Category Archives: Dubai Roads

Dubai Neighborhoods: “The Beach”

Dubai has such a simple (but large) way to hide their ever prevalent construction projects. Just take the drive between Abu Dhabi and Dubai, and you’ll find the hugely tall walls going up to disguise Expo2020 building – they go on for miles. You can imagine my surprise and delight when some of those walls came down in JBR, just across the marina from our apartment, only to reveal the infamous, impressive The Beach. The walls had be assembled since we moved in (and well before that, I’m sure), with the only clues to what they beyond being the mock up paintings of the development around JBR and the clatter of construction tools. All was revealed a few weeks ago – voila!

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JBR is already a bustling area of Dubai, and The Beach only enhances this vibe – just now with a bit of a facelift. Developed by Meraas Holding, The Beach is comprised of a series of plazas, housing shops, restaurants, family-fun areas, a running/walking track, and what many believe will be the big draw: an open-air movie theater.

Where: The Beach can be located here, right on the water, just to the left of the Palm – approximately at letters N, O, and F. Just adjacent to the Dubai Marina and on JBR.

The iconic JBR buildings as seen from The Beach

The iconic JBR buildings as seen from The Beach

The iconic JBR buildings as seen from The Beach

The iconic JBR buildings as seen from The Beach

What: A number of retail and eatery options (only a handful of which are open as of yet – the rest are slated to open later this summer) right on the beach. And the beach itself is a great public beach option. The aforementioned open-air theater has seating right on the beach, as well as an indoor cinema (fabulous for movie buffs like we Blantons). Plenty of hotels, too! Be warned, however: the road to The Beach is a busy, one way street, but there is a 1,200 car parking lot as well as valet parking available – further, they are constructing a public transportation tram that should (?) be completed soon.

Gorgeous beach

Gorgeous beach

Menchie's...a favorite from Charlotte, NC!

Menchie’s…a favorite from Charlotte, NC!

Highlights:

  • The open-air movie theater by Reel Cinemas – check it out before it gets too warm here in Dubai!
  • The amazing sand sculptures (see below)
  • If you have children, I would think this would be an ideal place to bring them! The area absolutely caters to little ones with spots to ride bikes, a mini water park, as well as playgrounds (and of course the sea)
The sand Dubai skyline

The sand Dubai skyline

A tranquil little spot within one of the plazas

A tranquil little spot within one of the plazas

A ton (for Dubai) of green space

A ton (for Dubai) of green space

Check out The Beach in JBR to mix up your week – I’m looking forward to more shops opening and checking out a movie there one of these days. Until next time…

 

 

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Abu Dhabi International Triathlon

Five minutes after I crossed the finish line of the Abu Dhabi International Triathlon (the sprint distance: 750m swim, 50km bike, and 5km run), the endorphins kicked in, and allowed me to euphorically state to my husband, “I could do this again!” Endorphins are funny like that; three hours later (and even now, eight days later), I’m not as sure – still euphoric though – that I finished (my time was nothing to write home about, but I finished!) The event was exceedingly well run, and I can see how triathletes can become quickly addicted, though I dont think I will morph into one of those individuals. 🙂

As some of you may know, I am a runner – it’s definitely my preferred form of exercise! In a past life, I swam (though I wouldnt call myself a “swimmer”), and I definitely do not bike. When Barr and I signed up last fall, I thought, “Well, 1.5 of the athletics of the race I have down – I’ll just train”. HA! Having the triathlon on the heels of my return from the states didnt quite allow for as much training as I should have done, but again – I finished! So photographic evidence:

No no, we didnt come in 1st...

No no, we didnt come in 1st…

I so naively believed that the run would be my easiest leg, but having it be the last portion of the event and after the particularly grueling 50km bike (I could scarcely run my bike back to the racks), I struggled in the 5k run. But I finished! And nothing can really prepare you, save experience, for swimming in the ocean with hundreds of other swimmers thrashing around you – very daunting. But I finished! (Can you tell I was morbidly fearful of not completing the triathlon?)

