[Dubai Download: Part 2]

And the saga continues…


Day 5 


Lisa and I decided to explore Bur (Old) Dubai. Since we were pros at taking the metro, obviously we did that, got turned around after getting off, but only for a minute, and started walking. We ended up stumbling into the Heritage House which used to be someone’s house that they actually lived in. There was also a resident artist type guy who worked with metal making jewelry, frameable art, and other stuff. He was really nice, and didn’t speak much English, but proceeded to write both my and Lisa’s names in Arabic calligraphy! Mine is currently framed in my living room.

When we left, after being given fairly specific instructions as to where we should go next, we just started wandering towards the water, where the souks (markets) started to pop up. Unfortunately they weren’t quite what I had built up in my head. I knew that Dubai was a relatively young city, but I still thought there might be some older things. I envisioned the souks to be these wooden tables with unorganized piles of stuff for me to sort through and find, kind of like a famer’s market. Not the case. Every vendor basically had its own store, air conditioned and all. The fabric souk looked like China Town in NYC where they have pashminas coming out of their ears; I’m pretty sure it was the same stock, too. I got a couple anyway since Seattle doesn’t really have a China Town like NYC does.

We left, and got to the water’s edge where we then had to take an abra across the Dubai creek. Lisa and I decided to make the most of it, and got ourselves a private abra ride down the creek and back. On the way down the creek there was no breeze, but on the way back it was the extreme opposite. The ride ended up costing a wee bit more than we had expected, but since neither of us wanted to go to jail…we paid. We soon found the spice souks where Lisa really wanted to buy some saffron for her sister. But again, it was a bunch of stores with the same stuff all lined up next to each other. The saffron wasn’t any cheaper than it would have been in the US, so we moved on to the gold souk. Here comes another NYC reference: You know that block or two in the city that are only stores that sell gold or diamonds or whatever? That’s what this gold souk looked like, except slightly less like NYC. Even the fake purse and sunglass hawkers were included. Needless to say we didn’t end up buying anything, and went back to Rae Ann’s.

We all decided it would be pretty awesome to go to the top of the tallest building in the world at night, so we did. Grabbed dinner at The Cheesecake Factory, which had unlimited Coke refills for Rae Ann, and then started to head over to the entrance to the Burj Khalifa tour. Uuuuuuuh…someone *cough cough Lisa* forgot the tickets back at the apartment so we drove back to get them, drove back to the mall, and managed to get to the very last tour minutes before it closed. Phew! And of course we got some sweet pics.




Day 6


Literally all we did Friday was have brunch, and dance. In Dubai, Friday is like Saturday, and brunch is a thing. It’s not quite like US brunch. Basically everywhere in the city has a brunch and they range in price. Our brunch was all you can eat and drink, for, like, 4 hours. There was a big group of us, a lot of people Rae Ann work with, so it was really nice. The food was actually pretty awesome also. Dessert was my fullest plate, obviously. After brunch was done we walked to the downstairs of the hotel and there was a pub-like place where there was plenty of dancing and more drinking. We actually stayed there for 5-6 hours even though Lisa and I were totally against it initially. Time flies when you’re watching drunk people get crunk at brunch.



Day 7


I love the beach. I mean, it’s perfection. Sure there are flaws in some beaches, but if I have a place to sit my butt down, and another to to swim/float in, I’m easy to please. Kite Beach had both of those things, AND an awesome view of the Burj Al Arab where we were going to have tea later.

The first thing Lisa booked for us was this tea at the Burj Al Arab, the 7-star hotel. We bought our plane tickets, and the next day we were heading to tea. Saturday seemed like the perfect day to do it too since we left the next day. It served as our last hurrah. And boy was it worth the wait. The whole evening was pretty surreal. First you have to get past the guarded gate; you can’t even go into the hotel unless you’re staying there, or you have a reservation at any of their restaurants, AND you can only get there 30 minutes before your reservation. Our name was on the list, so we drove up, had the car complimentary valeted, and we walked in. You’re overwhelmed with opulence in every nook and cranny of the hotel. The escalator, which is flanked by a massive fish tank that’s actually larger than my apartment, takes you up as high as you can go unless you’re staying at the hotel, or you have reservations at a restaurant on a higher floor. We did not, and even though we hopped in the elevator to go up, since we didn’t have a key to a room, it just sat there, and we had to get out. Tea was simply amazing. Champagne, berry tart, finger sandwiches, vegetable wantons, sorbet palette cleanser, scones with clotted cream and jam, dessert, and tea. I mean, it was totally worth it. After our almost 3 hour service, we took a couple of pictures and waved goodbye at all the rich people actually staying there. It rained on the way home for all of 30 seconds.



