Wednesday, 25 December 2013

YEAR END ESCAPADE TO DUBAI & ABU DHABI.

If you are granted one wish and only one, what would you pray for? Different people have different wants and need (some does not even know what they want) but my siblings only have one mutual want echoing my parents only dream, which was to have all their children, in laws and grandchildren to always be together throughout as many generations. The same sentiment gave birth to our residence, the Bustanu (meaning: The Gardens of) Pahamin which currently accommodate three generations in more than 2 acres of land living harmoniously in the same compound to an annual oversea trips to further foster the family close relationship. Although we live in the same compound, the daily hectic schedule of each family member forbid us from a daily gathering but the oversea trip became an escapade away from any business, work or whatever appointments, the trip was all about the family.

This year, we went to Dubai. The whole battalion of 22 pax went except for Azhar Sulaiman whom had to stay back alone in Malaysia having accepted a long winding assignment which ran throughout the traveling dates. We were toying a few countries to visit but Dubai came with the voices of the majority. Democracy ran even in family decision making irrespective of gender and age. 

The youngest in the battalion was Mohamad Khaleef Shamsul aged, 6 months old and the oldest.. of course, my dad aged 67 whom also hold the record of 6 children. Rhiza and Melor are both catching up fast with 4 children while Chempaka Emalin Pahamin and Azhar Sulaiman has stopped producing but perhaps, Dr Teratai Edithy Pahamin and Shazrul Shaari may break the record although currently, they only have Shazrai and Shazrhy. Rumours has it, Rose Emini Pahamin and Shamsul Adnan are a potential record breaker.  Me... I am contented with my wonderful Aaraf Armin but given a chance Allah hu alam (Allah knows best), I want at least 4 children. Having a big family is a true blessing.

Our travel agent for this tour was Parlo Tours Sdn Bhd. Our traveling destination was Dubai and Abu Dhabi. We arrived at the airport in a long queue but the 'online checked-in' expedited the whole queue process and seating arrangement (Note: always check-in online before departure).

We took the Emirates. I've downloaded a few movies to watched in the 7 hours of flight journey but slept throughout the flight. Aaraf finished the whole season 3, the Grims. We arrived in Dubai as scheduled and was greeted by a blond tour guide. I peep through the counters, shops and browsed through the airport to see how the local Dubai'ian looks like? Typical Arabs or... but I did not see any Arab looking people. There were a great mix of race varieties. Dubai has a population of about 2 million and the majority are indians. The local which are of Arab descendant comprised of only 10% while the balance population are foreign. For the longest of time, only the 10% locals were allowed to own any property in Dubai. Now, the government has opened up for foreigner to owned properties in Dubai but only at specific location.


Dubai was historically build on oil and is 4 hours behind Malaysia. With the oil as a resource, the government build a strong infrastructure to diverse their economy into tourism and as a financial hub for the region. 

I was amazed at its landscaping as we drove out from the airport. Once an empty dessert, Dubai is now, extra-ordinarily green. Driving was smooth in the city of a concrete jungle with 6 lanes per side on its highways. I was further amazed with the beautiful architecture of skycrapers wondering if those tall beautiful buildings are actually occupied. There are too many of them in a small population. 

Dubai City view from the Atlantis
Our first stop was at a KLCC Suria type Mall which is also the tallest man made structure in the world.... The Burj Khalifah also known as the Burj Dubai...  shopping!! Yay!! 
We searched for a surau and prayed jamaah with the kids before exploring the first stop. Their surau... Allah huakbar.. so beautiful and well maintained. Their toilets... Woww.. as good looking and clean as a hotel lobby. This was homogenous throughout all buildings in Dubai. Probably is one of their strong policy for a big five star surau and five star toilets. If only our Malls and toilets back home are the same.

Luncheon at the Mall was a bit of a shocking. On average, the cost of food per head at their food court is $50 dirham. Our Ringgit Malaysia is about 10% less than their money. For RM45 per head, I can only imagine the cost of living in Dubai. 