The experience held two major highlights (aside from completion): seeing Barr cheer me on in the last kilometer or so of the run and having the Brownlee brothers (Olympic triathletes from the UK) whiz past me on the bikes (they did 100km of the bike) – I wasnt anticipating them (and they came upon me fast!!), and saw some cameras snapping shots. Thinking that they were trying to get a photo of the girl in the cute blue outfit (it is all about a good ensemble, isnt it?), I smiled wide, but alas, they wanted that picture perfect athlete shot of the famous brothers. You can (kind of – it’s a bit like Where’s Waldo) spot me in a picture from The National here – I think the Olympians had passed by me as this point:

Riding the struggle bus…err, I mean bike

An item to tick off the bucket list, to be sure, but would I do it again? Ehhhh, ask me again in a few months as I may have stored up some more endorphins by then! Until next time…

Dubai Neighborhoods: Bur Dubai & Bastakiya

And I’m back on schedule..kinda! At least I am keeping with the weekly Dubai neighborhood update, anyway…albeit, a few days later than I had hoped, but better late than never (a shocker for me, as I am rarely, if ever late for stuff). But I digress.

Part of the entrance display at the Dubai Museum in Bur Dubai

Part of the entrance display at the Dubai Museum, alongside the Al Fahidi Fort 

Today I had to make a trip to Bur Dubai (literally translated: mainland Dubai) to pick up some souvenirs for friends and family in the states (I’ll be reporting to you for the next 2 weeks from good ole ‘Merica), and what better place to find some authentic (and not so authentic) goodies than Bur Dubai? By way of explanation of the post’s title, Bur Dubai is the actual “neighborhood” I suppose you would say, with Bastakiya being a smaller subset of Bur Dubai…more of a historic quarter (as “historic” as one can get in Dubai anyway!)

My favorite mosque in the city: the famous, blue-tiled Iranian mosque - the colors and patterns get me every time!

My favorite mosque in the city: the famous, blue-tiled Iranian mosque – the colors and patterns get me every time!

One of the things about this part of town that really intrigues me is that while there are historical buildings, walls, and museums, the actual construction in Bur Dubai is relatively new. The area dates back to the late nineteenth century, but once Dubai began its gung-ho development (particularly in the 1970s), many of the original buildings were destroyed for new construction. Bummer! But fear not, my friends, because in the late 1980s, the realization hit that some of the old/original stuff should be preserved (what was left of it anyway…and by this point, very little!) and/or reconstructed in that same architectural style. So voila! Dubai can construct the world’s tallest building and reconstruct their original, ancient buildings. Kind of cheating the system a bit, but they’re trying! And you absolutely get a more old time-y feel in Bur Dubai and Bastakiya, even if it is a bit contrived.

A local wind tower, an architectural element ubiquitous with Bur Dubai; these towers are traditionally designed to catch cooler breezes that occur at a higher level above the ground and to direct it into the interior of the buildings - smart, huh? Especially in 100+ temps!

A local wind tower, an architectural element ubiquitous with Bur Dubai; these towers are traditionally designed to catch cooler breezes that occur at a higher level above the ground and to direct it into the interior of the buildings – smart, huh? Especially in 100+ temps!

Where: Check out the top right corner of this map, just below of Port Rashid to the left of the creek. Like many (all?) cities’ first/original cities, even Dubai sprang up from right by the water. What better place to pearl dive?

Brightly colored fabric in one of the many textile shops

Brightly colored fabric adorns one of the many textile shops

What: One of Dubai’s oldest and most historic districts, just bordering the famous Dubai Creek. The neighborhood comprises narrow alleys and lanes, traditional wind towers, a number of mosques, residential apartments/homes, the textile hub and shops, as well as innumerable souvenir shops!

Can I interest anyone in a sari?

Can I interest anyone in a sari?

