Sunday 6 January 2008

UAE: Lovely snow in Dubai

Driving in Dubai can be stressful, particularly with mother navigating. However with GPS, a current map and Al as co-pilot, we arrived at the Ski Dome without fuss.

We collected our equipment while mother told the chap about her knees, clambered up the escalator and went through the big rotating doors onto the snow. Little Miss M skied with cool confidence, at least until I suggested that she dispensed with the poles. She skied beautifully until the bottom of the run where she collided with an aptly worded 'slow' sign. I unravelled the orange netting and placed it back in the snow hoping that nobody was watching. The last time Al snowboarded was in the Wahiba desert but after a few nervous runs, his confidence grew and only one major wipe-out was encountered.

The highlight of the day was mother's attempt to use a baby lift. Something went wrong with the entry procedure and she rode the moving walkway like a camel, barely holding on to her skis and poles. Unfortunately Flossie's hastily taken photograph did not quite capture the look of sheer terror on mother's face during the dismount.

At the end of our two hours, we swiftly changed and returned to the car to drive to the Burj Al Arab for afternoon tea. We arrived just as they were opening and took the best table in the corner of the Skyview lounge with stunning views along Jumeirah beach and the 800m Burj Dubai construction in the distance. The hotel interior was was clearly designed by some of the world's leading kitsch architects and the bar was no exception. The grey walls of the tunnel entrance to the bar are lined with a design based on a computer circuit board, complete with Star Trek twinkly lights.

After selecting our teas, the sandwiches arrived on silver multi-tiered stands shaped like the building. To our relief, each layer was refilled as soon as the tiny sandwiches and cakes were consumed. We were getting full already (but perhaps not as full as the gentlemanat the next table who was eating 2cm x 3cm sandwiches with a knife and fork). To squeals of mother's delight, scones were served next, before the last course of cakes. By this stage, Al could barely move.

After paying the bill (yikes) and visiting the toilet (lavishly sprinkled with red rose petals), we returned to the ground floor by the glass lift which excited mother greatly. Al and Floss, by the way, took the internal lift for fear of regurgitating their sandwiches. In the foyer we took a final look at the impressively gaudy surroundings while the valet fetched the car.

We returned to the Mall of the Emirates for a bit of shopping. A few hours later, we drove back to the Golden Sands to rest our aching bones,

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