quiet as it is.
After surfing we drove to the desert resort of Bab Al Sharms. This was a stunning hotel and spa set in the Arabian Desert.

The Al Sarab Rooftop Lounge


After having sun downers at the Al Sarab Rooftop Lounge, we were taken by an electric trolley bus to another part of the resort and shown into the Al Hadheerah restaurant. This was outside and decorated in Bedouin style. The selection of food was extensive and delicious and we watched Whirling Dervishes, Belly Dancers, a Camel Show and finally an Arabian Horse Show.

Flight EK 22, Manchester to Dubai. A fun filled weekend in Dubai.

I did not know what was going on with the roads around Manchester as I headed to Manchester Airport for a weekend break in Dubai. I knew the flight was not full so left home early to get my standby flight. But even at 06.30 in the morning and due to an earlier car crash on the M 62 the M6 was congested. In truth it would have been quicker to walk to Manchester Airport! Due to this massive traffic jam I almost missed my flight to Dubai. At 09.05 I ran to the check in desks at Terminal 1, quite expecting check in to be closed, but I was lucky; one desk was still open and the man in charge let me check in.
So boarding card in hand, I cleared customs and security. Today was the day when they subjected me to a full and very though body search. I then took the long walk to the gate where an Emirates 777 stood. Boarding was well under way, so I wasted no more time and was in my seat on EK 22 by 09.35. Very promptly at 09.55 the aircraft pushed back and I was on my way to see my daughter and a fun weekend in Dubai.
 
The new Emirates Menu with the FIFA World Cup Logo. 
This was the first time I had flown on EK 22, it is scheduled to depart at 10.00 and arrives in Dubai at around 20.00. Even thought its is a short flight you have two services; Lunch then Afternoon Tea. I used the ICE system and watched half of Mad Med Series 6 on this flight and in no time at all the aircraft was descending into Dubai.