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Highlights:

  • Al Fahidi Fort – the oldest building in Dubai, dating from the 1780s!
  • The Dubai Museum – very close to the Al Fahidi Fort, and a great place to learn a bit more about the cultural, tradition and history of Dubai
  • Majlis Gallery – a great gallery for local artistic fare
  • Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU) – my personal fave!
A narrow lane of Bur Dubai

A narrow lane of Bur Dubai

Fun Facts: Check out this video with super dramatic music for more!

Until next time…

 

Pantry Cafe

I know, I know…radio silence, again. Last week was a bit hectic between some meetings with the All 4 Down Syndrome group, an interview with a local celebrity (I can’t disclose all the details yet, but hopefully soon!), and the week culminated in my 27th (!) birthday and a trip to Abu Dhabi to celebrate 🙂  All in all, a fab way to start February…a month that will continue to pick up steam…and I cant wait!

The relaxed interior of the Pantry Cafe in Al Wasl Square

The relaxed interior of the Pantry Cafe in Al Wasl Square

So I’ll rewind a week or so to a great lunch I had last week when I visited Safa Park; I finally tried out Pantry Cafe in Al Wasl Square, just adjacent to the park. Like Comptoir 102, this was another great lunch spot. The ambience was exceedingly relaxed, with lots of natural light spilling in from the primarily glass building, overlooking the busy street and park nearby. There were only a handful of patrons eating inside the day I stopped by, all of whom we’re enjoying a leisurely lunch, coffee, and presumably, a bit of work.

Next time, I'll be stopping by for their breakfast!

Next time, I’ll be stopping by for their breakfast!

The front page of the festive (and extensive) menu

The front page of the festive (and extensive) menu

In addition to the extensive menu (breakfast, all day dining, coffee, drinks and sweets), the Pantry Cafe also boasts a fabulous selection of takeaway items in the deli counter – I’ll definitely be returning to bring home a macaron or 2…ahh who are we kidding…definitely 5 (I’ll share, I swear!)

Back to this meal. I was feeling a bit vegetable deficient and for some reason was craving mushrooms, so I opted for the Paprika and Rosemary Chicken Salad with a side of the sauteed mushrooms, as well as a skinny latte for a mid afternoon caffeine fix. The coffee was served promptly and festively, I might add:

My lovely latte...was feeling the birthday love

My lovely latte…was feeling the birthday love

I enjoyed one of the Hello! magazines from the rack while I waited for the main event, and was not disappointed with the generous salad (mixed lettuce, tender chicken strips, asparagus, tomatoes, kidney beans, and  peppers) and extra yummy sauteed mushrooms (served simply, and topped with a bit of grated cheese)…nom nom nom:

photo 5 photo 3Following my meal (I unfortunately couldnt make it through more than half of each dish – guess my eyes were too big for my stomach!), I perused the cookware and unique food items that the cafe offered, reminiscent of a smaller Dean & Deluca. The only downside to this spot I can mention would be the service – it was a tad subpar, particularly given that I went at a very slow time of day; I had to flag someone down several times to get the bill.

That being said, I’ll definitely be back to Pantry Cafe, as I find myself in that area of town more and more, and there were many items that I wanted to try on the menu, service notwithstanding. And now that I’m hungry (again) after posting these pictures and writing about food, I’m going to try to recreate the salad above (though it inevitably wont compare!) Until next time…

My little place mat which outlines some of the food tenants of the cafe

My little place mat which outlines some of the food tenants of the cafe

Dubai Neighborhoods: Al Safa Park

Yall! Staying true to weekly post, I bring you the next “neighborhood” in Dubai: Al Safa Park. You read that right: there is a beautiful, green park smack dab in the middle of the desert that is Dubai – this city never ceases to amaze!

There is a running/walking track that loops around the park

There is a running/walking track that loops around the park

The park has undergone several updates over the last 20 years, and now, as you can see below, there are plenty of skyscrapers that create great views from the park:

Burj Khalifa and the two towers on the right are the tallest hotels in the world: Marriott Marquis

Burj Khalifa and the two towers on the right are the tallest hotels in the world: Marriott Marquis

Where: From this map, you can find the park right in the middle of the city – a perfect location!

