Barbara Enjoying Sights from the Deck
It’s official! We are Kat Trackin’ to amazing Antarctica. The continent is 600 miles away from its closest continental neighbor, South America. It is earth’s southernmost continent, containing the geographic South Pole.
Our 14 night cruise will be on Celebrity Cruise Line’s “Eclipse” – Feb 2 – 16, 2020. We are holding all veranda staterooms with a few “Concierge Class” staterooms in the mix. This cruise begins and ends in Buenos Aires, Argentina. If you have never been there you may want to spend a night or two pre or post cruise enjoying this fair city.
Sign ups have already begun…. If you would like to join us; let me hear from you.
The only 7 Star Hotel in the world
Elevator, Down Please
Kat and Ann
Nathan Outlaw’s Al Maraha
Burj Al Arab
He Was A Big One
Amuse Bouche, gift from the chef
Chili King Crab in the Shell
Blackberry and Almond Sponge with sorbet and Lemon Cyrd
Sticky Toffee Pudding
Crispy Oysters and Caviar
Baked Halibut with Hazelnut Crust
Outlaw’s Private Bar
The Front Desk Manager again arranged complimentary car service for me tonight. Oh how I love this treatment and the fact that they all seem to know my name blows my hair back. So Ann and myself were off to the only 7 star hotel in the world, BURJ AL ARAB where a suite can go for $11,000 a night. No rooms here….only suites. Security is tight! If you do not have business here or a reservation you will not be admitted. Our driver rolled down my window, I stated my name, the gate lifted and soon we were then dropped at the front door. We were 30 minutes early so we had plenty of time to leisurely stroll around and take photos.
Al Maraha gives the feeling of being underwater in this subtlety lit restaurant. The menu was amazing and again I struggled to make up my mind. I had to go with 2 appetizers which were: Fish Soup with Brown Shrimp and Sea Herb Oil and my 2nd Appetizer was the Crispy Oysters & Caviar in an oyster, cucumber sauce. My main course was the unbelievable Chili King Crab in the Shell, Coconut Rice, Spring Onion and Burnt lemon. Ann opted for the King Crab Risotto as an appetizer and her main course was the Baked Halibut, Hazelnut Crust, Broccoli, Red Wine & Mushroom Dressing. No complaints whatsoever. Everything was on point and Mr Outlaw did not disappoint. I might add, the service was impeccable and all our servers very handsome chocolate drops. In closing I must say last night and tonight’s dining experiences here in Dubai are both HIGHLY rated.
Its time to wrap it up here in Dubai but I’m hoping to be back next year to ring in the New Year. As soon as pricing and availability becomes available I will be posting. We’ve already got quite a few hopefuls on board
At least 20 went on the desert Safari yesterday and from the pictures they sent me, they had a blast. I will be posting shortly from the Dubai International Airport. Until then…..
In Front of Al Qasr Hotel
At Pier Chic with Burj Al Arab in Backdrop
Kat’s White Toe Nails??
Al Qasr Lobby
Culinary Delights On The Menu
Cousin Gary’s Cocktail
Al Qasr Hotel
My non alcoholic Mermaid Siren with smoke
Mermaid in Seweed Held My Cocktail
My Quail Appetizer
The hotel arranged round trip complimentary BMW sedan car service to Pier Chic Restaurant. Escorted by handsome cousins Van De of DC and Gary of Florida we were ready and totally down for this culinary experience. We were seriously missing cousin Darryl. It was an epic journey to get to the restaurant after arriving at AL QASR HOTEL (pronounced Alcazar). This hotel is designed in the style of a Sheikh’s residence and is the jewel of the Madinat Jumeirah Hotels. We marched through the lobby like we were offspring of the Sheikh. We walked down a corridor to the elevator, took it to the first floor and arrived at the “buggy station” where we were put into a golf cart and driven about 7 mins to the pier. This is an upmarket resort and PIER CHIC is situated at the end of the private pier. After disembarking the golf cart we proceeded to walk the length of the pier to the restaurant where we were greeted by a lovely hostess and escorted to our waiting table. The majestic unofficial 7 Star BURJ AL ARAB HOTEL was in full view with her colors changing every 30 minutes.
A server described a few of their signature cocktails. The one that struck my fancy was the Mermaid Siren. It was a mixture of passion fruit, orange, pineapple juice, and a sprig of mint — please hold the alcohol for Kat. It arrived in a silver mermaid holder nestled on a bed of seaweed, then they made the dry ice fog up the presentation. It was just as tasty as eye appealing. It took me longer than usual to mull over the dinner menu with so many delicious sounding choices. For an appetizer, I settled on the Duo of roasted breast of quail & braised quail’s leg with a pan seared foie gras. Damn it was good!! We all were drawn to the Australian Chilean Sea Bass with a side of truffled mashed potatoes. Again, an excellent choice. The final total AED 2,750 and in USD $750. A delightful, tasty, culinary experience well worth the cost.
