Monday, April 21, 2014

day 7: du-bye

All good things must come to an end. Unfortunately, that includes vacations. But since our plane didn't leave until 2:20 a.m., we still had the entire day to enjoy Dubai. We started at the top.

The Burj Khalifa is the world's tallest building. It towers over Dubai to the point of making all the other ridiculous skyscrapers look like child's play. It's 2,716 feet high with more than 160 stories - almost twice as tall as the Empire State Building. And yes, it does sway in the wind.

We weren't on our game for this one - apparently you have to make a reservation in advance to avoid paying a pretty penny to go up to the top. We had failed to do this so by the time we checked the times, only 8:00 a.m. on Saturday was available. This actually turned out to be great because it wasn't crowded, and we lucked out with the clearest day of the entire trip. Since the top is literally in the clouds, you need a clear, non-hazy day to fully enjoy the view.

The open air observation deck is on floor 124. The elevator was so fast (40 mph to be exact) we didn't even feel like we were moving - although my ears popped to remind me that we were. We were greeted with a mostly wide open desert view. Here's the weird part: it honestly didn't feel that high. I think it's deceiving because most skyscrapers are surrounded by other similarly sized skyscrapers. The Burj Khalifa is so tall that it completely skews your sense of height.

world's greatest selfie

you can see how big the dubai mall & fountains are!

Our next stop was one of the oddest of the trip. The Dubai flower garden was just plain weird. The flowers were pretty and they were everywhere, but I just couldn't get over the music and strange vibe. Sometimes Dubai knocks it out of the park, and sometimes it's so fake & contrived that it gives you the creeps. The flower garden gave me the creeps.


what is this place?!

After the strange flower garden experience, we headed to Dubai mall to buy some chocolates & dates and to meet up with Rob and some of his friends for lunch. We had met Jason briefly at church the day before, but this time he was joined with his awesome wife Bev & their two little ones. Jason & Bev are former Capitol Hill Baptist members (like us), and they now live in Dubai where Jason is a pastor at Redeemer Church. It turns out we have a lot in common (Go Nats!) and several mutual friends. It was so fun to get to know them & hear about their work in Dubai. It's always great to make new friends - especially halfway around the world. I loved their little cutie, Sam, who kept me entertained during lunch.

notice the aquarium behind us

After lunch we hung around the mall where we could probably live for a few years before getting bored. Jon got what he claims was the "best massage of his life", and I enjoyed a mani/pedi next door at the salon. It was a great & relaxing way to end the trip.

For dinner, we headed back to one of the food tour stops with Rob so we could enjoy a full portion of some of the favorites we had sampled on the tour. We also walked down the street to the sweet shop to buy some more baklava. I fell asleep on the couch while watching Gilmore Girls. Jon woke me up around midnight to leave for the airport. I didn't love the 2:20 a.m. departure, but the flight home was my best plane sleeping effort yet. Fourteen hours later, we arrived in DC at 9:00 a.m. surprisingly well rested. We breezed through customs (no small feat at Dulles), dropped our bags at home, and went straight to church!

Thus ends our trip to Dubai. I still have some general thoughts that I'll save for a quick wrap up post later this week.


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