What: Safa Park is one of the many parks in Dubai, but it is the largest, about 160 acres, containing 3 lakes, plenty of bird wildlife, and 16,924 different trees and bushes (per Wikipedia!). The park is covered in 80% of grassy knolls, which offer plenty of amazing views of the park itself as well as the Dubai skyline.

Highlights: I love the Archive restaurant situated in the center of the park – it offers great coffees, yummy food, free Wifi, and just a generally chill atmosphere. There’s also plenty of playgrounds, football (ahem, soccer) pitches, tennis courts, a waterfall and lakes, and  little walking trails that sprawl throughout the park. Also, on Friday, there is a fab farmer’s market!

The Archive

The Archive

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Not too shabby for February!

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Fun Facts:

  • The park was originally built waaaay back in 1975 (practically ancient by Dubai standards)! And prior to the park’s creation, that area was one in which many illegal immigrants congregated – read more on that here
  • Tuesdays (during the day) are designated for children and women only
  • Bring some food and have a BBQ – there are plenty of grill stations to go around!
  • The park entrance fee is AED3

Until next time…

The view from my spot in the park this afternoon :)

The view from my spot in the park this afternoon 🙂

Comptoir 102

I truly enjoy and am 100% comfortable grabbing a bite solo – it is the introvert in me! After finishing up a doctor appointment in Oud Metha, I decided to put Blanca to use and stop by a locale I’ve been wanting to try for ages: Comptoir 102 in Jumeirah 1.

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Why, you may ask? Well, when we first moved to Dubai, I scoped out and googled “Gluten Free Dubai”, and Comptoir 102 was one of the places that popped up on my radar! I hadnt been before this week as it can be bit tricky to grab a cab afterwards on Jumeirah Beach Road, so Blanca to the rescue 🙂

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Comptoir 102 is part restaurant, part concept shop. The shop includes really diverse textiles, jewelry and tableware – each item had a lot of character. Regarding the restaurant, there’s a two-course menu which changes daily, coupled with a dessert option (or two!) There are plenty coffee, juice, tea, and smoothie options (all made to order).

Perfect al fresco dining atmosphere

An ideal al fresco dining atmosphere

 

Here was the menu the day I stopped by:

Nom nom nom

Nom nom nom

Many of the ingredients are locally sourced, of which some are even grown in-house (they have a great little garden in the back) and others organic and gluten-free (of course!). Dishes are prepared with techniques designed to boost digestion (see the definition of miso from one of the board’s below):

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Now on to the good stuff – the food! For my solo, GF lunch, I ordered the red pepper with feta…

My favorite dish of the meal - just the right amount of salty and sweet - DELISH!

My favorite dish of the meal – just the right amount of salty and sweet – DELISH!

…the gluten free pizza…

Topped with avocado cream, more feta, basil, zucchini and mushrooms, this was a good GF pizza overall. Gluten free crusts are always tricky, but this one wasnt as crumbly as most and was exceedingly filling

Topped with avocado cream, more feta, basil, zucchini and mushrooms, this was a good GF pizza overall. Gluten free crusts are always tricky, but this one wasnt as crumbly as most I’ve tried and was exceedingly filling

…and of course, I indulged and enjoy a choco petit pot for dessert:

Delightfully light and rich - I was glad it was "petit" :)

Delightfully creamy – I was glad it was “petit” 🙂

All the portions were quite small, but the meal overall was very filling. I’ll definitely be back for another lunch – the vibe is really cool and inviting, the food deliciously healthy, the service top notch, plus, I cant wait to see what else Comptoir 102 will add to their menu. Until next time…photo 9

 

 

 

Dubai’s Market Outside the Box

Ahhh Dubai – full of shopping and innovation! Dubai Shopping Festival (yes, that’s a real thing) runs from January 2 to February 2, and is a huge tourist attraction for the city, bringing 3 million people to Dubai. Essentially, most of the stores, malls, and local vendors have huge sales, fun entertainment and tons of giveaways to residents and tourists alike. Barr and I have scored some great deals over the past few weeks, and one of my favorite events thus far has been Market Outside the Box.

