Hello Travelers, WOW! We’ve really been through it the last almost 10 months. I’ve been doing my best playing “Dodge Ball” trying to stay out of the way and staying safe until I can get the vaccine. I like most of you are so ready to begin traveling again. Auntie Jeanie Presley sent me a YouTube by Steve Harvey of the recently opened Qasr Al Watan in Abu Dhabi. It wasn’t opened to the public when we were there Nov. 2019 but now it is. It is beyond fabulous and as soon as we can begin traveling again, I’m there. FYI: Expo 2020 will be taking place Oct 21 – Mar 2022. I went way back on this blog; granddaughter Sakari was 18 months and enjoying Dubai. She will be turning 8 in March.
Members of our group were flying in from all over, with the majority of them all on Emirates from LAX. Others from Boston, Houston, San Francisco still on Emirates all landed within minutes of our L.A. Flight. Emirates is “special”. They have their own terminal and it’s highly organized compared to where the other carriers fly in and out of. I should know,I flew in on United last year. This is not a public service announcement but treat yourself to the Emirates Airline’s A380 experience. The A380’s are only presently flying from Los Angeles and New York.
After hotel check in, I was more than pleased with my room. It’s basically the same Grande Luxe room type I had last year but I guess I did not pay attention to the 6 ft mirrored wall in the separate shower room, with its shower bench and rain tree shower. There was also the 5 ft by 5 ft mirrored wall above the large soaking tub. Actually the bathroom slightly reminds me of the fabulous bathrooms at the 5 Star Michaelangelo in Johannesburg, South Africa.
I was delighted to have Gail Jackson, owner of Tree House Resort in Negril, Jamaica join us. She loves skiing and spas and this destination provided both experiences. I was also blessed to have my daughter, DeeDee and her family, including 18 month old Sakari, returning guest from last year is cousin Kutina who brought her mother, Patricia this time. Also my favorite cousins Lisa and Weldon Clemons are part of this years group. Yes, this is going to be a very different but still very exciting trip.
We had the same knowledgeable guide as before, Vijay who met us all at the airport and got us safely to the hotel. Before we left home, several had already made reservations for the BEST spas, BEST Restaurants, High Teas and nightclubs. Dubai, 41 years ago, there were no paved roads, no electricity, and no water and now to look at where she is and where she continues to go as she grows is almost incomprehensible. Dubai, even with its reputation of High End Glitz and Glam, it is one of our least expensive tours but also one of those places where you can do what you want to do based on your budget. Take your pick… If you want you can spend $300 per person dining at the Burj Kalifah or $15 at one if the 60+ eating establishments in the Emirates Mall adjacent to our 5 Star Kempinski Hotel. Also Adjacent is “Ski Dubai”, an indoor ski resort, by the way, where avid skier Gail Jackson will be hitting the slopes with several of the ladies in our group this week.
Our first tour day included a full day of seeing and learning about this fascinating new city on the world map. We were up close and personal with the Burj Al Arab, where Tiger Woods teed off from the helipad. You will find nothing but “Suites” here, nothing here is called a room. We visited the Palm, and saw the iconic Atlantis hotel with her underwater hotel suites. We took a 2 hr break at the worlds largest shopping mall, the Dubai Mall, a visit by water taxi over to the Gold Souk and the Spice Souk. Gold everywhere you turn and there’s no escaping the aggressive vendors selling every knock off handbag imaginable but seriously, this is the souvenir spot. The finishing touch on the day’s events was the 60 second ride to observation deck on the 124th floor of the Burj Kalifa in the “translevator but the building has 163 floors. Some purchased the handsomely bound color photo of themselves overlooking this beautiful city, quite a nice memento. Tonight will be the sunset dinner cruise.