Saturday, 17 November 2007

Amazing Dubai - continued

Well here's another amazing thing!

Right here in Dubai, where the temperature sometimes tops 50+ degrees (yes, thats FIFTY C!) there's actually a thing called Ski Dubai with everything you'd expect to find in the Alps, ski lifts lots and lots of snow, toboggan runs and all. We drove past it yesterday and a massive structure it is too, quite apart from what's inside it!!

Last night we went over to the Al Qasr Hotel (um, translated Al Qasr apparently means literally Palace! - so you can imagine what it was like!) for some dinner at the very nice PaiThai restaurant which sits amidst dozens of very expensive villa type residences on the banks of a long canal/river. (I'm told that Tiger Woods owns one!)

But nothing is quite what it seems here because the canal or river is actually man made and doesn't connect with the ocean like most rivers do - water is pumped into it and around it in vast quantities and its apparently a very long canal! We hailed a water taxi after the meal to take us back to the hotel! Remember, this is a desert!!

And we was chatting to a guy in the pool bar earlier looking up at the 'Burg' next door and he told us that the height from the heliport deck to the top of the 'spire' is apparently taller than our Jumeirah Beach Hotel itself - plus built only 12 years ago, they are thinking of demolishing it and building an even bigger and more expensive place!

So WOW; this is Dubai - and we haven't even scratched the surface of the place!

We're dining at one of the 23 restaurants here in the Jumeirah Beach - the Lebanese one - this evening which should be fun and another new experience.

We leave here tomorrow morning at 7am to catch the 10am Emirates flight to Sydney so it's been a quick 'hello and goodbye' to this amazing place; but I'm sure we'll be back!!

Friday, 16 November 2007

Amazing Dubai!

We arrived safely after a 6 1/2 hour flight from Heathrow - a rather badly behaved and noisy child made the time seem to pass more slowly, even with the volume turned up on my TV headset!!

So we've had a nice sleep overnight in a very comfortable King Size bed with a room on the 6th floor of the superb Jumeirah Beach Hotel just a stones throw from the sister hotel, the amazing (oops that word again, but it really IS!) Burg Al Arab which our room overlooks and which is described as the world's most luxurious hotel! I'm sure you've seen it before but here's a shot I took on my phone-camera while I was sitting on the beach this morning!

We've just chilled out on the beach this morning and watched a couple of helicopters dropping guests off on the helipad way up top of the 'Burg'!

This afternoon we're planning to go shopping; no, not grocery shopping. Shirley wants to go to a place called 'the Gold and Diamond Park' so no guesses that she wont be looking for milk and eggs there! As my favourite daughter-in-law once told me, 'a happy wife is a happy life' - and it couldn't be truer today and I'll probably come back just a little (yeah, some chance!) poorer!!

This evening we're having dinner with some folks from Keephatch House (they live in Dubai) in a smart Thai restaurant in a place just a few minutes away called Madinat Jumeirah

Tomorrow I think we'll probably do some exploring as its our final full day here - we leave to catch the 10am Emirates flight to Sydney on Sunday morning!

But Dubai is a place we MUST come to again - it really is an amazing place and looking out across the blue sea under the warm Arabian, blue and cloudless sky, you really could be in paradise!

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Signing off!

Well, its Wednesday and tomorrow at 5am we'll be heading to Heathrow Terminal 3 to get our Emirates flight to Dubai - we should get there around 7.30pm local time (thats 4 hours ahead of UK time, so around 3.30pm for most of you!)

We're staying there for 3 nights and leave for Sydney on Sunday arriving there on Monday morning at around 6am where I think Andrew will be waiting to meet us (probably plus one or two of the younger members of the family who are usually VERY early risers!!)

We have a few last minute things to do today( like signing our new Wills!!) and having a 'final' meal out with friends this evening and then I guess it will be early to bed as we'll be up at 4am - YUK!

So I'm going to sign off here for a few months - and wake up my 'sleeping' Aussie Blog which you'll find at:

So if you've nothing better to do and want to know what we're up to, just pop in to see us! I can't exactly put the kettle on but you'll be very welcome, nonetheless!

