So having been here for over 54 days now it honestly feels like I have spent my entire life here. Feel so at home! As mentioned in other posts I feel safe, appreciated and respected where ever I go even when I go to a certain stores customer service counter to return a defective product!
These last fews days/weeks have just simply kept breezing past and can't help but rest on the weekend. A certain VERY special someone keeps begging for these updates so here goes...
EID is a holiday celebrated by Muslims all over the world and it was a welcome holiday for us, just to catch our breath having been on the go since we arrived in August. As you may or may not know our working week is Sunday to Thursday here, so our weekends are different to those living in the western world! For the EID break we were on holiday from the Wednesday 22 Sept - Saturday 26th Sept, so a welcome 4 day break which we took full advantage of.
My EID break began a little earlier than some as I took off some personal time from school to get to the VISA centre as I had an appointment for a holiday VISA to the UK. (YAY for a Christmas break with my FAVOURITE Aunt) So I rushed from school to Abu Dhabi (a 2 and a half hour drive) to get to my appointment! NOW at this stage most people would expect this trip to be simple BUT not when I am involved. It all begun with passports. (Take NOTE newbies or people coming over)
When we landed in August we were allowed into the country on a ENTRY PERMIT sponsored by our company, shortly after settling in the hotel our passports were taken from us for the residency VISA process to begin and for it to be added into our passports. We knew this was going to happen so it was not a shock. We were told to anticipate our VISAs back towards the middle of September - so being the proactive and prepared human that I am I booked a VISA appointment as late as I could before they closed for December travel. Turns out that I could have done it a couple of weeks before flying - irritating that this information only came to light now, would have SAVED a lot of stress!
Well a few days before my initial interview I still did not have my passport back but many people around me did (initiate sulking face) so after many emails, begging and phone calls I delayed my VISA appointment to the 14th October just to be safe. Well as Murphy would have it I received my passport on the Monday 21st September - 1 day before my initial interview which I had now postponed to the 14th. So I launched onto my PC to try and see what I could do. Thanks to the amazingly up-to-date systems that EVERYTHING in this country works on, I was able to bring my appointment back to my initial date the 22nd. So long story short, I took personal time off from work and made my way into AD, made it in time for my interview and was happy.
Now a subsidiary to that story is that we had been notified that our Emirates IDs were ready for collection, so armed with passports and registration papers of friends in MZ I took them with to AD when I went to my VISA interview (great friend I am hey!) Stupidly though it slipped my mind that I would need my passport to collect my own ID - I no longer had my passport as after just getting it back the day before I handed it to the UK embassy for a holiday VISA. So with my even bigger sulking face on I made my way to the post office to collect everyone else's IDs but not mine as I didn't have a passport! (IDIOT) When I arrived at the PO I was as friendly as ever to the service consultant who even gave me a smile back and gave him all the registration papers (even mine - was trying my luck) and in between them slipped a copy of my passport (one of the 100 that I have) and he processed the whole lot. A successful day in the city I'd say! I went with a passport, left without one but had MY ID and all those of my friends too! Well played Smugs, well played!
All this took place in ONE DAY so a EID holiday was well received....
Dubai! - What a city. We had a great time. Loved every second of it! We were so busy but also had a relaxing time.
All the things we were up too:
Dubai Mall - biggest mall in the world - oh MY hat. What a place! I reckon this places is bigger than a small SAfrican town! A certain someone would just melt at all the shoe shops it has!
After a couple of hours in the mall and some lunch we were collected by our Desert Safari guide and taken into the Dubai desert for one of the most awesome experiences ever - to those coming to the UAE - a desert safari is a MUST.
Have a look at this video - please note that music was provided by driver!
After about an hours dune bashing we settled into our dinner spot/oasis. What an experience. Food was awesome, entertainment breathtaking!
Camel rides for those that wanted. I have a thing against Camels so was happy to "pat" it but that is IT !
Then came dinner which was amazing and entertainment! Local dancing. Enjoy the VID.
Friday we treated ourselves to a SA brunch. now brunch here means eat and drink as much as you want from 12h00-16h00 on Fridays and most hotels offer them with varying prices and inclusions. i found an AWEOME SA themed one in Dubai which was great!
A huge thanks to Lee-Anne and her team at Girders Garden/JA Ocean View Dubai for an unforgettable day of bacon, pork ribs and bunny chows! I can guarantee you that "Polka Dot" lady and I WILL be back!
One thing is for sure. I loved the holiday we had in Dubai but man alive was I happy to drive back into my little town on Saturday and walk into my amazing home! Love Dubai but love Madinat Zayed more!
One thing the desert certainly does not spare is the beauty of the sunsets. So I leave you with these images captured by myself at the desert safari and wish you well until the next instalment!