Living the High Life in Dubai

Monday, September 18, 2017

Last night was rough. I found myself wide awake at 2 am staring at the cieling, so I gave up and read a book until about 6:30 am when I headed down to the gym. Our hotel gym seems to also double as the Equinox of Dubai. I fumbled around fake working out for about twenty minutes until I noticed a spin class was starting, so I joined in on that and actually earned my breakfast buffet for a change. After we all hit the gym we headed down to our usual buffet. I smuggled a few bottles of sparking water out in my bag for vodka sodas later today. Zero shame. After breakfast we headed down to the pool at the Al Naseer hotel, which is another hotel in our resort complex. We have access to four different pools and the entire stretch of beach at the Jumeirah Madinat complex. Or as we like to call it, Middle East Disneyland. We spent a few hours by the pool until we were sufficiently overheated in the sweaty armpit of the universe that is Dubai in September. We headed back up to the room for some drinks before our next outing.

Everyone drinks before they go to the mall, right? Oh, the Dubai Mall. How to describe you? For all the talk it garners, I had some high expectations for the Dubai Mall. I was picturing an architecturally stunning building with oversized high-end stores sprinkled with impressive art installations around every corner. Spoiler alert – its just a fucking mall. A giant, anxiety-inducing, douche-bag filled square box of a mall with every store you could possibly imagine. Ok, so there are some cool fountains outside that light up at night – but nothing I can’t see fifteen hours closer to home at the Bellagio. Yes, there is an aquarium in the mall, but since I’m not eight years old that doesn’t really do it for me. I don’t need to travel sixteen hours to shop in a fucking H&M. I didn’t think there was a way for me to possibly hate shopping more – but Dubai, you have done it. We basically used the mall as exercised as we power walked through. I think the only store we actually stopped in was a giant candy store, and that was just because they were giving away free samples. Steph’s friend had recommended a restaurant in the mall so we stopped there and got some hummus in an attempt to kill time before our reservation at Atmosphere lounge in the Burj Khalifa. The moral of the story here is; skip the Dubai mall and do your shopping at home. Or on Amazon, like a normal person.

There are a few ways for lowly tourists like us to get to a high floor of the Burj Khalifa. The most popular way is to wait in line with a shit ton of other clueless tourists and ride up to the “at the top” observation deck. Or, for about $20 more, you can make a reservation at the Atmosphere lounge in the Armani hotel a few floors below the observation deck and use your money towards the minimum spend for a table. Decisions, decisions. I could have my personal space violated in an enclosed glass box by a Chinese tour group following around a guide holding a stick with a stuffed panda on it, or I could get drunk in the highest bar in the world. If anyone needs to claim they’ve had a drink in the superlatives of bars, it’s this bitch. So up we went, 123 floors, to the Atmosphere lounge where I had a window table booked for the 5:30 pm slot – perfect to see the view of Dubai during the day, the sunset, and the view at night. Overall, the Armani hotel is pretentious and sterile. My gynecologist’s office is more inviting than this place. I couldn’t even wear flip flops. My ability to be dressed comfortably is usually the standard by which I measure drinking establishments. Hence my VIP card at the Poop Deck in Hermosa. The lounge looked like a 1970s James Bond movie. Plush velvet, expensive drinks, and waiters on standby to rush over as soon as you blink in their general direction. I’ll be damned if I didn’t think it was fucking rad. We ordered $20 cocktails and a few appetizers and enjoyed pretending like we were rich for a few hours. Upon our way downstairs, we attempted to walk to the windows on the third floor to see the Dubai mall fountain show, but were told a security guard that we weren’t allowed to look out the window. I shit you not. Come for the cool bar with a great view, but leave because they are pretentious pricks in the Armani hotel.

The plan was to go back to the mall to a restaurant with a view of the fountain show after the lounge, but I was down for the count after my 2 am wake up time. That, and the thought of going back to that mall strikes fear into my heart. So we hopped in a cab and headed back to Middle East Disneyland. I think we were in bed by about 9:30 pm. Sorry for not partying.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Today I woke up and had a leisurely morning in the hotel room. Steph worked out, Jorgie drank coffee, I watched TV. Then we did something terrible. We cheated on our breakfast buffet. Blatantly and in the light of day. We took an abra boat to the other side of Middle East Disneyland to the Al Qsar hotel breakfast buffet. In true cheating fashion, it ended up being a lot of work for a sub par experience. I was pretty disappointed in this buffet, until I found a cronut on my way out. All is well that ends well. Now that we had adequately stuffed our faces, it was naturally time to go to the water park.

