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From tower to wadi

Another busy few weeks here in Dubai, both at work and socially.  My friends Laura, Claire and Justin came over from the UK to visit for almost a week, which was a good excuse to get out and about and see some sights.  We went to Wild Wadi (wet), Ski Dubai (cold), took a trip into the desert (hot), and wandered around the old Bastakiya area alongside the creek in Bur Dubai (hot again).  We also did something I've been meaning to do since arriving - a trip up to the 124th floor observation deck of the Burj Khalifa, the first time I'd been in the building.  Despite not being the clearest day (it is pot luck whether you'll get a great view or a cloud of sand), the view out across the city is incredible, as is the alarming speed with which the lift carries you 124 floors from the ground into the sky.

That's some shadow...




























It's also been birthday season in Dubai, so the Friday brunches have been back in full swing.  Recent venues include the Habtoor Grand in the Marina for Kat's birthday, and Al Muna at the Madinat Jumeirah for Clint's.  Never wanting to give the impression that the Dubai lifestyle is in any way 'normal', we rocked up to that brunch in a stretched Hummer limousine, with 17 of us inside drinking champagne as we made our way down Sheikh Zayed Road...

The only way to travel...




























Both brunches saw us end up at Jambase at the Madinat into the early hours.  Despite paying the price the following day, I think my UK visitors now have a reasonable idea of why I've taken Dubai brunching so much to heart!




























We also took a trip out to Hatta in Oman a couple of weeks ago.  Four of us headed off in search of the Hatta pools - fresh water pools that can be found in the wadis (valleys or riverbeds) that are good for a bit of inland swimming.  Driving through an hour and a half of desert outside of Dubai city, but passing through a small isolated chunk of Dubai emirate, the scenery turned spectacular as we drove on through the Hajar mountains.

Hajar Mountains




























Luckily being in a 4x4 we could take on the off-road route marked on the sketchy map that we had. However, this being the end of summer, it took some time before we found anything resembling more than a large puddle in the wadi bed.  After stopping for a lunchtime BBQ (with pork sausages!) up a dusty track, we headed down into another valley and finally found a decent sized pool with an Arab family playing in the water.  Despite concerns about the feet-nibbling fish, and the fact that the water had essentially been stagnating for months, we jumped on in and splashed around for a while.





























The rocky riverbed carved up by thousands of years of flowing water was pretty impressive and made for a welcome change of scenery to the hustle and bustle of the city or the miles and miles of empty sandy desert.  Definitely somewhere to come back to in the winter after a bit of rainfall...

Yet another trip back to the UK beckons this week for wedding number 4 of 4.  The journey this time should be somewhat more enjoyable as I've upgraded my ticket to business class.  When I return to the UAE next week I'll then be a Skywards silver frequent flyer, so am looking forward to being able to enjoy the delights of the DXB Emirates lounge in future...

Location: Dubai - United Arab Emirates
Wild Wadi 7231453051217272205

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