As I embark on my second tour to Turkey -its always a little bit fraught departing Dunedin. Completing the last minute jobs , writing the lists (poor Philip ) and closing the suitcase.
I have been offering a Dubai Stopover for the past 6 -7 years. Sadly my best friend Louise is no longer living there now and I miss catching up with her over a bottle of duty free wine. But thanks to her I have made some good very choices in hotels, tours and activities.
This year I have the smallest group with me stopping over . Four fabulous ladies from Dunedin.
As we enjoyed a long lunch at the Novatel in Auckland airport waiting for our long Emirates flight I new this was going to be fun…
Picked up by the hotel car at 5.30 am at Dubai’s humungous airport terminal – within an hour we were sitting in the newly refurbished Manzil hotel lobby in Down town Dubai surrounded by test tubes of pink Gerberas. The efficient helpful staff miraculously found rooms for us to shower and refresh and we had no trouble choosing from one of the best breakfast buffets before joining my tour guide Dana on the Dubai city tour.
I never tire of this tour in a city that changes as quickly as Dubai – It must be an architects paradise where engineers, surveyors and project managers along with the thousands of workers from all over the world create this fast moving ever changing city – Even the number of hotels is expected to double in the next 5 years. Tourism is the new oil for the gulf state and the progress is frighteningly fast.
My tour guide turned out to be the beautiful Jordanian girl Dana – who I had several years ago. She took her time and told the ‘story’ of Dubai – The delightful museum in an old fort built from Coral rock it is always a treat to visit. Crossing over the Creek in and Abra we walked through the Spice and Gold Souks – In showing everyone how the bartering works I nearly ended up with a very nice string of pearls !!
The tour company and I planned a surprise for my group – something I have always wanted to do and after four hours they found themselves traveling up to the 148 th floor of the Burg Khalifir in 1 minute ( tallest building in the world ) to enjoy the most
fabulous views of Dubai and the endless desert it is built on. It was superb and a chance to be over whelmed by the enormous changes to this town built on pearl diving.
My favourite Ottolenghi style cafe provided a mouth watering array of salads and breads to choose from before the deckchair beside the pool, a swim, and a late afternoon cocktail finished our afternoon.
I had 4 very tired looking girls by 8pm – We managed a walk to the fountain and some Arabic meze before putting our heads down into the biggest most beautiful pillows I have ever slept on. (We all decided we needed a shipment to NZ ..)