Our last guests have officially come and gone. This past week we had the privilege to have Nana and Grandpa Schroeder, my in-laws, join us in Dubai. I cannot believe that we are already finished with our last set of visitors and now have just a couple of weeks before we head back to the States for good. We had a ton of fun with Pam and Keith and got the chance to visit a couple of new places, eat delicious foods (and ice cream), play roughly one million games of Settlers of Catan (Pam’s new favorite) and even check some things off of our bucket list!
On day one, we headed over to Deira and the Old City to do some exploring and take the infamous 1 DHS ($0.27 USD) Abra ride. Prior to crossing, we walked through the Dubai Museum, which was on the bucket list, and learned more about the city’s short history. It was amazing to see how small Dubai was just 40 years ago! You can see some more of the information below, but after 1894 is really when the economy started to take off here. After our history lesson, we rode the abra over to the Gold Souk where Pam hit the jackpot on a beautiful wedding band, from her “lovie”. We were pretty excited with the find and got a great deal thanks to Layne doing some wheelin’& dealin’!
On the second day, Monday, Layne had to work all day and then had a work dinner that night. Pam, Keith, Caden and I decided we would check off another bucket list item and headed to the Dubai Zoo for an afternoon of cheap fun! Caden really loved the zoo. His favorite animals were the flamingos, ostriches and the chimpanzee. I honestly think he could have sat and watched the ostriches all day long, but to be honest, they kind of creeped the rest of us out! Their huge wrinkly feet, eye balls that go completely white when they blink and their foul odor were all qualities that just turned me off! Caden wasn’t fazed. He also loved the chimp and the chimp’s love was returned quite equally! The chimp kept laying on the glass right next to Caden’s head and would hit on it to get his attention. It was hilarious! Every now and then Caden would get a little scared, but it was great fun for everyone watching. The zoo was nothing like those in the USA. It was much smaller, housing only around 230 species, and was much much older as far as building structure and cages are concerned, but it was really clean and easy to walk through with a toddler. The weather was perfect that afternoon and with it only being 2 DHS ($0.54 USD) to get in, who can complain!
That evening we jumped on the metro and headed to my favorite- Lime Tree Cafe, so that Pam and Keith could try the AMAZING carrot cake! They loved it and agreed that the cake was simply spectacular. We even brought a piece home for Layne to try too! Post dinner, we ventured over to the park in JLT, Jumeriah Lake Towers, to show Nana and Grandpa Caden’s stomping grounds.
On day three and four, Layne headed back into work for two half days. The rest of us took the mornings to rest up and get some quality play time in with Caden. On Tuesday afternoon we all went to JBR for some fun in the sun. Due to Caden only being able to last in the sun for a short period of time, we didn’t get to catch many rays, but we did have fun jumping waves and finding sea shells! Wednesday afternoon the men went skiing at Ski Dubai in the Mall of the Emirates and Pam, Caden and I took a long journey on the Metro to Deira City Center, where we enjoyed an afternoon tea. Caden was quite hysterical at the tea, probably due to a short nap. He woke up mad at the world and all he wanted to do was devour all of the chocolate bites on our tea tower…giving in, he indeed tasted each dessert option, possibly even doubling up on one! (Bad mommy moment) Regardless, we enjoyed ourselves and met back up with the guys to head home for tacos and another game night.
On Tuesday night, Nana and Grandpa babysat Caden and Layne and I got to have a date night! We checked off another item on the bucket list and headed to VOX cinemas at Mall of the Emirates to see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Honestly, I didn’t think I would enjoy this “Harry Potter” type of movie, but I found it to be quite good and was glad Layne picked it! We watched the 3D showing and the whole experience was awesome! First off, you have to book your seats a head of time at the theater to get a good spot. The rooms are HUGE and the screens are really hard to explain, unless you see them…they are massive! There is also a gold class in the seating chart, where you can get a blanket and a butler to refill your popcorn when needed…only in Dubai right? We didn’t go for the upgrade, but sat directly in the middle of the room with our Cheetos popcorn (YES CHEETOS!) and it was delicious! The theater even had a kids section that showed only children’s movies. I wasn’t sure how it worked, but it was miniature and looked like you could just drop your kids for an afternoon movie, while you went to see your own. Oh, you could also do a dinner movie, where you got served a meal while watching! We didn’t even look into that option, but I am sure it was a pretty penny. Soaking up our date night experience, we finished the movie and headed out for drinks. We decided to go to a Ladies Night, so that I could sip for free and we would only have to pay for Layne. We went to the Horizon Lounge at Habtour Grand and enjoyed a lovely date under the stars with serenades from a live saxophone player!
On Thursday morning we met up with Henry and his family for breakfast brunch at Fraiche in JLT. Layne and I love breakfast food, so this was right up our alley. I would definitely recommend this to anyone in the area, because for 75 DHS you can have all you can eat breakfast items…and I mean real breakfast items, not lunch/dinner brunch, like most places offer here. I enjoyed an Acai berry bowl, half of a “breakfast surprise” which was french toast with a poached egg on top, half of a thin piece of salmon with a poached egg on top and half of a yummy banana bread french toast to top off the meal. I felt like I had to be rolled out of there! Even better yet, Caden and Henry got to burn off some energy and have a little play date! We sure are going to miss him and his family when we leave!
After a power nap, we then headed to the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. This time I wanted to get the full experience and so Pam and I wore the full dress, offered by the mosque. I was completely shocked with how well it fit me! It was long enough in the body and in the arms! Maybe I should wear those every day! HA!
On their last day, Friday, we took them to our church here in Dubai for a wonderful service where we heard about what it means to say you are a Christian, not just to talk the talk, but to walk the walk. We heard the story of Lady Jane Grey who died when she was 16, because she openly believed in Jesus. It was quite an interesting story, one that I had never heard of before. After church, we headed to the Ripe Market at Zebeel Park, which is a huge and beautiful park down by the World Trade Center. There, we munched on some freshly baked goods and did a little shopping before heading back to pack up and of course, play more games. Friday was National Day here, so there were several people out celebrating the 45 years since the Emirates became a nation. We tried to book a reservation for dinner, but everything was packed! So instead, we settled for dining in and an evening walk to end the week with a relaxing night as a family.
This morning we sent them off on their way back to Ohio, where we too will be in about 2.5 weeks. I cannot say it enough, we are so blessed to have this opportunity here in Dubai and it has flown by so quickly! We sure are going to miss all of our traveling fun!