[Dubai Download: Part 2]

And the saga continues…

 

Day 5 

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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.

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Day 6

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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

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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.

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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

 

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[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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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Part 2 coming soon!

 

– S

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[Spring Always Brings New Things]

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You know how I met Mr. Sullivan’s family last weekend? Well, the reason it’s taken me almost a full week to update you isn’t because it didn’t go well; work has been a little nuts this week with some unexpected surprises. But back to The Sullivans.

For starters, I’m practically a midget compared to all of them. Peter’s mom is the shortest at 5’10”, so, yeah. I think I have a big enough personality to make up in the height department, though. Obviously I was a little nervous, I mean, it’s not everyday that you meet your boyfriend’s family, and there are a lot of them: 4 brothers and a sister, plus his parents. I’ve got all the names down and general descriptions of what they do, so I think I’m in a pretty good spot.

Anyway, dinner was lovely and I had so much fun getting to know his family. Their dynamic is kind of amazing, and it’s not something that you run into often. I was definitely reminded of the way that I am with my family, and somehow that made me feel more comfortable and actually less like I wasn’t in on an inside joke. When it was time to go I didn’t really want to leave. I’m excited to get to know them all better, and let them see who I am.

Work, however, was not as easy this week. Without getting into too many details, I’ve been splitting my time between two totally different projects. Project A has been a consistent thing since October, but it’s not really what I had in mind for my future work aspirations. Project B is an up and coming thing that revved up only a month or two ago, but it’s something I would love to do more with. Sorta vague, I know. Sorry. But the good news is that my wish came true, albeit rather abruptly, and I’ll no longer be working on Project A, as of today, at all!

Also, I took an Intro to Yoga workshop last Saturday which inspired me to give yoga the good ‘ol college try. So, I’m taking my very first, actual, hot yoga class tomorrow morning. It helps that someone from work is doing it too; forces me to be a touch more accountable. (I’m currently pounding a Nalgene bottle of water so I don’t die.)

And on that note, I’m off to bed. Here’s a little something I found and felt like sharing: It’s a song, listen to it.

 

– S

 

ALSO, my trip to Dubai is in 3 weeks O_O ohmygod am I excited.

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[Dreamworld]

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I feel like such a sap saying this, but, I’m super happy. Probably the happiest I’ve ever been while in a relationship, and a lot, practically all of it, has to do with the man I’m in this relationship with. He’s thoughtful, caring, funny, driven, handsome, and so much more.

I’ve never had a good Valentine’s day and after talking about it in passing, he took it upon himself to make the entire weekend one that I will never forget. We went to dinner Friday night, and even though my salad was filled with a massive amount of unwanted bacon, we got dessert for free! We ended the night by watching one very shocking episode of House of Cards.

We rose early, and were on the road by 8am. (I managed to get ready and pack everything up in under an hour. *Pats self on back*) We stopped at one of the many roadside coffee huts, drove through Stevens Pass, which was beautiful, and ended up in Leavenworth, WA. We walked around the pseudo German town as the snow started to fall. Lunch was delicious, we hit the road again and arrived at our final destination of Coeur d’Alene, ID 4 hours later.

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The silences weren’t awkward, the views were lovely, and I couldn’t imagine taking that trip with anyone else. Thank you for being mine, Mr. Sullivan.

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– S

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[I’ve Gots the Travel Bug]

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First non-365 post after a whopping 1 day off, but I have big news totally worth sharing…

 

I’m going to Dubai in April!

 

My friend Lisa texted me on Friday and asked if I wanted to go with her. I said I’d think about it over the weekend, but as soon as she asked me I knew I was going to make the trip happen. I mean, when else am I going to go to Dubai? So, we bought our tickets today and I literally did a dance in my office when I was done. I’m just glad the blinds close.

 

– Stephanie

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[337] I Don’t Even Know

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In the last 24 hours I’ve been frisked at an airport, saw a man’s ass through holes in his jeans (he wasn’t wearing underwear), literally sprinted to my second flight gate only to be told it was delayed, flew across the country, ate at two of my favorite places in Syracuse, hung ornaments above a sink, arranged flowers, ran errands, wrapped boxes for the sole purpose of hanging them on the wall as decorations, reunited with my favorite dog in the whole wide world, drank wine, and laughed with my family, and more specifically my grandfather who was on fire with the jokes tonight. I’m exhausted, but it was an amazing day.

 

– Stephanie

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[336] Get Me Outta Here!

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First of all, it snowed this morning. Granted, it was maybe an inch, but the ground was white for a little while.

Second, my bed frame was delivered and assembled today, which means my apartment is almost done.

Third, I’m exhausted. There were so many things that I needed to get done today, and even though it didn’t seem like a lot, I’m totes ready for a nap. The Syracuse basketball game is about to start so maybe I’ll take that time to lay down and rest a little bit.

I’ll be home in 17.5 hours, but I’m trying to figure out if there’s something I can sacrifice to the weather gods so that they don’t mess with my traveling.

– Stephanie

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[330] Everything’s Been Owned Before

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I did a bunch of shopping today, and only got some of what I needed, slash wanted. I hit a couple of consignment shops hoping to find some small side tables for the living room, but the ones I liked were either too expensive, too used, or there was only 1. I did manage to find some pretty, sparkly candle holders and some pillows for the couch. I also may have purchased a sweater with the sole purpose of wearing it on the airplane next week when I go home.

Comfort is key when it comes to traveling.

 

– Stephanie

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[204] Homeward Bound

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It was a long day. 3.5 hours in the car, breakfast at IHOP, 2.5 hours in the Norfolk airport, 1 hour on a plane, 3 hours in the Philly airport, 5 hours on a plane, 45 minutes in the car, 15 minutes in the shower, and 9 hours in bed sleeping.

The best decision I made all day was putting on a sports bra and yoga pants to travel in…real clothes are overrated.

And yes, this is another sunset. Deal with it.

 

– Stephanie

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[197] What Work?

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This morning we drove the last 3.5 hours from Norfolk, VA to Frisco (Cape Hatteras), NC. This is one of my favorite places on Earth, and I was instantly relaxed. I thought I would have a hard time ignoring my work emails, and everything that was going on there, but the instant I turned it off I didn’t think about it one iota. We stopped at the Cape Hatteras lighthouse before heading to the house, and after we got into the house, and sort of unpacked, we all headed down to the beach to stick our feet in the sand. It couldn’t have been any more perfect.

 

– Stephanie

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