Market Outside of the Box is Dubai’s first stab at showcasing local and regional brands in a sustainable fashion and lifestyle market. All of the shops and restaurants are set up in refurbished shipping containers amidst many skyscrapers (including the Burj Khalifa) in Burj Park. We hit the market last weekend and were really impressed! Pop up events like this, particularly those providing such a unique (and green!) platform for local shops/artisans/cafes, are still fairly new to Dubai and hopefully this one will only breed more of the same.
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My personal favorite local shop, Aina, was set up there, and we snagged another amazing Dalla pillow – she has tons of other equally beautiful wares (passport holders, laptop cases, and more), so be sure to check it out!

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Make sure to grab a delicious coffee from Raw and hunker down on one of the bean bag chairs or picnic tables, beneath the lovely weather aside the Burj Khalifa  (and of course get a little shopping in – you’re just helping the economy, right?) 🙂

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Market Outside of the Box will run through the end of DSF in Burj Park, Thursday-Saturday 12pm-12am and Sunday-Wednesday 4pm-10pm – it’s supposed to be fabulous weather this weekend, so if you’re in town, I highly recommend stopping by to check out this fabulous event! Until next time…

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Dubai Neighborhoods: The Marina

I love being in a good routine: I know that every morning I have a workout class from 9-10, teach a computer class each Monday from 6-7, Barr comes home on Wednesdays at 930, etc. Some would call it being a creature of habit, while some may call it anal retentive. (I prefer the former.)

So with this in mind, I thought that a weekly post (same day, of course) on the different neighborhoods/areas in Dubai would be a consistent way to keep this blog informative and interesting, while providing me with an opportunity to both learn more about the different areas of Dubai and honing my newly acquired/severely lacking practice DSLR skills. 🙂

 

Map of different areas of Dubai (via Mappery)

Because I was lazy this week, we’re going to keep it close to home and explore my current neighborhood: the Dubai Marina. It was a hazy morning today, hence the cloudy shots.

Outside the Marina Mall

Outside the Marina Mall

Cluster of boats at the Marina Yacht Club

Cluster of boats at the Marina Yacht Club

Where: South of downtown, right on the Arabian Gulf

The Dubai Maria (via World Floor Plans)

What: The marina is a relatively new area of Dubai. The marina itself is man-made and was carved out of the Arabian Gulf to create an additional waterfront. There is 8km of walkways along the marina front, full of pedestrians, shops, restaurants, hotels and apartment buildings

Water taxi

Water taxi

Highlights: The Marina Mall (love this mall as it isnt typically as crowded as Mall of the Emirates or Dubai Mall, but has tons of great shops and places to grab a bite), close to the gulf/beach!, quick access to the Dubai Metro, Infinity Tower (the infamous “twisty” building), and the Walk – great spot to run, walk, eat and people watch

Shaded playground for the youngins' beneath a bridge to shield them from the hot summer sun

Shaded playground for the youngins’ beneath a bridge to shield them from the hot summer sun – reminds me of parks/playgrounds on top of buildings in NYC

Fun facts: 

  • The marina is home to several of the world’s tallest residential buildings, including the Princess Tower, 23 Marina, and the soon to be completed Pentominium, which will be a whopping 122 stories!
  • It is unreal to me that the Dubai Marina did not exist until 10 years ago – it is now home to 400,000 people in 200 skyscrapers
  • The Marina is one of the few districts of Dubai where Westerners comprise the majority
The heart of the marina: the hardworking construction men

The heart of the marina: the hardworking construction men

The Infinity Tower (twisty) and to the right, the world's tallest residential building, the Princess Tower