Now where DID I put my book of useful Aussie phrases? I guess you'll see a few of those over the next few months, no worries mate!

Monday, 12 November 2007

Last few days.....

Well, it’s not been a quiet week!

Shirley’s Dad had a nasty fall last Monday and has been in hospital with a broken arm – he seems ok now and he’s out of hospital but he’s black and blue as you can imagine! He’s 87 of course and although Winnie is looking after him, she’s 84 herself! We spent the day with them on Thursday at the Medway Hospital while he was waiting for the operation to ‘wire’ his arm – he got discharged on Saturday but is under the continuing care of a visiting nurse.

We had a very nice meal out at a posh Indian restaurant in Westerham with our old friends, Steve and Sue and Mike and Melanie on Thursday evening; Mike and Melanie will be in Sydney for a few days in January so we’ll spend some time with them then and it looks like Steve and Sue will be extending their visit to see their daughter ‘Angel’ (now living with her new husband in Hong Kong!) to pop over to Sydney where Sue’s sister Jan lives. Its only 20 minutes or so from where we live to their home in Frenches Forest and we often see Jan and Mike ourselves when we’re in Australia. It will be nice to see everyone again!

We headed up the motorway on Saturday to see Clare, her partner John and the boys – taking with us presents for Christmas before we head off Downunder this Thursday. We both said that Clare looks so well now and now that’s she’s over the traumas of the past few months, finished her course of Radiotherapy and has started a new job, she seems to have really turned the corner – well here, judge our wonderful and lovely daughter for yourself:

Now don't you think that's a nice photo!

We’re in ‘final’ run-down mode here now – last minute things and I got the suitcases up from the garage this morning ready to pack; it really doesn’t seem 5 minutes ago that we were putting them away after we’d returned in April!

I have a Lodge meeting tomorrow but apart from that and visits by Shirley’s beautician and a trip to have her hair fixed, we’re all but ready.

And just in time too!! This morning there was a real frost outside and the first morning scrapping the ice of the car windscreen! Brrrrrr! After a really wet UK summer we’ve had a lovely colourful autumn but now the temperature is dropping fast and with lots of berries on the bushes, it looks like it’s a very cold winter ahead here!

Monday, 5 November 2007

The Melbourne Cup

Don't even think about speaking to anyone in Australia tomorrow; that's speaking, emailing, texting or whatever else - because the first Tuesday in November is always Melbourne Cup Day when all of Australia literally stops dead to watch a horse race!!

If you go here, you'll find out all about this World-famous event!

Oh and once that's over it's the turn of the Australian Federal Elections on November 24, just after we arrive!

I think I'll be heading down to the beach, well away from all the politicians!

Saturday, 3 November 2007

At last! My 50th post!

Hmm, it’s taken me until 3rd November to get to my 50th posting on my UK Blog – well ok I guess I didn’t actually start the Blog until April so it can’t be that bad; but I’ll admit it has been a struggle sometimes to keep myself motivated to write something interesting!

Maybe I’m either to busy to write or perhaps I’m just too boring a guy to find anything interesting to write about! Maybe I’ll let others judge!!

Anyway I’d better try to grab your interest now, rather than waffle on about nothing just to say I’ve posted 50 times!

Two things – firstly, if you follow the link to my Aussie Blog you’ll find something new – it’s a ‘Google Map’ of our neighbourhood Downunder and by navigating there and then clicking on the list on the left hand side you’ll see where we ‘live, rest and play’ (um that’s because we don’t WORK, rest and play anymore these days!! Been there, done that etc. etc.)

If you’re interested in where we are in the world, then it’ll help you get orientated!

Secondly I came across another great sailing video – you know how much I like my sailing ‘fast and furious’ although in practice I never seem to get any faster than 8 or 9 knots when I’m sailing anywhere; these guys seem to be up and beyond 30 knots!!!

Anyway, go here and enjoy a few minutes exhilarating sailing with some stirring music too (incidentally and appropriately from a very popular female Aussie singer!) so get your sound switched on and turned up a notch or two!