Friday, April 18
I woke up before the alarm clock at 6:32 and was up on deck ten before seven to watch the sail-in. Although hazy, it was beautiful watching the high rise buildings of Dubai appear. As we pulled in we were able to see QE2 which has been here for a number of years as her fate gets decided.
We were docked by 8 and I was back in bed (I had not gotten my eight hours) by 8:02. Slept until 9:30. I had decided to do the hop on hop off bus today. Both in Abu Dhabi and Dubai the bus company runs a shuttle from the pier to the starting point of the bus. This makes it more convenient than any of the other cities where I have taken the hoho bus.
By ten I was on the upper deck of the bus ready for my first ride. The company runs two lines - red and blue - that visit the older parts of town and the beach/downtown area respectively. The bus that picked us up quayside was the red line, so I did that first. The starting point was the Wafi Mall. When we returned there I switched to the blue line. The blue line took us out to Palm Island which included beautiful homes owned by the super-rich and spectacular hotels like the Atlantis.
Returned to the mall with just enough time to get a cold drink (I had not had anything to eat or drink all day) and the bus showed up to take us back to the port. I have finally broken the rain jinx on my hoho bus trips but had to come to the desert to do it!
Back onboard before four to get ready for the World Voyage Gala Dinner. The dinner was at the Madinat Jumeirah Hotel. It took about forty minutes to get from the ship to the hotel. It was a beautiful location. Wine was flowing all evening (too bad I don't care much for wine) and the hors d'oeuvres were excellent (at least the three I snagged were). To John's sister who reads my blog, our mutual friend Jim introduced us finally.
There were fifty tables in the dining room and I was at table 50. I did not know any of the people and four of them I don't remember ever seeing before! The Captain welcomed us and gave some facts and figures (I will include those in one of my sea day reports) and then David ? (I did not catch his last name but he is some Cunard bigwig who flew in for the occasion) told us how successful our maiden calls in Japan had been (lots of bookings from the various tours Cunard gave Japanese tourism officials and travel agents).
The appetizers and desserts were very good but the main course was only average. We had a choice of chicken, fish or vegetarian and I had the chicken. I heard mixed reviews on the fish from delicious to it was so bad it was sent back. We ended with a champagne toast.
There was a variety of entertainment. Before the dinner started there were two falconers and you could have your picture taken holding the falcons. There were also two men writing names in Arabic calligraphy. The dining room was opened by a procession of drummers. At the dinner there were belly dancers, men doing something with sticks (I could not see what from where I was sitting), a whirling dervish, more female dancers and a singer.
The buses started taking people back at ten and I saw people still returning at midnight.
Over the day I took over 250 pictures so I will have to split my entries again.
most of the newer buildings have reflective glass because of the high heat
notice the icon for the lady
the Wafi mall (very empty)
view of "Downtown Dubai"
the white building is the World Trade Centre (the first building in Downtown Dubai)
an interesting stained glass at a shopping centre
home of one of the rich
more buildings going up
on Palm Island
one of the condos for the wealthy on the "trunk" of Palm Island
two of the air conditioned bus stops (some are just for women)
the public beach (only tourists and workers use it)
Smooth sailing until next time!