Thursday, June 30, 2011


I've heard about it.  I've read about it.  But I've never seen it -- Bab Al Shams, that is.  Last weekend John and I took a drive out into the desert to check out this resort.

"Situated in the heart of the desert and nestled in the dunes of Dubai, Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa is the ultimate luxury retreat."

We drove past lots of construction,

down sandy roads,

and past an occasional camel or two.

Finally, about 45 minutes outside of Dubai, we turned on a road that had newly planted trees all along it -- and we stayed on it for over 12 miles!  But then we saw the sign that made the trip legit -- we made it to Bab Al Shams!

"Designed and built in a traditional Arabic fort setting, this exclusive low-rise resort is surrounded by gently sloping dunes and natural desert landscape, offering guests a unique traditional experience that is true to the culture and heritage of Dubai and the UAE."

"Think rustic yet comfortable Arabian interiors, shaded courtyards, walkways and water features and instantly immerse yourself into a one of a kind desert experience that will be reminiscent of 1001 Arabian Nights.  Combine this with delectable cuisine, relaxing rooftop lounges and stunning views from the resort's infinity pool and you are sure to capture memories that will last a lifetime."

"Experience traditional, authentic Gulf decor emphasized by the use of natural stone, dark woods and Arabian glass work, and enjoy the modern facilities and amenities you expect from a luxury retreat.  The resort's 113 rooms & suites are located in charming clusters of double-story buildings and each feature a balcony or private terrace."

"Your choices for dining at Bab Al Shams reflect world-class standards in cuisine and service.  From traditional Arabic fare to slowly cooked Indian dishes, Bab Al Shams offers a range of exquisite dining experiences.  The food, service and ambiance at the resort's restaurants are a sure treat for your taste buds."

The resort offers several dining options:  Al Forsan - International Cuisine; Masala - Indian Cuisine; Pizzeria Le Dune - Italian Cuisine;  Al Sarab - Rooftop Lounge; Al Shurouq - Rooftop Terrace; Ya Hala - Lobby Lounge; and the Pool Bar.

Al Hadeerah desert restaurant - "Witness unique scenes straight out of an Arabian legend.  Experience the wide expanse of the desert, the ethereal magic of sunset and some lively Arabic entertainment with bands and belly dancers.  Travel back in time with cooking stations featuring wood fired stone ovens, spit roasts and Arabic bread ovens.  Welcome to Al Hadeerah!"

Sorry, we didn't eat a thing while we were there!  But I have heard that the dinner at Al Hadeerah is an "event" that cannot be missed!

"Escape, Stay & Play at Bab Al Shams with the wide range of activities on offer.  Experience the desert with sunset camel or horse rides, archery and falconry, or get your pulse racing during one of our desert safaris.  Our dedicated lawn games feature croquet, table tennis and golf putting."

Soon it was time to start our journey home.  First, it was time to hug the camels good-bye.

And next we had to find our way down the carpeted hallways to the exit.

Then back into the car and we were on our merry way home!

Bab Al Shams -- a MUST DO while we are here in Dubai!
Oh, and we were repeatedly reminded to watch for crossing camels!  Only in the desert!!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Okay, I am committing to something here.  I'm going public in hopes that it helps me succeed.  Let me just preface it to say, that the only way I can continue to eat my way through Dubai, (and I don't want to stop that -- the food is simply way too delicious!) is if I commit to some sort of exercise program. 

A friend of mine started leaving funny posts on Facebook every few days.  I finally asked her what the heck she was doing and she told me: C25K.  It stands for "Couch to 5K".  She said she has never been a runner, however, she is having fun with this program. 

Okay, so a download later and I'm at the gym  on Sunday on the treadmill for a test run.  Thirty-one minutes later I am dripping wet, but feeling pretty darn good!

So, I am committed!  You use this program three times a week for nine weeks, and then you complete a 30 minute run (yikes) and then a 45 minute run (OMG!).  Then you graduate with honors!

All righty then!  Let's just say I've been seen on a couch a lot more often in my lifetime than I've been seen running.  Teddy and I walked for an hour or more every day during the winter here in Dubai.  But walking now is strictly forbidden.  (Just kidding -- but it's just too darn hot to walk anymore!)  So treadmill, here I come!

I'll be posting my progress on Facebook -- just to keep me honest!  (If I can figure out how to do it!)  And I'll post here every once in awhile -- wish me luck!  Hey, why don't you download C25K and do it with me?


Tuesday, June 28, 2011


John and I are sooooo excited!  "Camp Idol" is coming again to Dubai!  I read it in The National newspaper last week, and it sounds like so much fun!

Reporter Preeti Kannan explained, "The search for singing sensations in the country's labour camps is about to begin again.  Last year's "Camp Idol" (pictured below) has been practising non-stop since he won, but faces tough competition this year from more camps and companies from more emirates."

(This is a picture from The National newspaper and shows
last year's winner, Jatin Harivadan Khatri)

It's Dubai's answer to "American Idol"!  I can't think of anything that will be more fun to watch and the laborers here certainly deserve this.  They come to Dubai mostly from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and India, leaving their families behind.  They live in questionable labor camps and work long hours in the dreadful heat and send the money they earn home. They need this.  They need opportunities like this to have some fun.

According to the paper, "On Fridays, the judges will audition more than 200 workers across four labour camps with more than 50 contestants from each camp." 

"On Saturdays, they hope to judge workers from at least two camps.  About 18 people from each company will be selected to enter the quarterfinals.  After that, the list of contestants will be narrowed down to two from each company."

"The quarter-finals will take place towards the end of next month, before the beginning of Ramadan.  The auditions will continue after the holy month, when the contestants will be chosen to enter the semi-finals.  The final rounds are expected to take place in early October."

Oh, it doesn't look like we're invited.  Oh well, what an amazing thing to do for the laborers in Dubai!  I hope they at least put the winner on television or at least feature him in the newspaper.

Who will the next "Camp Idol" be?

Monday, June 27, 2011


There is nothing quite like a water park.  We've been to Aquaventure (and LOVE.IT.LOVE.IT.LOVE.IT) several times since making Dubai home.  It was high time we check out....

The day was and sunny with temps well into the 100's.  Our feet immediately hollered "Thank-you oh soooo much!" to these nifty little things that were found along all the sidewalks....

Hmmmmmm, I thought I was taking a picture of the sprinklers that lined the walks, however, I guess I missed!  Anyway, they really were there and were set on timers, making sure that the sidewalks remained damp at all times.  Thank-you!  Thank-you!  Thank-you!

The Wild Wadi is situated right beside the Burj Al Arab....

...and is quite beautiful.

...and yes, the bathing suits were varied!!

There were offerings of a different color, for instance, a fish pedicure of sorts.....

...a prayer room or two if needed....

....a women's only day where the locals can come and play discreetly, with no camera's allowed....

....a wave pool with the Jumeirah Beach Hotel standing guard in the background.....

....and, of course, a surfing area!  I was tempted to give it a try, I really was!  But I decided to wait until Jon and Jas come back for a visit!!  I certainly wouldn't want to show them up, ya know!

We spent seven hours at this place!  Instead of coming down water slides, at Wild Wadi you are bombarded with water that forces you up the slides and then you ride them down and around and are dumped into a pool of water to then be shot up the next slide.  IT.WAS.AWESOME.!!  And, it was truly INDESCRIBABLE! 

After seven delightful hours of playing at Wild Wadi, John and I called it a day.  We were pooped!