April 25 and 26, 2023
The night before we sailed into Dubai was the last night in the casino for one of our dealers, Jeannette, and the casino manager, Tony. I will miss them both. Here are pictures of Jeannette and one of a group of the “usual suspects” in the casino. The casino and the boutiques have to be closed when we are in port.
We arrived in Dubai about 1 PM on Tuesday, April 25. Here are some pictures of the pilot arriving and of the sights when we arrived at the port. The tall building is the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. We have visited it twice before so won’t go up this time. Note the pollution in the air – it is almost always this way, but we did have a pretty nice view on our first visit in 2015.
We had an Around the World special event this afternoon and evening – a vintage evening at Al Maha Desert Dune. To our surprise we were picked up in 4 wheel drive vehicles – only 4 to a vehicle. So that meant they needed 110 vehicles to bring all of the guests and the members of the staff who attended to the event. What a convoy that made on the highway! Only in Dubai. It took about an hour to reach the desert area and all of the vehicles had to let some air out of the tires as we drove through sand. These same vehicles are used for the dune climbing which we have done in the past, so they are equipped with roll bars, etc. As we entered into the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, we spotted impalas and a large group of white oryx.
We first enjoyed a private falcon show at a sundowner site where we were treated to champagne and wine along with delicious dates, nuts, dried apricots and fresh strawberries. Stunning show and scenery. Peregrine falcons are the fastest members of the animal kingdom with a speed of 230 miles an hour. Their eyesight is what enables them to catch their prey. In the show, the trainer had a piece of meat in a pouch on a rope. He swung the rope and the falcon dove for it. He did this many times. When he finally allowed the falcon to grab the pouch, the falcon would not release the pouch until it got its meat. Very fascinating to watch. These days, the falcons have a GPS attached so that they don’t get lost. They are fed 20% of their weight when they come back from one of their flights. And they let them rest for 3 days. Imagine eating 20% of OUR body weight!
After the show and our sunset pictures, we got back into our vehicles and traveled a s short distance to the next site where we were greeted with the customary Arabic Bakhoor welcome with an Al Ayyala dance at the camp site. At both sites, the sand was covered with Persian rugs and there were cushions to sit on.
We had middle eastern appetizers at our tables and a buffet dinner under the stars. It was catered by the Al Maha Luxury Resort and Spa which is owned by the same people as Emirates Airlines. Drinks and food were plentiful and those who ate meat had all types of fresh grilled kebabs.
During and after dinner we were entertained with a traditional show of Tanoura dancing, live music of Oud and Tabla players, belly dancers and the skills of henna artists.
My henna got smudged when it was drying by a friend wanting to give me a high five! But it is still unique.
Ray, our current (and much loved ) cruise director, is leaving tomorrrow on his vacation and will re-join us for the end of the cruise festivities on the last leg of the cruise which starts in Tokyo. He did the transition to Dottie at this event.
It was a really fun night. We got back to the ship about 11 PM after a very fast drive!
Today was our second day in Dubai. Since we had been here many times before, we decided to take the shuttle bus to the Dubai Mall. This mall is quite unbelievable, almost all US stores are there and as many new ones that we never heard of. There are 1600 stores and restaurants. The city is growing all the time and it is spotlessly clean. The mall was quite empty when we arrived at about 9:20 AM but very crowded by the time we left. The mall is attached to the Burj Khalifa. There is a large aquarium and an ice skating rink as part of the mall. We could update and back up our devices fast (free wi-fi in the whole mall) and I had a wonderful manicure and pedicure. We bought some items we needed, some cosmetics that I ran out of and we got a lot of steps in too. We had a leisurely lunch and went back to the ship around 4, we sail at 7 so I had time to do my posting.
Tomorrow we visit our last port in the middle east, Fujairah.
What a fabulous Arabian night! You two really know how to have a wonderful time.
Good to see Dottie. She was our cruise director on a previous Oceania cruise.