After food, we went window shopping. I would assumed my collections of polo collared tee priced at RM500 per piece is already exorbitant. The average polo tee there is about RM1,500 with a never heard of brand. The Mall housed the most expensive brandname in the world with only a few familiar to our Malaysia market.

The rest of the blog is picturesque. Below are the snapshots according to the timeline of the entire journey. Warning, there are almost 500 pictures.

Queuing at the airport


Carbo loading at Mc D at the KLIA before departure




Walking to departure gate...


Boarding...


Our battalion occupied three rows of seats



 We touched down in Dubai on schedule at 230pm. We then took a 31 seater bus to our first stop, the Dubai Mall and the Burj Al Khalifah or also known as the Burj, Dubai.






We arrived at the Dubai Mall and had to walk passed the car park into the Mall.




Our tour guide explained the next meeting point and the itinerary for the day.



After lunch, we walk to the meeting point for us to go up the tallest man made sky craper in the world. 






Walking into the tallest building





















We stopped at the observation deck on the 124th floor for a 360 degree sweeping views. The Burj Khalifa, has in total 160 stories and from the observation deck, we looked up and saw still, a long way up to the top.


The Burj, Khalifa at over 828 metres (2,716.5 feet) and more than 160 stories holds the following records:
  • Tallest building in the world
  • Tallest free-standing structure in the world
  • Highest number of stories in the world
  • Highest occupied floor in the world
  • Highest outdoor observation deck in the world
  • Elevator with the longest travel distance in the world
  • Tallest service elevator in the world

 From the observation deck, the scenery was stupendous.










 

We left the Burj Khalifa for the next destination...  The Marina Byblos hotel and dining at the Captains - International Buffet.



We retire for the day and began the next day with Dubai City Tour and stopped by another mall.








We also visited the Burj Al Arab.




 After touring the city on bus, we also toured the city on a boat.


 











Arab..!! Cant even spell my name right. Its Baniaz!!


After the city, we went off road into the desert for a dune drive.










At the dessert we watched the sunset, went on sand skiing and also camel ride!!








It was so cold!!







Naik Unta lah!!















After the rendezvous in the padang pasir, we had dinner in the dessert and we were entertained by belly dancer!!!  




Shoot.. How did I do this snowy picture??!!



After the dinner, we left back to the hotel. The kids had their palm tattoo'ed.



The next day, we head and had a full day Abu Dhabi city tour..


Stopped by the most beautiful mosque made of white marble.




Me and my darling mother.



Abu Dhabi is so wealthy, they made a forest out of an empty dessert. The buildings and especially their presidential palace is in billions. 



At Abu Dhabi, we also stopped the Ferrari World.










When everyone else were busy, had to practice the art of Selfie.





 




We went up the fastest roller coaster in the world!! The speed of Ferrari.




After a few hours at the Ferrari world, we left.









We had dinner on a moving cruise to nowhere.









We checked in at the Atlantis Palm spring resort.


This is the Palm Spring hotel on a miniature.



Beautiful and very well maintained hotel.


Of course, Aaraf jumped into the pool the soonest we checked-in.


Night view from the hotel room.

















Dubai City Centre, view from the Atlantis hotel. I was amazed at the once an empty dessert.


There are so many activities to do at the Atlantis.



lying and lazy'ing is also part of the activity.










More views of of the city centre from Atlantis.




My Corporal at the Chief's Original Bootcamp joined us at the Atlantis. I think he needed to be sure that I keep myself healthy and fit.



As a result, I had to checked-in the gym on daily basis.. Aaah.. below are some more selfie at the gym.



Mohamad Khaleef.... 












After a few days at the Atlantis, we checked-out ready to go home. Just another day extra, and we would have fall dead. Somehow, travelling is reallyt exhaustive. I miss my home.












We took one last family photo before leaving the Atlantis.




Stopped by Dubai Hard Rock cafe.



I think I've mastered the art of Selfie!!


We reached the airport and I was stunned again at the magnificent design of Dubai airport.






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