Our Last Trip to Dubai +skiing!

Since we are almost off, it’s time to squeeze in the last of the tourist fads. On a long weekend in May, we headed to Dubai to hit some new, and favorite places one last time. We did Ski Dubai, Dubai Mall, and Korean Hotpot.

  1. SKi Dubai: No joke…AMAZING! It was well worth the trip, and I would venture to do it again. We made the right choice and went in the morning right when it opened so for our 2 hours of slopes there was nearly no line. We also learned that the chair lift is REALLY slow, but there is a “button tow” that zips up the side which helps you to get as many runs in as possible.

It’s all well and good, except I had forgotten how to ski:( We got to the top of the hill on our first run and started going down, and I was like…oh gosh what was I thinking…I’m a terrible skier! After making it down the run…barely…we went up the tow to see how fast it was. Readers, there is something scarier than skiing…taking a turn on the tow! It was steep and fast and I’ve never been so afraid! Literally hating my life.

After these two runs, I left Matt, a competent snowboarder, to go on his own while I took some runs on the baby hill. After about two of these I have found my footing and was ready to go. P.s. the magic carpet to is only for age 5 and under! How an I supposed to learn to ski?

Then…I had a great time!!!! By taking the tow…not so scary after all…we could go up and down in 5 minutes! I even went on the “experts only” run as the last run of the day!

All in all, it was a great day!

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This is more a picture of the snow park. We opted for just skiing, but you can see the hill in the background. It curves around left and up some more.

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Tried to take a selfie of our “rosie cheeks.” I’m a better skier than selfie taker.

While in Dubai, we went to Dubai mall one last time. They always have somethings fancy on the go. Check this out:

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Just a little piece of the mall

Also, no trip to Dubai is complete without a trip to the Korean hotpot restaurant. We stumbled upon this hotel restaurant when we first came to the job fair in Dubai over two years ago. This particular hotpot is a spicy soup with octopus and pork belly. It has delicious Asian accompaniments. Honestly…I could eat it everyday! We’ve even taken to staying in that particular hotel so we can eat and go straight to our room afterwards.

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Sunset Cruise

Do you remember the post where I recounted the lavish steakhouse experience that I won at Canadian Thanksgiving?

Well last Thanksgiving (many months ago) I won a sunset catamaran trip! We went on the trip in January (so it wasn’t boiling outside) and it was lovely. There were only about 12 people on the giant catamaran.

For me, there were two highlights of the trip:

  1. We got to see the Royal Palace. From the land you can really only see the gate.DSC04445DSC04441

 

2. We saw dolphins! In the wild! They came up right close…I mean inches…from the back of our boat and were playing with the bubbles in the wake. We were too busy being excited to take a picture, so you will have to imagine.

Though we don’t have any dolphin pics, here is one of the view:

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It’s funny, because this is the Corniche, the busiest part of Abu Dhabi. But, from far away it just looks like big building in sand. I promise there are more tiny building hiding somewhere.

Jollibee is Sweeping the Nation!

Have you heard about Jollibee? Since I’ve seen my first one a few months ago, it seems that they are popping up everywhere! The first one I saw went up in the Mushrif Mall food court. Here was a new restaurant front with a LONG roped line of people.

Have you ever had that feeling that you should just get in the line…because it must be something great if that many people are waiting for it!

I held off to give time for some research. Jollibee is a popular Filipino chicken place. I did a fair amount of research about what I should order when the time came.

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After a couple weeks, the line died down.

I decided on the fried chicken (a must) and the sweet spaghetti. Did I think the spaghetti was going to be ground breaking? No. But apparently it’s a must try. I would equate it to macaroni and cheese with hot dogs and ketchup. Did you ever have that as a kid? I did. I love it. Do I still love it? Mmmm maybe I still “like” it. I may not order the spaghetti again, but I would order the chicken again. It was so crispy! And comes with gravy!

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Though I’m not a fast food connoisseur, I give Jollibee two thumbs up! I just has such a fun vibe that I’m glad I didn’t miss out on the party!

Winter in Amsterdam

I don’t even know when I wrote this…It’s been sitting in the drafts for ages. Here is a little blast from the winter.

When we flew back to Canada for Christmas, we scheduled a stop over in Amsterdam for two days. The first challenge was clothing. In preparation for the negative temps in Canada, the moderately chilly Amsterdam prepared us, though we only have a few warm clothes with us. Thanks to International Day, I was sporting my Canada mittens and my favorite stylish winter hat. We both had long johns, but it was still a bit nippy.

Over the course of the two days, my priority was to hit a Christmas Market. Although many of the best ones were out of town…we found this gem. I mean…if it has mulled wine over an open fire, what else do you need?

