Thursday, July 4, 2019

Dubai Bound

Happy Fourth of July everyone! We kicked off our summer vacation at LAX on July 4th bound for Dubai. Somehow we thought maybe people wouldn't travel on the Fourth. Boy were we wrong.
It was packed at the international terminal. We were loaded down with our colorful array of matching duffel bags and carry-ons. We had specific guidelines for the Africa flights of size and weight of our luggage. We ended up buying inexpensive duffel bags off amazon that worked great and were easy to spot.
Once through the check in process for our Emirates flight and through security we wanted to grab a bite of lunch. To our delight there is a Pret a Mange in LAX now!
This is our favorite quick sandwich spot from London and the girls remember it well from our trip two years ago.
We found our gate and went to the window to check out our giant airbus plane to Dubai. It is a double decker! 
If only we were seated on the top deck!
It's coach for this family. At least we have a system down by now sitting four together in the middle row. Everyone quickly got settled in for a long 16 hour journey.

International flights are always fun as a kid. You get a little kids pack with coloring book and this time a sweet little elephant backpack and of course the toiletry kit with eye shields and ear plugs.
The girls get a kids meal as well which is delivered early and has the usual chicken strips or pasta.
After a very very long 16 hour eventful flight- the man across the seat from us had a seizure and required medical attention- we landed in Dubai in the evening. We made it out of the airport relatively quickly, grabbed our bags and an Uber to our hotel. We stayed at the Double Tree Business Bay. Our room was quite high up with good city views. We managed to make it in time for a quick dip in the pool before it closed then it was off to bed.
Surprisingly we all slept pretty well the first night. We were up early but the jet lag wasn't too bad so far.
We took full advantage of the big soaking tub and got ready for our day.
The hotel restaurant had a wonderful breakfast buffet we looked forward to every morning. We could get used to this lifestyle. The kids were especially impressed with the kids trolley at the buffet. It was filled with sweets like donuts or marshmallows every morning!
Alex and I were more impressed by the self serve cappuccino machine. The lobby was beautifully decorated and the air conditioning tricked us into thinking it was tolerable outside.
As soon as we stepped out it was another story. The weather was about 104-110 each day. The thing that surprised us the most about the weather was the humidity. You would walk outside and your glasses would fog up so you would have to pause and wait for them to clear.
Our first stop was the Burj Khalifa, the worlds tallest building. Our Uber dropped us off near the entrance but little did we know it is actually a very exclusive residence and to enter the building for tourists you have to walk around the river front to the mall area. Which also happens to be the worlds largest mall.
We managed one hot family selfie before we made it into the mall air conditioning.
We had some time inside the mall before our tickets to go up the top of the Burj so we wandered. The mall has an aquarium inside which we had tickets to see later. It was really quiet since it was still pretty early so we enjoyed it before the crowds arrived.
There are so many unique sculptures and displays throughout. 
There is also an indoor ice skating rink.
Then it was time for our tour of the tower. You learn all about how it was constructed as you walk miles underground to the actual building.
Then it's a fast elevator ride up 160 stories to the top! On the 124th floor there is an observation deck.
They have beautiful artist drawn wings for your classic instagram post.
Of course there is a nice photographer there to take your picture and sell it to you. Or you can just take your own and use a filter to make the lighting look cool.
The views are impressive and it is really high up there. The pools below are fountains around the mall and buildings that do nightly water shows to music.

They have a screen area you can walk on that simulated if the glass was breaking and you were going to fall through to the ground below. Complete with cracking glass sound effects.

After taking in the sights from way way above we returned to the ground and the mall. 
The Dubai mall is the second largest mall in the world, but don't worry they are already building a larger one in Dubai to claim the top spot. We found a lot of European retailers and the girls had fun playing in Hamleys toy store.
Of course the lego store is a hit no matter which country you're in.
We stopped to rest our feet for a bit and have some lunch at Wagamama for Asian ramen. Then it was time to hit up the aquarium. 
You start off in the shark tunnel which is always fun.
It was a pretty good aquarium and considering it was in a mall in the desert it was worth doing. 
I think the ginormous candy store across from the aquarium was just as popular. 
We managed to entertain ourselves and stay on our feet covering 6 miles of walking for the day. We pushed our jet lagged weary crew to stay for the first evening water show at 6pm.
They are very much like the Vegas shows only shorter in length and no Celine Dion music. Think more Arabian nights Aladdin style music.
Once outside again you would think it had cooled off but not by much. It only goes down a few degrees in the night time. We found the cool heart that reminds us of the bean in Chicago.
It makes for fun photos if you can time it just right and get the million other tourists out of the way.

Lily and her red Hamley's balloon that made it all through the mall.
Exhausted and with sore feet we headed back to the hotel and had some dinner at Pizza express and a quick dip in the pool before calling it a night. 

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