Friday, January 22, 2016


The week AFTER Christmas vacation our family went to Dubai.  We had some medical appointments there that couldn't be made during the break, so the boys had an extended vacation. There was no complaint about that from them.  It was our first time leaving the country since we arrived here on July 31.
The Doha Airport wasn't very crowded.  Good to fly at a time that isn't busy.

Not sure why there was a dinosaur in the airport.
  We flew on Qatar Airways.  The flight is only about an hour and saves us having to drive through Saudi Arabia.  Can you believe that on such a short flight they feed you a meal?  Sure, it is only a hot pocket type sandwich, pastry, and drink, but they feed you for free.  We had eaten in the airport so I was not hungry, but I tried the food just to see.  Not something I would choose intentionally, but not overly gross, just kind of bland.  I will take bland any day on a plane.

Our flight was uneventful and we quickly retrieved our baggage and grabbed a taxi to our hotel. It was during afternoon tea in the club room so I took the boys up for a quick snack.  Justin loved the fresh fruit and pastries he had to choose from.  He selected a comfy couch and enjoyed a quiet moment without the ipad. :)
Justin enjoying afternoon snacks in the club room.  He wanted the a comfy chair.
Ryan chose to sit somewhere different than his brother, which actually surprised me.  He wanted to be able to look out the window and see the boats moving back and forth.  We could also see the world's tallest building in the distance.  It looked like something that you would see in a Dr Seuss book.
Ryan wanted to sit by the window and look out at Deira Creek.  He pondered his empty glass. Getting to have some Sprite was a special treat.
The next morning we had a doctor appointment and then headed out to the Dubai Mall.  It is the largest mall in the world by area.  Right outside the mall on one side is the Dubai Fountain.  Across the water you can see the Burj Khalifa and a souq (market) building.
Burj Khalifa, tallest building in the world (over 2700 feet)

Looking out from the Dubai Mall (world's largest mall by area)
While waiting for the fountain show, I got selfies with the boys.  Justin likes to look cool in his pics while Ryan is less self conscious.
Selfie with my sweet J

And my equally sweet Ry Guy
The fountain show was fun to watch.  I wanted to catch it at least once in the day.  It turns out that this was the only day show we saw, though we did see it again later at night and I think that is more spectacular because you also have the lights.
Dubai Fountain at the Dubai Mall

We went into the mall to have lunch.  The Rainforest Cafe was a perfect choice for us.  The boys had never eaten there before and enjoyed the experience.  It reminded me of a fun lunch I had with my sister, Meredith, at a Rainforest Cafe many years ago.
I loved this fountain with divers inside the mall. I couldn't get my kids to pose like decent human beings for a picture with it though. I guess I caught the real them.

We went up to Sonic Republic to play a few video games and learned about a promotion the mall was having for the shopping festival. We bought the promotional tickets and made a rough plan for the rest of the week.  The tickets included aquarium admission, Kidzania admission, ice skating, movie tickets, and some rides at Sega Republic.  The boys did some of the rides at Sega and we went to catch a movie.  We ended up seeing The Good Dinosaur.

The boys got slushies to enjoy during the movie.  Blue raspberry is definitely a good look for Justin's lips.  We were going to take a taxi home, but the line was sooooooo long.  We decided that it was probably faster to take the metro, so that's what we did.  On the train, Justin sat near a Chinese couple.  The woman was commenting (in Chinese) how cute the boys were, how fair Justin is, and how funny his blue lips looked.  I had to laugh and I think the man realized that I understood what they had said. Little did he know that my Chinese language knowledge was pretty much exhausted with those few phrases.  I guess we could have talked about weather, prices of food, or counted.

On Monday we got a bit of a late start because I had a headache.  We managed to still spend seven hours at kidzania.  We weren't sure if the kids would like it or not, but they obviously did.  They would have stayed even longer if we had let them. I wasn't overly excited about the place. I thought it had poor lighting and was really loud.  I could have used a bit more organization too.  I suppose I am not the target audience though. My boys want to go back.
Parents are allowed to leave their children and come back later or stay with them. We stayed. Parents are not allowed inside the activity buildings and have to wait out on the streets of kidzania.
Justin and Ryan "worked" at a gas station to earn kidzania money

After they got their kidzania driver's licenses, the boys headed off to the race track for a few laps.

