Friday, February 28, 2014

Dubai-- Miracle Garden and At.Mosphere Lounge

My mother and sister just left after an eight day visit to Oman.  I am so happy they were willing to fly 20+ hours to see me.   It was a great visit!  Of course I had to take them to Dubai.  I feel that if you come all the way to Oman, one should also see Dubai.  A place all your friends will have actually heard of!  :)  But here is the funny thing.  I have taken three sets of visitors to Dubai.  While the malls are beautiful and should be seen, my visitors are not as wowed by the malls as us Muscat residents are.  My family is not as impressed with the fact that they can walk into any electronic store and find their particular printer ink in stock.  Let me tell you-- it makes me one happy camper!  Or that there is PF Chang's and Cheesecake Factory.  So, I needed to find something else to do besides the malls.  Luckily I found out about the At.Mosphere (not a typo!) Lounge and the Miracle Garden!

I love taking pictures at dusk.  The Burj Khalifa.

We flew from Muscat to Dubai in the morning.  We spent several hours at the Dubai Mall and then went back to our hotel for a rest.  We returned to the mall and had a light dinner at Urbano's, so we could enjoy the fountain show.

Next, we took a taxi to the At.Mosphere lounge in the Armani Hotel in the Burj Khalifa.  You really can't walk to the hotel entrance from the mall.  The At.Mosphere Lounge is the tallest restaurant in the world, on the 123rd floor.  I had to make reservations in advance.  In order to book a window table, each guest must spend 250 UAE Dirhams, or about $68.  Since it costs about $40 just to go to the observation deck of the Burj Khalifa, I thought it was worth the extra amount for a night view and a different experience.

One of the couches at the Armani Hotel.  The whole place was very tasteful and very classy.  In fact, my reservation confirmation email included a dress code.  Elegant casual, with no colorful, splashy prints!!  It literally said that!!

The view of Dubai at night from the 123rd floor.

The fountain show from up high!

Here are the three of us, with no splashy prints.  :)

A tip:  if you are a light drinker or non-drinker, you can book a non-window table.  You can still enjoy the views.  The minimum purchase is 150 dirhams instead of 250.  We made up our minimum with food, which I have to say, was outstanding.

The next morning, we took a taxi to the Miracle Garden.  Our hotel was on Sheik Zayed road, close to the Dubai Mall.  It took a good 20-25 minutes to get to the gardens.  I don't know what I was thinking, but fortunately the taxi ride was only about $25.  Taxis are cheap and plentiful in Dubai.

Entry fee is 20 dirhams, or $5.45.  You can also go into phase II for an extra 10 dirhams.  We only did phase I, and that was enough for us.  But it was certainly worth the trip and time!  The gardens were beautiful!

My mom

Well, this is certainly more beautiful than a junkyard!

Can't you just imagine a wedding here??

The Burj Khalifa in flowers

After the gardens, we went to the Mall of the Emirates and then on a double-decker bus tour.  Then back to Oman!  More mom and sis blog posts to follow.  :)

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Discover Oman 2014-- Jebel Akhdar

Every year, the kids at my children's school go on a 'Discover Oman' trip.  There are several choices of trips.  Last year Austin went on a camel trek and Savannah went to Jebel Akhdar.  Well, this year, they both went to Jebel Akhdar.  Savannah enjoyed it so much last year that she wanted to go again.  I gave both of them the task of taking pictures for my blog.  Just for the record, Austin is better at picture-taking than Savannah is.  :)

Austin taking a picture as they arrived. The weather on the first day was not ideal.  It was rainy and very cool.  The nights got downright cold, below freezing!

The sun is trying to shine through.

Austin and Savannah

Day two.  Oh, what a difference a day makes!  The kids spent three mights on the mountain, and went hiking and exploring during the days.

These were not easy hikes.

My favorite picture!

Austin's selfie expression.

Now we come to Savannah's pictures.

They explored one of the abandoned villages in the area.  These villages usually have no access by roads or vehicles.  They were inhabited until the 1970's!

Austin told me he was throwing rocks into this sinkhole.  He heard his rock hit something metal.  He was telling his teacher about it, and his reply?  Probably an unexploded mine. ... good to know.

Um, another one of Austin's pictures.

My kids had a great time on their trip to Jebel Akhdar.  But the night he got home, Austin said, "I am glad to be clean, full, and warm!"  Always a good thing.