The Infinity Tower (twisty) and to the right, the world’s tallest residential building, the Princess Tower

Stay tuned for these each Monday – I am going to hold myself accountable! Until next time…

More Touristy Adventures in Dubai

I’ve never lived in a very tourist-y city before: sure, the three (count ’em 3!) cities that I have lived in North Carolina, Houston, and Atlanta are great, but none were exactly where family and friends were flocking for week long trips of the tourist variety. And now, living in Dubai, we’ve had guests aplenty – which I have loved! It’s so fun showing off our new city to family, and even seeing tourists snapping shots of buildings with their iPads on my daily runs is fun as well (unless there is a huge flock of them, refusing to get out of my way, in which case, not as much fun) 😉 Either way, I’ve loved learning about Dubai and then “showing it off” to our visitors over the past few months! Here’s a quick recap of the rest of my mom’s trip here:

Abu Dhabi was a big hit with my mother – she really liked the more laid back feel of AD, plus we met up with one of her fellow expat friends from Singapore, who coincidentally moved to Abu Dhabi about two years ago. We met at her villa near the corniche and headed to lunch at a great cafe on the third floor of the ONE department store – delish! Of course we saw the Grand Mosque, and left Abu Dhabi with a gorgeous wool rug for my mom and great time with her friend, Sandy.

Rocking our abayas and pashminas, turned hajibs at the Grand Mosque

Rocking our abayas and pashminas, turned hajibs at the Grand Mosque

Thursday night, we went to dinner on the Palm at the One and Only (we find this ironic – oh the irony – as there are actually two One and Only hotels in Dubai) – we had reservations at the 101 Dining Lounge at the hotel, and it was AMAZING! The vibe is super swanky and cool, but the food lives up to the decor and views of the marina and water. My mom and I split a delicious paella and Barr had amazing scallops. (For any gluten free eaters, this is a great spot! I told them about my celiac diagnosis when I made the reservations, and the table had GF rolls for me and the chef came out to confirm my food selection was also gluten free – great service!)

The mini Simpson/Blanton crew at dinner

The mini Simpson/Blanton crew at dinner

The views of the marina were spectacular!

The views of the marina were spectacular!

Gorgeous pool area at the hotel

Gorgeous pool area at the hotel

On Friday, we took the Dubai ferry across the marina, past the Palm, the Burj al Arab and downtown all the way to the creek. This route only runs on Friday mornings at 11AM – highly recommend it (if you arent enjoying an amazing Dubai brunch, that is!)

Helloooo there!

Helloooo there!

 

We ended up at the gold souk (how on earth did that happen?! ;)) and couldnt resist a classic tourist shot in front of the wares:

photo 4444Of course, it is a great time to visit the desert as a tourist in Dubai, and OF COURSE we did that with my mom in town – camel riding, ATV riding, and dune bashing!

Great morning in the desert

Great morning in the desert

On a desert safari, definitely spring for the ATV ride!

On a desert safari, definitely spring for the ATV ride!

Checking out the baby camel - just 2 weeks old!

Checking out the baby camel – just 2 weeks old!

Obviously pondering life and wistfully looking off into the distance atop a camel

Obviously pondering life and wistfully looking off into the distance atop a camel

The last big tourist event we embarked upon was a day trip to Oman – definitely touristy, but a different thing to do if you are visiting the area – the landscapes are so different than those you see in the city as well as the desert. We had a two hour car ride to the coast (north of Dubai), followed by a dhow boat ride around the fjords (long, narrow inlet with steep sides or cliffs – dont worry, we had to look it up to confirm what that meant!) – the dhow dropped anchor in a little bay where you could swim or go to the small beach. It was a little chilly so we opted to just stay on the boat and chat – this would have been even better had the weather been a tad warmer! It was a fun way to spend the day nonetheless, and was neat to pass by Zighy Bay, where Barr and I spent a few days on our honeymoon.

