Buildings and Fountains and Penguins, Dubai! 

Where do you find the largest mall, tallest building, largest indoor theme park, tallest twisted tower, largest natural garden, largest choreographed fountain show, tallest/largest/biggest everything in the world? Dubai, UAE. This city is, in one word…spectacular.

Only 2 weeks into the school year, we had a 9 day break for Eid Al Adha. We weren’t planning to go anywhere. We thought we’d take the week to get adjusted to Bahrain, explore the island, and relax. However, those with more experience than us recommended we go somewhere. Anywhere. After all, “Bahrain is a small island. It doesn’t take long to explore it.” Considering our shipment hadn’t yet arrived from the States, the idea of spending the entire break in our house listening to our boys argue because they had nothing better to do, traveling seemed a much better option.

We chose Dubai for it’s proximity (read cheap flight) and because we could do just a few days there and have time at home to rest (yeah, right).

We found a place to stay on Air B&B. We ended up in the marina area, which was a nice place to be. We were far enough out of the busy downtown to have quiet, yet close enough that transportation to town was easy and inexpensive, relatively speaking of course. Everything in Dubai is expensive!

Our first day, we bought tickets for a city tour by bus. This was a great purchase for us as first-timers to Dubai. Not only did we get to see the city and hear about major sites and attractions, but we were able to avoid paying for taxis much of the time.

After riding around town and considering all the options, we decided the “one crazy thing” we would do in Dubai is Ski Dubai, including their Penguin Encounter. What else would Minnesotans do after escaping the cold? Apparently, find the only place in the desert where the temperature is -4C and there’s snow on the ground! It didn’t take long to remember why we moved to a warm climate. BRRRRRRRR! It’s good to know if we get desperate for snow (which I can’t imagine will happen to me) we know where we can find it.

There is so much to do in Dubai, before we left we were already talking about the things we will do on our next trip there (and the next…).

The best part of the trip for me wasn’t something normally found in Dubai. It was the surprise of discovering our Turkish daughter (former foreign exchange student) and her husband just happened to be in Dubai the same days we were! We haven’t seen her in years and we all were shocked to discover we were vacationing about 10 minutes apart. We were thrilled to be together again.

We also had the chance to have dinner at one of Jim’s former student’s house. He is a pilot for Emirates Airlines and has been in flying out of Dubai for a few years. It was lovely to meet him and his family and be treated to South African steaks and wine.

As our trip came to an end, I realized we had a very non-Griswold-like vacation. No mishaps. No lost items. No dead aunt tied to the top of our car (tour bus?). We did get lost…and stuck in traffic…and lost again once going back to our apartment, but that hardly counts. It was just a way to discover more of the city.

Hopefully our good fortune will continue as we embark on our next New Griswold Adventure!



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