Tuesday, June 5, 2009
Yes…surreal is the correct word to use for a day spent at a water park followed by a ski park. I guess that’s part of the charm of Dubai…anything is possible.
I got up early and headed out to the water park in the Atlantis Hotel – AquaAdventure! Seeing as how it’s 43 degrees celsius today…that’s 109.4 degrees fahrenheit…this seemed like a good idea. It be HOT in the desert!
The Atlantis Hotel and Resort, based on the Lost City of Atlantis, where you can get the Bridge Suite for $26,000 a night. It has three bedrooms and three bathrooms, an 18-seat gold leaf dining table and four personal staff
I LOVE water parks! Like airports…these too are great equalizers. Everyone is walking around in various stages of undress and frankly, you can always find a body or two worst than yours…so take it all off and just have fun!
The hotel itself is beautiful and has a huge aquarium. The halls leading to the water park surround it and you can see it from many different sides of the tank.
This is the BIG aquarium!
With BIG ASS ugly fish!
The aquarium features 65,000 fish featuring stingray, sharks and dolphins that were flown in from the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific.
Then out to the park. The tube channels run throughout the entire park and offer you various rides…waterfalls, fast currents or mega waves. Just stay on your floaty and you’re in for an exciting tubing experience.
As I said earlier, everyone is in various stages of undress…except for muslim women. They wear more traditional bathing gear better suited to their Islam views and values. But good lord it has to be hot under all of that black – and heavy when wet!!!
Even younger girls stay covered up…
These were the different hell rides you could take on your inner tube. Good lesson learned on the first ride down…lift UP your butt! I now have a bruise on my left cheek that rivals anything I’ve had before! But the rides were great and I took them all!
This one – The Plunge – was particularly exciting and I – like everyone else walked away from it pulling my suit out of my butt!
This ride dumped you into a tank in the middle of another aquarium — too cool!
I took a few pics at the top of The Plunge ride — the view from the end of the palm to the city – while hazy – is still pretty good.
You can just make out the point of the Burj Dubai in the distance.
The different slides…
Oh yes…I had a good time at the water park!
But my day wasn’t over yet! I felt an urge to put on a pair of skis. Now, where in the world could I do that? Why at a mall of course! That’s right – inside the Mall of Emirates – you will find the St. Moritz Cafe- complete with gas fireplace and Dubai’s Ski Park! Buy a sundress – take a ski lesson – then go on and get your nails done.
How funny is that?!
I purchased my ski package for about $70. This included outerwear, boots, skis, poles and a 2-hour lift ticket. I perused the various levels of skiing capability and determined that I could probably handle number four and then set off to see about getting my gear.
From shorts and tee to ski pants and coat
From flip flops to ski boots…this made me chuckle! And I got socks too…little peds.
Poles – then I’m ready and headed for the door – or the escalator –
— to hit the slopes!
This is it – my first glance at the ski run. It curves off to the left and then up to the top. There is only one run, but the right side is steeper and states “Experts Only” while the left side is more gentle and also contains the snowboard run. There is one chairlift and one pummel lift.
There are dozens of spectators watching us from inside the mall.
Riding up — one one thousand- two one thousand – three one thousand….
And we’re at the top.
Young girl getting a lesson at the bottom…
Dubai is a fun city – there’s no doubt about it – as long as you have a few bucks in your pocket – it’s worth the stop-over!
Just as an aside (and this is not my picture) — this is one of the newest hotels in the city – how cool is this!!!!?
Backing up a few days – on the day I arrived, after getting settled into my room, I checked my emails and noticed that I had received one from the Ashram that I had planned to spend some time at the following week. They had written to tell me that the monsoon season had started and they had just gotten flooded out of their establishment. They were very sorry, but they had to cancel all future reservations until further notice.
Interesting…what to do, what to do, what to do in southern India? Hummmmmmm. This question I pondered for quite some time. My options were limited. You don’t just walk into a volunteer position and they don’t normally just accept people on a moments notice. You have to apply for the programs. It was too late to join a pre-planned tour with other people – they all require about two months notice as well and they have set dates – dates that were not going to perfectly correspond with the set dates of my flights in and out of Madurai.
So, I sent out an email to the companies that I had worked with or at least corresponded with while in the states. Back then, I had had time to research them and had a pretty good list of options available to me. I heard back from all of them and they all said the same thing…we’re sorry, but we don’t have anything going to the south of India at this time…it’s monsoon season you know. Yes, thank you, I know.
But then I heard back from someone who said “Sure, we can put something together for you”. Great — I like that attitude! I had done some research on areas of interest to me in south India and told them I would like to spend my time in the Kerala area – on the southwest coast. A rep from Savion Travel Services of India worked with me on the itinerary and I have to say — I’m looking forward to this more than I was to the Ashram. O.K — I’ll just say it before someone else does — two weeks of yoga camp (based on the book Eat, Pray, Love) was going to really test me in ways that I wasn’t sure I wanted to be tested. So again – tragedy or serendipity – you be the judge. I think it’s rather good fortune that a monsoon hit my ashram!
So, I made my new plans for southern India and figured I’d better get a jump on China – so took care of that too. More on China later. I’m ready to explore the wilds of south India (with a private guide – because I’m not that brave) and learn more about this beautiful land and it’s people. It’s amazing what you can do with a laptop, the internet and a credit card! I’m going to be soooo broke when I’m done – but so far – every single moment has been worth it and more!