My last night in this incredible city will find me along with Barbara Miller inside that 7 Star Burj Al Arab at Al Mahara so award winning CHEF NATHAN OUTLAW can show us what he’s working with. This subtly lit seafood restaurant gives an underwater feel with their wall to ceiling aquarium. I can’t wait!!! Stay tuned!!
Islamic Prayer Clock
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
A Million Swarovski Crystals, 2nd Largest in the World
Dana Terry and Maryetta Hall, Fashionably and Respectfully Ready
On This day; This is how we do it!
We were off to an early start today. All 43 in proper attire ready to go to Abu Dhabi to pay a visit to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. It took over 11 years to build, officially opened in 2007 and truly a spectacular sight to behold; inside and out. It really warms my heart to see my entire group respectfully dressed for entry and ready to do the dang thing unlike some lookie loos, showing up in anything and in some instances being turned away by the security team. They are very strict
Our hour and a half drive was pleasant and scenic as our knowledgeable guide shared facts of life in Abu Dhabi. After the visit, there was a short stop at Heritage Village before going to lunch at Le Vendome located inside the most expensively built hotel in the world, EMIRATES PALACE. It was originally built for the Sheikh’s residence . He did not care for it so it became a hotel. Lunch is always AMAZING with so many selections available – shrimp, crab, oysters, pasta station, chicken, veal, beef, curry dishes, vegetables, sushi, salads, and an array of decadent desserts. I, myself didn’t eat much but the others were certainly enjoying themselves. I needed to be ready for my dinner reservation later in the night at PIER CHIC which promised to give this foodie all she was expecting and more.
Until, next time…..
Briana, Katrina, Adre
Andre, Katrina, Van
Briana and Alisha
The LA Ladies under Daddy Darryl’s Watchful Eyes
Ann, Betty, Briana
The Dinner Cruise is always a hit. The food was exceptional and as you can imagine a whole lot of merrymaking was going on. And in the words of papa Ray, “ Don’t sit there mumbling, talkin’ trash, if you want to have a good time you gotta go out and spend some cash……… So let the good times roll!!!!!!!
Caesar’s Palace Blue Waters
Caesar’s Private Beach
Bathtub Overlooks the Beach
Caesar’s Beach Club
Bad Boy Ramsay’s Monogrammed Linen
State of the art Open Kitchen
Dinner Cruise – Briana, Dana, Jan
Gail and Jame Kelly
Sandra, Betty, Gwen at Jumeirah Beach
Luna, Maryetta, Barbara On Cruise
Enjoying Emirates Business Class
Maryetta, Dana & Darryl 124th Flr
At Q’s Bar and Lounge
1300 Seat State of the Art Theatre
After breakfast, my day began to take shape. Thanks to my colleague Simon for gifting me with a spa treatment, I decided to put it to good use this morning. Shortly after, my Dubai contact person and his chauffeur picked me up, said we needed to turn a few corners so I could check out a few new spots. First stop, was Caesar’s Palace Blue Waters which had just officially opened the day before. It sits on several acres and has its own private beach and much to my surprise, Bad Boy Chef Gordon Ramsay has his latest restaurant HELL’S KITCHEN inside. What an awesome operation. I was invited to lunch and being the foodie that I am, I couldn’t say, “No”. The lunch menu looked awesome. I started to select the Seafood Tower but opted for the HELL’S BURGER instead. It was huge, a little different but tasty as hell. Lol.
The property is actually 2 in 1: The Palace (more expensive) and The Resort. Finding out that it sits in view of THE ATLANTIS, a perfect spot to see the New Years Eve fireworks, The other spot being the Burj Khalifa; I decided I needed to flip my December 3-9, 2019 date and delay it a few weeks for a New Years Celebration. So while my connections try to make this happen, stand by. Several on this trip have thrown their hats in the ring waiting to see what the pricing may be.
Speaking of connections….while at lunch it was mentioned I was having a hard time locating a very expensive box of cigars. A box of 15 cost $1800. Well the sales manager, Juan said his girlfriend’s mother is the cigar distributor for Dubai. They made a call and bingo bango we were on our way to pick them up. Young Juan and I had a very interesting conversation. When he learned I had taken several groups to CALI, COLOMBIA; he told me I may have seen his 85 yr old grandma salsa dancing at the Senior Center where we usually hang on Sunday afternoons in CALI. Traveling the world just fascinates me so. Isn’t it exciting when you think of all that God created for us to enjoy. Keep God first place. He’ll Take you places you only dreamed of.
