Monday, 4 February 2013

Christmas Trip Part 1

Well, it is now February and I am now getting round to writing about our Christmas. I promised a post about our trip here—we did obviously survive the jet lag and it took a good week to start to feel 'normal' again. Leila is still waking slightly earlier than before we left, but she is sleeping through the night, so I can't complain.

So, all my family are still in England (I moved to Australia in 2001). We hadn't been back since 2009 when Mahlia was just 8 months old. My dad, brother, niece and nephews had never met Leila (we last had a family get-together in 2010, where we all met in Thailand and Leila was a mere tiny bump!). So we booked our flights back for Christmas 2012. Flying long-haul with young kids will be another post!

We stopped in Dubai for 3 nights on the way over to avoid suffering jet lag over the festive period. The girls loved the hotel and the pool, and if they had it their way, they would have just stayed there rather than see the sights. But, we had other plans and dragged them out.
We stayed at The Arabian Courtyard Hotel & Spa, located in the older part of Dubai - thoroughly recommend it! The view above is of the Dubai Museum from our window.

We flew in at the ungodly hour of 5.30 am, and after a swim and a nap we headed out. First stop was the Dubai Mall—one of the largest shopping malls in the world. We visited the aquarium inside the mall, which the girls were amazed by.

We then watched the Dubai Fountains at the base of the Burj Khalifa—the tallest building in the world. The fountains are timed to music with light effects—it was pretty spectacular. Mahlia had fallen into a deeeeeep sleep by now and it took a loooong time to wake her... she was quite grumpy for the rest of the evening! Leila, on the other hand, was as happy as happy could be!

And then we made our way to the top of the Burj Khalifa, which was a waste of money in my opinion. It would probably have been better in the day time, but for the amount of time you have to queue to get up there and then back down, I definitely wouldn't do it again. Exhaustion had really caught up with Mahlia by this point and she was feeling unwell, so we managed to skip the queue on the way down (we escaped and hour wait!!). See the grumpy face below. Leila also flaked at this point.

And that was only day 1!! After a good nights sleep, we headed to the Atlantis Palm, located on the man-made Palm Islands. Mahlia's and hubby's Christmas prezzie was a dolphin encounter. Mahlia was initially very reluctant to go in, but after some coaxing/pressure she relented and enjoyed it! Leila and I watched from the beach (she was very good not running into the water).

Entry to the water park, Aquaventure, which is part of The Atlantis Palm, was included—Leila absolutely loved the slides and kids areas. Mahlia didn't. It is an awesome water park, and I don't even like water slides! Hubby took Leila down the rapids, Mahlia screamed down the rapids. Didn't get many photos here, as the camera was in a locker most of the day for obvious reasons, but I did get a photo of hubby in front of the ridiculously tall (27.5 m), long (61 m) water slide that he conquered—it goes through a shark-filled lagoon! Not a chance in hell you'd get me on that! I was not ready to take a photo of him on the slide... below is all I got as evidence that he did do it! (Wedgie?!)

Day 3 was a little less energetic—we went on a private abra (a traditional wooden boat) along the creek, and then across the creek to the gold and spice souks. Just near our hotel were the textile souks—beautiful fabrics and souvenirs... haggle, haggle, haggle!

We flew out on day 4 to Gatwick. I've just realised that we took no photos at airports or on the planes—yes, it was that constant with the girls the WHOLE time on the plane, that we didn't get a single photo. I really loved Dubai. It's easy to get around, and relatively cheap to get around as well, especially the metro. There's plenty to do for kids, and we'll definitely stop there again when the girls are older.

Part 2 here!

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