Passing by Zighy Bay in Oman

Passing by Zighy Bay in Oman

We had a great time, and now I feel fully equipped to recommend fun day trips, tourist attractions and spots to eat/drink/shop to future visitors 🙂 Of course it will always be evolving, but it is always fun to try new stuff out (or go back to your favorite places!) Dubai is such a great place to go visit, and we’re so happy our families have been over to see us – my dad was actually in Saudi the week my mom was here, so we felt that he was with us in Middle Eastern spirit! Until next time…

 

Mama Simpson hits Dubai

As we Simpsons say, it was a whirlwind! She came, we saw, and we conquered Dubai 🙂 This will be my last tourist visit post for awhile, I promise! This trip, while quite similar to the previous two (my sister and my in-laws), did have some new side trips and activities.

The Dubai Miracle Garden opened up late last year, as it is closed a majority of Dubai’s hot, hot weather. I asked Barr if he wanted to check it out before my mom came to town, to which he heartily responded “no!” so green light for us ladies! The Dubai Miracle Garden is truly unlike anything you most likely have ever seen – as per usual for good ol’ Dubai. The website boasts that is it the Guinness Book of World Record’s Largest Vertical Garden, while describing the garden as a “…breathtaking garden called “piece of Eden”, [stunning] visitors with millions of blooming flowers having different artistic design each season and remarkable structures.” Verdict: lovely, lovely, lovely – the aromatic scents, fun structures and gorgeous blooms are insane, but bear in mind that it’s a quick visit – you probably need max an hour there. I’ll let some of my snaps from the morning do the talking:

The Burj Khalifa made of flowers - craziness, right?

The Burj Khalifa made of flowers – craziness, right?

L to R, clockwise: a house structure made of flowers, an Emirati emblem of a falcon and flag, an umbrella installation, and one of my favorite flower structures in the garden

L to R, clockwise: a house structure made of flowers, an Emirati emblem of a falcon and flag, an umbrella installation, and one of my favorite flower structures in the garden

That evening, we had reservations at Atmosphere, which the bar and restaurant atop the Burj Khalifa. Even if you’re not…shall we say, an imbiber, this is hands down the best way to see the Burj Khalifa’s one of a kind views. There is a minimum spend per guest at Atmosphere, but it is equivalent to that of a ticket to “At the Top”, PLUS you a cocktail or a nibble when you reach the top of the building! I will absolutely recommend going this route to future visitors when they want to go up to the top of the Burj Khalifa. We had sunset reservations, and it was a great way to spend the evening!

Atmosphere (this picture took an act of Congress as my mother is not the best with heights!)

Atmosphere (this picture took an act of Congress as my mother is not the best with heights!)

Cheers!

Cheers!

Festive drinks were followed by dinner at one of our favorite dinner spots nearby, Mango Tree, for some yummy Thai food, and the best place to eat and view the Dubai dancing fountains! Mango Tree has two dinner seatings, 7PM and 930PM, and when making reservations, ensure that you request an outside table next to the railing for the best views of the fountain – you will not be sorry!

The fountain going off with the Burj Khalifa in the background, from our table at Mango Tree

The fountain going off with the Burj Khalifa in the background, from our table at Mango Tree

Her second day, of course, we had to visit my favorite place to bring visitors: the Sheikh Mohammed Center for Cultural Understanding. (I should probably try a different meal next time, but breakfast there is great!) We had a male facilitator this time (the previous visits I have had females) – and he was superb as to be expected from the center! It was really interesting to get a male’s perspective during the Q&A portion of the morning. Not to mention, I loved his camel cufflinks that he wore with his kandora! We had a great time trying on the traditional Emirati burqa 🙂

Another happy (and well educated) visitor at the Center for Cultural Understanding!

Another happy (and well educated) visitor at the Center for Cultural Understanding!

Tomorrow, I’ll bring you some of the other new venues and trips we tried out during my amazing mom’s trip to Dubai…spoiler alert: I went back to Oman! Until next time…