Tomorrow: Full day tour to Abu Dhabi, visiting the Great Mosque and lunch at the most expensively built hotel in the world, “EMIRATES PALACE”
Emirates Private Business Class Lounge
Getting comfy Before Take Off
Emirates Business Class
Ski Dubai next door to our Kempinski Hotel
Up on 124th
Julio get the Stretch
World Trade Center
In front of Atlantis
Katrina and Jan High in the Dubai Sky
Maryetta, Dana, Katrina in front of the Sheik’s Palace
From 124th flr of Burj Khalifa
Q’s Bar located in Palazzo Versace
Clowning after the last set
Snacks at Q’s Bar and Lounge
After the Club cutting up
Ready for Q’s Bar and Lounge
Kat with Katrina and Phil
A few of us in the group were blessed to be in Business Class —- dang! I wish I could do it every single time. I tell you, nothing compares to Emirates Business Class. This would be yet another KATTRAX reunion. Phillip and Katrina of southern Cal were just with me 2 weeks ago in Egypt, Briana from the recent August Brazil tour, and several from last year’s Paris and South Africa tours. Of course I could go on but time will not permit. The cousins; Darryl, Van, and Gary were flying in from the east coast and Los Angeles. They always keep the party going and I had not seen them since my birthday party in Mykonos so I was excited to see them.
Our longtime contact was waiting for the groups arrival, got us to the hotel and with our private check in, we were in our lovely rooms in no time. The next morning, our guide met us after breakfast for our full day city sightseeing tour. It’s been almost 3 years since I was here and the new construction and developments were astounding.
Our 5 star hotel, The Kempinski at the Emirates Mall is adjacent to SKI DUBAI, an indoor ski resort. Imagine a ski resort in the middle of the desert and the mall has over 60 eating establishments and shops galore. The largest mall now is the Dubai Mall, and there is the City Walk so a person can come here and DO BUY and literally shop til they drop.
This night would find several of us going to Quincy Jones Club “Q’s Bar and Lounge. A lot of clubs have a per person minimum spend that far exceeds this 350 AED = $100 but who cares ? This is Dubai. Some nights don’t have that requirement but I wanted to get it in early. We were treated to the soulful stylings of Rogelio Douglas, Jr of New York. Like Tina, he started off nice and easy and finished up rough. He is quite a showman and his musicians were putting it down real proper like. The drinks – alcoholic and non were excellent as were the small plates we all ordered to spend up our $100 x 12. Then we had Jan Glenn-Davis here celebrating her birthday Front row and center with her crew and yes, they were cutting up for real. I saw you getting down Luna. Lol. Sekilati (just in Egypt with me) was here with another group of folks from Oakland but she came and hung out with us.
A grand time was had by all. Tonight is our dinner cruise, so I gotta scoot. Until next time.
Our next Egypt tour NOV 6-19, 2019 will offer an extension to the HOLY LAND as an “optional tour”. There must be a minimum of 15 participants in order to make this happen. The land portion is $620pp. R/t Airfare from Cairo to Tel Aviv may be approximately $400-500 based on this year’s fares. If you are interested, now is the time to inbox me at firstname.lastname@example.org SEE THE DAILY ITINERARY BELOW
Arrival via Ben Gurion
Visit the Church of the Nativity. We travel to the Shepherds’ Field and visit the Shepherds’ Cave.
Our next stop will be in the city of Ein Karem, the home of Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist. It was here that Mary, the Mother of Jesus, visited Elizabeth, her cousin, following the news that she was with child by the Holy Spirit.
Dinner and overnight in Bethlehem
We begin this morning to walk the Via Dolorosa, the Way of the Cross, ending at Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the site where Jesus was crucified and where he was buried. The remaining portion of the day will be free to walk in the Old City & to enjoy its bazaars. The bus takes us to a hillside overlooking the city of Jerusalem where Jesus wept over the city. It is known as Dominus Flevit [Latin for “The Lord wept”]. We will also visit Ascension, Church of the Pater Noster. Afterward; we will walk down the hill and at the bottom visit the Garden of Gethsemane along with the Church of All Nations. We will then travel by bus across the Kidron Valley to the site of Caiaphas’ Palace where Jesus experienced the Jewish portion of His trial. The site is known today as St. Peter in Gallicantu.
Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem
Drive to Tiberias – Here we enjoy a boat ride across the Sea of Galilee to Capernaum to visit the ancient ruins of this first century synagogue where Jesus preached, then on to the Mt. of Beatitudes where Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount. Followed by a visit to Tabgha, where Christ performed the miracle of multiplication of fish and loaves
Drive to Nazareth and visit the Church of Annunciation built at the site where Gabriel informed Mary she would give birth to the Jesus
Transfer to Jerusalem
Departure – Ben Gurion Airport