The winners!  They were also the only two on the track at the time, but that is beside the point.

At Fed Ex they got to get assignments to deliver packages to various locations throughout kidzania.

The boys got to be pilots and get in a flight simulator.

One of the favorite "jobs" was at the coke bottling plant.  Not only did they get to make and bottle their own bottle of coke, but they got to drink it.  A special treat since I don't normally allow caffeine.

The boys got to wash windows.  This job site rotated between painting and window washing. Both times they chose to go through they did window washing.

Ryan chose to "work" at the fire department.

The fire truck drives all around the city of Kidzania to get to the fire at the Flamingo Hotel.

Back from fire fighting.  In the background is the grocery store.  The boys never made it there or any of the medical professions (vet, doctor, dentist).

How can you help but love working at the kinder factory and making your own bar of chocolate?

Justin got into the decorator job. The team would work together to transform a living room.  They had questionable taste, but he enjoyed being a leader once he had been through once and knew what to do. It was also a fast way to make money.
We ate at Five Guys and got to see the Dubai Fountains for 3 different rounds. Google it if you want to see a youtube video. 

On Tuesday we headed out for another appointment. First we had breakfast. It was nice to start the day with a good meal. After the appointment, we went to the Dubai Museum. It was worth the trip, but nothing super impressive. The boys were less than impressed with the lack of interactive displays. They have really gotten spoiled with hands-on museums. It was a much shorter day for us.
The boys had French toast, yogurt, fresh fruit, freshly squeezed juice, and assorted pastries each morning. They also tried camel milk. Since it was strawberry flavored it was difficult to compare it to cow milk.

The boys had more fun running around outside the museum than they did seeing the displays inside.
A traditional abra boat. We were going to take one across the Dubai Creek, but it would have meant additional walking and that did not thrill the boys. The ones that go back and forth across the creek are much smaller and simpler. 

On Wednesday after our appointment we went to Children's City. The park is quite lovely, but the museum was a real disappointment. It looked like the museum has not been well maintained. I was surprised that in such a tourist city of a wealthy country that it wasn't better. The park itself was nice though. It does have a small admission charge. Some websites also incorrectly list Wednesday as Ladies Day. I was glad that it was not so we could all enjoy.
Pretty park good for a relaxing stroll.

We didn't have spare clothes so we kept our kids away from the water.

There were a couple of small play areas which were fun for the boys.

There were bubble water things for the boys to play hamster wheel in. 

Cute picture even though the museum was disappointing.

Justin trying out something that actually did work at the museum.

This shows how many of the displays were in disrepair. The scale is missing.

Ryan found a working display too.

Thursday was our last day to enjoy Dubai. After our appointment, we headed back to the Dubai Mall (where else?)  and ate at the Cheesecake Factory. Then we headed to the aquarium. I know that some people like it, but I found it rather small and unimpressive. I guess we have been to too many aquariums. 

 After the aquarium, we headed down for some ice skating. Rob and I watched the boys. It was only their second time, but they did pretty well. They lasted much longer than I thought they would too.
 The boys also enjoyed going back to Sega Republic. We let them go down the super slide they have there. I bet they would have gone down several times if we had let them. It was way overpriced, but hey it was a vacation. Ryan did a ropes course with Rob and we all enjoyed air hockey and other video games. The whole place is overpriced, but a lot of fun for the kids.
Coming out of the slide tunnel.

Ryan was braver than Justin and at least tried the ropes course. Looked like fun. 

Justin absolutely loves air hockey. We have to go to Chuck E Cheese when we are in the US so he can get his fill of it.

Ryan got to play some pac man. Costs a lot more than when I was a kid.

Friday we returned to Doha. It was good to have the rest of the day and Saturday to rest up before getting back to real life.