Wednesday, April 16, 2014

day 6: the brunch to end all brunches

Have you ever been so full you that thought you'd never eat again? Yep, that was me on Friday. You'll be happy to know that I have overcome that ridiculous idea and have enjoyed several meals since then. In fact, I ate again the very next day. Shocking, I know. But before I swore off food for the rest of my life, we went to church.

I wasn't sure exactly what to expect at a church in Dubai. I imagined a small church full of expats meeting in a humble, undercover environment. I've obviously been watching too many foreign missions movies or something.

What greeted us at Redeemer Church of Dubai was a huge, lively, and diverse congregation that meets in the lovely JW Marriott hotel. There was valet parking, an expansive ballroom complete with chandeliers, and the best coffee & snack set up I've ever seen at a church.

But that really has nothing to do with why Redeemer is so great. It was the people. It was such a sweet congregation of believers who were all so earnest about the gospel. I was so encouraged to see the blending of cultures and backgrounds and their unity in Christ. Not to mention the music and the sermon completely blew me away. The pastor managed to make the message both understandable and challenging. Since English isn't the first language of many in the congregation, they try to speak plainly and clearly, yet it was plenty "meaty" for those of us who are church regulars. We met so many great people, and were completely blessed by the experience. God is doing some awesome things in Dubai.

church in Dubai looks something like this

After church, we headed to thee brunch. It was at the Madinat Jumeriah where we had been the previous day for shopping & the abra ride. I've been to some pretty great brunches - it is one of my favorite meals after all - but I've never seen anything like this. Like much of Dubai, there are no words to adequately describe it.

Beautiful people in beautiful clothes, flowing champagne, white columns, high ceilings, sunshine, umbrellas, draping flowers, palm trees, music, dancers, and food. So. Much. Food. I could have sworn I was at a Gatsby party. The brunch was really 3 restaurants full of various food stations that all connected and opened up onto an expansive balcony where there was, you guessed it, even more food. It's so massive, they have maps. For the price of admission, you could stay and graze all day. There is only 1 reservation per table per Sunday so time was of no essence.

and this is just the inside of one room

I would estimate there were at least three dozen food & drink stations. Freshly opened coconuts with a little (or a lot) of added rum, an entire station devoted to various types of foie gras, Asian food, Spanish food, seafood, blue food, green food, all food. And the craziest part is that the food was amazing. Most buffets emphasize quantity over quality, but they somehow managed to go above and beyond on both counts.

waiting to go much anticipation 

my first plate of food - mostly foie gras and mac 'n cheese because why not?
open coconut 
add rum 

I was mesmerized, and per usual, my eyes were bigger than my stomach. I think I made it through 3 plates of food + a dessert plate before I was completely tapped out. Keep in mind that this was the day after the food tour. And that's when I entered the most serious food coma of my life. Rob actually watched it wash over me, and he was quite concerned. He kept asking if I was ok. I was. I had just become the human equivalent of the fatted calf. It was both glorious and vile.

people started hoarding drinks near the end...i suspect things did not end well for this table. 
this is my "i'm so full, but trying to smile" face

We got home around 5:00 p.m. Yes, we had been there since around 12:30. I put on stretchy pants that were now stretching to a whole new level and assumed my position on the bed where I wallowed for the rest of the evening. I know I'm making this all sound rather miserable, but it was actually a highlight of the trip. It was such an over-the-top, see-and-be-seen experience that was just so Dubai. I am quite certain no brunch will ever come close to matching it.

vacations aren't always pretty.


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