Lisa and I packed all our stuff up, and Rae Ann took us to the airport the next morning. The trip was a once-in-a-lifetime type of trip, and I’m so glad I got to experience it with one of my favorite people.


– S



[Dubai Download: Part 1]

Dubai. There is no way I’m going to try and write one, singular post about my week long trip, or maybe there is…


I started writing this post the day I got back from Dubai, which was May 4th, and haven’t touched it since. It’s going to be the mother of all posts, in two parts, but I hope you want to take the time, or two or three, to read through everything, and get the best gist of how amazing this trip was.


Day 1


Lisa and I decided to get an early start to the day and take a taxi over to the Jumeirah Grand Mosque for a tour and some cultural education on Islam. I really glad this was the first activity because it gave me a different perspective on something I knew very little about; previously, all I had about Islam was what I’d learned from TV and the news, which can, at times, be very biased. I came out more knowledgeable, and full of camel milk ice cream, WHICH, is amazing, and I totally wish we had it in the states.

After the tour and ice cream, we headed to the mall. But this isn’t just any mall, it’s the Dubai Mall, which happens to be the largest mall in the world. So, obviously, we had to go. We surprisingly did very little shopping, but ate lunch, walked around for hours, and bought 1 iced tea so that we could use their wifi for an hour. Totally worth it. We also got our first, up-close view of the Burj Khalifa and met up with Rae Ann, our lovely host, for dinner and a fabulous water + light show in the fountains outside the mall and Burj Khalifa.


Day 2


In our original plan, Lisa and I had talked about going to Abu Dhabi, but for a combination of reasons, we didn’t. Instead, we headed to Jumeirah Beach. We rented chairs and an umbrella and soaked up the sun for hours. The water was perfection, and if it hadn’t been so freaking hot, like, boobs sweating in the shade hot, we would have stayed forever. When we got back to Rae Ann’s, we showered, hung out for a bit, and then went to the Irish Village for dinner.

I love me some local cuisine wherever I’m traveling, so the one thing that disappointed me about Dubai was the food. Sure there was some traditional middle eastern food, but Dubai doesn’t have it’s own specialty so we ended up eating at a lot of American-esque restaurants.


Day 3


We didn’t go to Abu Dhabi today either. Looking back I sort of regret not going even though I really enjoyed all the other things we did. Instead, Lisa and I used the Metro to get around Dubai and explore. We went to The Mall of the Emirates, which has an indoor ski slope (!), and the harbor. We walked around a ton in the scorching sun, grabbed lunch inside, walked some more around the harbor, and then hobbled back to the Metro. Lisa and I managed to persuade Rae Ann to go out with us on a school night and go to a ladie’s night at the hotel next to the Burj Al Arab. We each got two free glasses of champagne, and since Rae Ann wasn’t really drinking, Lisa and I each got 3.


Day 4


Lisa and I took the Metro again today to the Dubai Mall for our first trip to the top of the Burj Khalifa. Unfortunately there were a couple of…setbacks.

There was a disgusting, burping woman on the Metro that had no concept of personal space. She was practically standing on top of me, which I could understand if the metro had been that full, but it wasn’t. At one point, if I hadn’t moved my leg, she would have be straddling it. In the middle of the ride, she let out a particularly loud, awful sounding burp. Lisa and I couldn’t help but laugh, because, who does that? That did, however, lead us to check the time of our tour and realize it was 30 minutes sooner than we had thought! I can honestly say I have never walked so fast in my entire life. Not only did we practically have to speed walk through the entirety of the LARGEST MALL IN THE WORLD, but we had to do it in 10 minutes. If it hadn’t been completely air conditioned we would have died from over-exhaustion in the heat. Luckily, or miraculously, we made it on time, with minutes to spare.

At the “top,” or 124 floors up, it was a beautiful view. Even with the glass surrounding us it was windy, but that made for some pretty fun windblown selfies. We also got the clearest day yet, so when taking pictures, you could actually see things!