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Like many of our trips, there was a heavy focus on food and drink, but as we walked to our tasty destinations, we enjoyed the little shops, many, many bikes and quaint buildings and canals. It was a really nice way to prepare for Christmas. We also went to the Van Gogh museum. We chose it over the Rijks museum, because the sheer size of Rijks was intimidating for us museum newbies. We chose to focus on just one artist, and it was fun.

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On our way back from Canada, we had a 12 hour layover in Amsterdam again! I highly recommend taking advantage of this stop over since it only takes 20 minutes by train to get from the Airport to downtown, which is a popular area. This time around, we opted for a fancy lunch, which turned into a 15 course tasting menu! The chef even asked for feedback on the dishes. Though others would probably choose to spend their 12 hours in a different way…I have no complaints.

She’s Gone:(

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Sold this lovely lady. After taxing in Congo for two years, we really looked forward to buying a car in the UAE. We made a great pick. I’m a bit sad to see the Ford Fiesta go, but alas…our time here is ending.

Time to trade it in for a scooter and some Tuk Tuks.

 

Update: June 9th: We are renting a car for the last month…look familiar:)

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Just a little upgrade to the 2016 model. Why change a good thing?

 

May Round Up

I’ve got a new little series for you! Teachingwanderlust is a blog I follow. She is much better at staying consistent with posts! Some of my favorites of her posts are the monthly round ups. Beyond the travel posts, sometimes it’s nice to read about some real life stuff. I also love recommendations for anything. My blogger friend does 5 categories: Around the Web, Books, Movies, TV and Music. I’m going to revise my categories a bit, because as Matt has pointed out…I know nothing on the web. “What’s a Dank meme?” So I’m going to nix web, movies and music, and add some different categories instead.

Note: This is clearly a trial idea since I am an unreliable blogger, but hopefully this will keep us in contact better:)

Books: Big news this month! I ungraded from the school iPad to a Kindle for my electronic reading needs. So I have been powering through some solid, and slightly less solid books. Here are two that I recommend:

Station 11: I was going through a bit of an apocalypse phase and this hit the spot. It took a while to get off the ground, but by the end I was having dreams about the post-apocalyptic world. If that’s your thing, get into it! Additionally, the author is Canadian!

A Man Called Ove: This book is sweeping the AISA nation. So many of my colleagues are reading it right now because we have a student who really embodies the grumpy characteristics of the lead character (in the best ways). That aside, I closed this book wishing I could continue living on the street I was so immersed in. Also, there is a movie of this one, but read the book!

TV: We just finished binge watching 5 seasons of The Americans. Bad name for a great show about Soviet spies. Give it the first season before you decide if you like it. I was ready to give up after the first episode, but I stuck with it, and am hooked! We have also started watching Crashing, which is a new HBO show written by the comedian Pete Holmes. Truthfully, I would know nothing about this show, but we listen to Pete Holmes’ podcast “You Made it Weird,” so after listening to so many, I feel like I “know” Pete. Crashing is a show about a stand up comedian starting out, but it is based on his life. If you like cringing on the couch because the main character is so sad…this is for you.

What’s Cooking: It only seems appropriate to write something about food since I spend 10 hours a day thinking about it. It’s about that time in the year that we start eating at our favorite restaurants “One. Last. Time.” Some of my trends this month are banana smoothies and baby corns.

Banana Smoothies are my new breakfast fad. The usually have banana, cocoa, peanut butter, seeds, milk and spinach. (The spinach is the best part! I just buy those frozen cubes, so they double as ice cubes.) In reflection, it is a pretty high caloric breakfast…but at least it has lots of healthy things?

Baby Corn: Embarrassingly, I just found out that baby corn isn’t just something from a can. (Obviously right?)Fresh baby corn is sooo yummy. Sneaking them into the shopping cart is a new habit, because every stir fry is better with baby corn!

Monthly Musing: This can be the category for the other things that deserve note. This month: Star Wars! Generally, we don’t watch many movies, unless I am on an airplane. In fact, Matt watched ZERO movies in 2016, the last one being Star Wars: The Force Awakens on Christmas Day 2015. I forced him to break his streak this month because I wanted to watch the newest Star Wars film. AND…after watching it, I decided we should watch them all! (I haven’t seen them all before) So now, each weekend, we watch one movie. Matt has researched the recommended order (Rouge One, 4, 5, 2, 3, 6, 7 coming soon. Skip 1)

Matt’s Musing: (After all this blog is about two of us) He is growing a beard!

I hope you like this new update:) Thanks for the idea https://teachingwanderlust.com/ 

Ferrari World

Well, our time in the UAE is gradually coming to a close, so it’s time to check off some of those tourist must dos. Cue: Fastest Roller Coaster in the World.

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Ferrari World is a Ferrari themed Park. The rides are all transportation themed, and it is meant to feel like walking through the streets of Italy.

