Our good friends, and fellow expats, from Midland, Greg, Vicki, Gage and Reese Bunker hopped on a plane from Singapore and made their way to Dubai! Lucky us! We were able to spend two days with them here in Dubai/Abu Dhabi and had a blast. It was so great to see familiar faces!
On day 1 we stayed quite busy, with our first stop at The Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. It took us a little over an hour to drive to the mosque, but was definitely worth it! It was amazing to see how people from all over the world came together to build this beautiful structure. As hot as it was outside, Vicki and I had to wear our long sleeves and pants, along with our scarves covering our hair, in order to get in. We were melting underneath the layers, let me tell ya! We all joined a tour that started at 10 am and were walked through the side of the mosque, into the great hall.
The main hall houses 96 pillars and also displayed a colorful floral carpet that was created by 300 women. The carpet is shaved to create ridges, where the Muslim people are required to line up to pray. There are seven chandeliers in the main hall, which represent the 7 Emirate emirs (states)- Abu Dhabi (the capitol), Ajman, Fujairah, Sharjah, Dubai, Ras al-Khaimah and Umm al-Qaiwain. In the center of the hall is the “mother chandelier” that weighs over 12 tons and holds yellow, green and red globes made of 24 carrot gold.
The clock you see below was made in the United States and shipped to the Mosque. It has six times on it, which display the times of the Muslim prayers. The first time is the sunrise and then the five prayer times after that.
According to the website, the purpose for the creation of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is to 1.) Emphasize on the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan’s noble deeds and contributions to humanity, in a way that commemorates his legacy and memory. 2) Cooperating with research centers as well as religious, educational and cultural institutions 3.) Enhance cross-cultural communication and introduce the Center as a cultural tourism destination.
The Sheikh was not alive for the unveiling of the Mosque, but was who started it from scratch. In 2007 it opened to the public for prayer and worship and can accommodate more than 40,000 worshipers.
Upon building the bright white marble building, there were “more than 38 contractors and thousands of workers involved with completing various elements of the structure and decoration. Materials were also sourced from many countries including Greece, Italy, Germany, China, Austria, India and New Zealand to name a few.”
After the mosque, we headed out for lunch and Caden and Reese had the chance to do a little car racing together…in one tiny car…in their blue matching outfits.
Once we wrapped up lunch we made our way to Ferrari World, out on Yas Island. Layne and I didn’t really know anything about Ferrari World before hand, but we are sure glad we went! We had a blast riding the worlds fastest roller coaster- Formula Rossa. This coaster shoots out at a top speed of 239 km/h (149 mph)! I can attest, it is extremely fast! My spit was all over my face and my eyes wouldn’t stop watering when we finished! And no, Caden didn’t make it on to any roller coasters…we all took turns watching the little dude and it worked out perfectly! Vicki had the magic touch and was able to put him to sleep. The kid didn’t want to miss a thing!
The fun didn’t stop there. Once we left Ferrari World, we drove into Abu Dhabi and visited Sheikh Zayeds old palace. This place has since been turned into a hotel (The Emirates Palace Hotel), but the public is allowed to come visit and walk through. It was quite beautiful and I can honestly not imagine living in a place that big! I would never find anything! The view from the palace was to die for as well. The super shiny buildings looked like they were from the future or something crazy.
Due to the insufficient amount of space for the current Sheikh, they are building a new Palace, which will be “bigger and better”! Cannot wait to see what that one entails!
Layne headed into work for a half day and the Bunkers did a little exploring on their own on Monday. Then we all met up at the Mall of the Emirates for another new experience at Ski Dubai. Being that I am not a skier (that’s another story in itself) and the fact that someone had to watch the little man, Caden and I decided we would let everyone else hit the slopes and instead explore the mall. We ended up finding a new soft play area where we played for 25 Dhs ($6.75) for one hour. Awesome deal! We stopped at Costa Coffee, of course, went to the play area and did a little shopping of our own. We then met up with Vicki at the perfect secret Costa spot, to watch the guys go up the lift.
The mall doesn’t have it set up very well to watch the skiers, so I had to take their word for it, but Layne said “It was no Vail, but we had a lot of fun skiing in a desert!” After all, he only fell once! Check that one off the bucket list!
Speaking of the list, we are cruzing right along on that! Here’s to more experiences with wonderful friends, cheers!
To read more about the4Bunkies, visit their blog about their trip here and their expat life in Singapore! I told Vicki to give ya’ll a detailed post about our trips, so I didn’t have to 🙂 Thanks Vicki!! xo