After heading home, we changed and left again to go on a desert safari! We had our very own air conditioned vehicle to take us out to the desert and then ride sand dunes. I mean, come on. That’s awesome. We saw camels, spinning men, and a belly dancer. Dinner was more traditional middle eastern food with kebabs and such. There was also a henna tent. Obviously I got some. The woman got in on my nail, and it is still stained, but I can at least see how much my nails grow. I was a truly enjoyable experience, and I’m so happy to have done it.



Part 2 coming soon!


– S


[310] Dresser…I Don’t Even Know Her!


Today was another busy, busy day. Unfortunately it started early, but fortunately it was early enough that I was able to start building the dresser that I got at Ikea yesterday. I got the entire frame done in a little over an hour and then hopped in the shower to get ready for another date…with the guy from yesterday. We decided to go to Discovery Park, and it couldn’t have been a nicer day to explore and take a walk through nature. Then we went to a bar with NFL Sunday Ticket to watch the Giants game, but because they were losing, and sucking beyond belief, we left after halftime.

When I got back to my apartment I finished the dresser, cleaned up, and left to go back to Kirkland. (I feel like I’m in this weird in between place. More than half of my things are at the new apartment, so I’d call it home, but I’ve been living at my aunt and uncle’s for almost a year, so I would also call that home. Then there’s actual home in Syracuse, which will always be home. I guess it’s better to have three homes than zero.) With Thanksgiving just a few days away I’m feeling pretty blessed.


– Stephanie


[247] Balls.


I had planned on writing something that I thought was going to be pretty great, and now I can’t remember what it was. Shit.

Also, this picture is from yesterday. I’m failing at blogging right now.

UPDATE: I remembered what I wanted to say. Is it weird that I’m waiting to buy a massive amount of Palmer’s Cocoa Butter (in stick form) from Amazon until October 1 because I’ll get extra credit card points?

– Stephanie


[203] You’re Being a Frowny Biscuit


The last day of vacation is always kind of a downer. There’s that looming fact in the back of your head that you have to leave and go back to your real life. I obviously got in some beach time before packing and having dinner with the family.

This last day was particularly hard for me because I don’t have a set of friends that I’m close with in Seattle. Being with my family all week was amazing, but I just kept thinking about how quiet, and sort of lonely it would be going home. I almost started crying when Buddy said, “We’re still the 3 best friends that anybody could have” as he left to go home. I’m a big baby. It’s cool.


– Stephanie


P.S. Sunsets warm my soul and I hope these vacation pictures warm yours.


[202] Nocracoke


Usually on the Thursday of vacation we all take a ferry ride to Ocracoke Island to have lunch at Howard’s Pub. That didn’t happen this year. We headed over to the ferry to find out that there was a 3 hour wait just to get on and that didn’t even include the 45 minute ferry ride. So, needless to say, we didn’t go to Ocracoke. Instead, we spent the day on the beach. (Big surprise, I know.)

– Stephanie


[201] Jesus Egg Pie


Sorry these posts aren’t more exciting, but my vacation is on the beach, so I’m spending as much time on said beach as possible. Tonight a bunch of us played Catch Phrase. Sammy and I obviously owned the other teams, but I don’t think either of us would have ever used “Jesus egg pie” to describe a quiche. Playing was an unexpectedly intense amount of fun!


– Stephanie


[199] One Is the Lonliest Number


I can’t remember a more perfect beach day than today. The water was warm and calm enough to float in all day. The air wasn’t at all humid, the breeze was just breezey enough, and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. We all played football, built sand castles and dug a hole. We buried someone in the hole, so that was fun. The beach was so perfect that we didn’t leave until almost 5pm.

Sammy, Buddy and I have been spending lots of time together so Buddy thought it was appropriate if this was our theme song: We’re the 3 best friends that anybody could have. It’s perfect.


– Stephanie


[198] Beaches Who Cook


Today my family made dinner for everyone else in the house, so Sammy and I made our cold salads before we went down to the beach. After spending a couple of hours down there soaking up some sun, it started to pour. I booked it back to the house, showered, peeled and deveined 5lbs of shrimp. There was some entertainment in the form of an adorable 6 year old, Ryan. All I know is that he’s hilarious. He was playing “Big Bad Wolf” with my dad, who was the wolf, and at one point Ryan told him to, “Get off my lawn!”

Later, Sammy, Buddy, Ryan and I went down to the beach to do a little crab hunting. Before we left the house, Ryan, who was wearing crab pajamas, laid down on the floor and said, “When we get down to the beach I’m going to lay down in the sand and say, ‘Hello my red brothers!'” Where do kids come up with this stuff?!

– Stephanie