Being roller coaster fans and crowd fearers, we arrived at Ferrari World when it opened. Coasters are better when you don’t wait in line. We hit up three coasters including the FASTEST IN THE WORLD. It was pretty fast, though not our favorite one. We went on a couple more less scary rides, and thought we would maybe go back on the fast ones again.

Then…

We went on a 4D ride. Major mistake Brittney! As Matt and I stumbled off the “Family Friendly” movie ride, it was really a question of who felt more sick. We were both very queasy, nauseous and shaky. Apparently these big kids can only stomach the fast rides.

So home we went. Haha don’t worry, we had fun and we still like roller coasters.

The Rest of Jordan

Don’t hate me for putting in the rest of Jordan into one post. I have a few posts of the UAE that I wanted to share with you, so I want to wrap this spring break up! There were three more things we did in Jordan beyond what you already read. 1. Karak Castle. 2. Bethany Beyond the Jordan and 3. Little Petra.

Why no Dead Sea you ask…IT. WAS. CLOSED! Bizarre I know. How can one close a body of water? There was a Arab World Leader’s Summit while we were there, so the road and hotels were closed:( Oh well.

Here is the Karak Castle slide show. I said it once (twice?) and I’ll say it again… I love castles with no roped off areas. Are we allowed to follow this ancient hallway? Always yes.

Also, shout out to Matt. Nice photos!

Not pictured it the photos was the straight drive up a mountain to get to this place. I swear you would burn a clutch out (does that sound like I know mechanics?) in one month (one day if I drove) in this place.

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After a long drive back from Petra, we stopped at Bethany Beyond the Jordan for a tour. Since the River Jordan is the border between Jordan and Palestine this was a military controlled area. In one spot, there was a rope across the river!

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This is the Baptismal site of Jesus by John the Baptist. The ruins are of 4 churches that have stood here over time. Originally, this was part of the River Jordan, but the river has naturally moved. Now, the site is still over a fresh water spring. Matt went for a dip in the River Jordan where it lies now.

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This is the River Jordan now, and you are looking into Palestine. The church in the distance is across the border.

These last photos are of Little Petra, which is about 20 minutes from the Petra entrance. Remember, Petra is a city, is goes quite a ways. We went here on the first day we arrived at our camp. I consider it a little teaser of the big event.

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What you see from the road. It really gets you pumped up for the adventure that awaits!

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…it wasn’t. Haha but great advertising.

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I loved spotting little stair cases high in the rocks. I like spending time imagining what was there in its prime.

Sheep Crossing

I really wanted this one to be its own post, just to take you back to the charming Congo days. This photo deserves it’s day in the sun!

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Traffic Jam

 

 

Petra

I find that many people have heard of Petra but don’t really know much about it. If you have seen Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade you have seen the most popular building in Petra where he drinks from the cup.

But, Petra is so much more. First, Petra is not the building you know, it is the name of the ancient city. We walked between 7 and10km through the ancient city. It is crazy how many buildings there are laid into the rock. And, you can climb where you like. See stairs…will climb. The Treasury (From Indiana Jones) and The Monastery are the most architecturally beautiful buildings…you can’t go in those, but you can explore everywhere else.

Not only did the Bedouins live in these rock caves up until recent, different historical civilizations built in the area throughout the past 2000 years. Again, my apologies…dates just don’t stick in my head.

My last little niglet if you plan to see Petra: GO EARLY! It opens at 6am I believe. We arrived around 7:30ish and is was still pretty empty…and not hot. There were places where we asked ourselves: “Are we allowed to walk there? No one is there…” But on our way back there were people everywhere. After walking through the sites, we headed out around 12:30pm and it was packed!

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We had to climb many stairs to see the Monastery. This is the view from the top…looking down on where we had been before. We had already visited those building in the distance that morning.

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The Monastery. Stunning. I didn’t even know it existed. It is an uphill climb to get there. Some people don’t see this one since it is a bit out of the way, where as the Treasury is almost right at the start.

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Is the Jordan, or Bedrock.

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This is an old church…I’m no historian clearly, but how cool are those knocked over columns.

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Everywhere you look…even up high there are faces of buildings. Also no people, just donkeys! That’s the prize for going early.

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The Treasury. See how it is in the rock side. Those dots going up the side were for old scaffolding during the build!

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It might surprise you that the inside of everyone is pretty much one room. The Treasury has a few rooms but it seems people spent time on the outsides, not the insides.

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Do you see the grate on the ground. It was recently that someone discovered a floor below the ground! Also one the middle column at the very top there is a “treasure bag” that was believe to hold treasure. There are bullet holes in it from people checking for treasure.

Your turn to weigh in…Which is more impressive: Treasury or Monastery?