Did you honestly think Middle East Disneyland could be complete without its own water park? The Wild Wadi waterpark is located in our hotel complex and is free to everyone staying at the hotel. I’m not talking about a kids club with a jungle gym in the middle of some fountains here (although they have that too). This is an actual fucking waterpark right on the beach, adjacent to our hotel, with a view of the Burj Al Arab from the slide towers. It opens at 10 am, so we naturally arrived at 9:55 am. When they opened there were about ten people total in the entire water park, and three of them were us. Which was great, because the fewer people that question why three 30-something year old women are running around a waterpark in Dubai, the better. We tackled the group rides first – the ones we could all go on together. Our second ride required exactly four passengers, because the weight had to be evenly distributed on the raft or you’ll flip over. When will this blatant discrimination of threesomes stop?! It might as well say “couples only”. At this point, getting a fourth person on one of our annual trips would be way too much work, since we would all have veto power and the three of us just don’t like very many people. I had a half a mind to tell them to take their even numbered water slide and shove it, but Jorgie noticed that there was a male lifeguard at the top on our last ride and was confident that we could make him our fourth wheel. So we hiked up and played dumb and pouted when they told us about the four person rule. Sure enough, the lifeguard offered to round out our foursome, so if you are wondering who the middle eastern man with a whistle around his neck in our pictures is, now you know. We hit up every single ride in the park in about an hour and a half and made our exit just as all the families started arriving.

We then headed down to the beach and snagged some chairs under a giant umbrella. We spent the next few hours laying in the shade while cute cabana boys brought us lunch. It is damn near impossible to lay in the sun in Dubai this time of year because of the heat, even the shade is a chore. But ME Disneyland does a good job of trying to keep you cool with men walking around to all the pool and beach chairs handing out watermelon slices and popsicles. Today we even got a visit from the schfitzer man – a guy who walks around with what is basically a turbo powered water gun strapped to his back and sprays down the guests upon request. How did this hotel know that a man who’s sole purpose is to spraying me with water while I tan is Rory’s entourage job opening numero uno as soon as I win the lottery? It’s like they are reading my mind.

Once the sun poisoning set in we moved our little party back up to the room to get ready for the grand finale of our Dubai trip – BOAT TIME! We packed up our booze and headed out in a cab to a marina to meet our private boat. Our taxi driver got a little lost on the way, but I my nautical sixth sense told me we were headed in the wrong direction. Once we taught our driver how to use GPS we were at our boat in no time. It was obviously necessary for me to book a 15 person yacht for the three of us. Boats are absurdly cheap to rent in Dubai for some reason. If I ever come back, I’m just going to rent one every damn day and pretend I’m Beyonce. Our captain looked slightly confused when only three of us got on and told him we were ready to go, but that is a look we are used to. The first mate put our booze on ice and we headed out to the coast guard boat to get clearance to leave the Marina. I have zero clue what pirate laws govern the Dubai waterways, all I know is that our passports were given to a guy in army fatigues with gold teeth along with a wad of cash. Gold Teeth then boarded our boat, gave each of us the once over, and searched the vessel like we were hiding Elian Gonzalez in the berth. Jorgie was, once again, certain that this situation would end with us being sold into sex slavery, but I assured her that we were far too old to be worth anything more than ransom. A few minutes later we were released by the powers that be and cruising by the Burj Al Arab headed for the palm islands of Dubai.

We had the boat for three hours, which was plenty of time to cruise through the Marina area of Dubai and around the Palm Islands, where the Atlantis hotel is. Waters were a bit rough at first but calmed once we made it to the safety of the islands. As we cruised through the Marina district we passed numerous other yachts packed with Asian tourists. I think they assumed that three white girls popping bottles of champagne on a private yacht meant that we were famous because they would blatantly take pictures of us as we passed them. This is the closest I’ll ever come to paparazzi, so I ate it up. The girls wouldn’t let me flash them. Or moon them. I supposed I should thank them for holding me back because I doubtpublic nudity is highly regarded in Dubai. Now I know what the Kardashians feels like – life in the public eye is just so hard. We basically spent three hours boozing on the front of our yacht while we motored through skyscraper lined canals blasting country music throughout the Persian Gulf. It was the perfect adieu to the city of gold. After our three hour tour we were sufficiently drunk. If I’m being honest, we were downright shit faced. If you aren’t drunk every time you step off a boat, you need to seriously re-evaluate your priorities. No one at the marina was too keen on calling a taxi for three drunk American chicks, so we hoofed it out to the main road and flagged down a taxi back to our resort.

At this point, I still had every intention of partying tonight. We quickly showered and tried to lock it up for a night out on the town. By town, I obviously mean the various bars within the confines of our resort complex. Some people had recommended a few clubs in downtown Dubai to check out, but I’m not crazy about the word “club” any more than I am about the word “downtown”. We headed downstairs to Bahri Bar where we met Steph’s friend from home and his wife, who now live in Dubai. Yes, this is the same friend who recommended Zero Gravity Beach Hell and yes, we gave him shit about it. It was ladies night at the bar, which meant three free glasses of champagne for anyone with two X chromosomes. Three very unecessary, yet much appreciated glasses of champagne for the gals! Now it’s about 10pm and I’ve been drunk for over six hours with nothing to eat, so mama needs to be fed. Jorgie and I headed over in one of the Disneyland boats to a tapas restaurant at our resort where we proceeded to order half the menu (free half board = three courses per person at any restaurant at the resort). Steph joined us a few minutes later after her friends had left for their early work morning the next day. By midnight it had become glaringly obvious that we were not making it to another bar. So we took our drunk asses home to dream about our arrival in the Maldives tomorrow. Dubai, it’s been real. Real hot.

Tapas?
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