Our physical journey began in May.
Our battle weary souls were prayed over and hugged away from our foreign home by the Longs and Martins. We checked in at the airport with blessed little fanfare. Even the expected immigration issues, (Silas passport stamp was held up and delayed) went smoothly and easily.
After months of planning and preparing we found our travel experienced selves seated on the eve of yet another furlough.
Six well packed carryons were before us and not one of them contained diapers or baby food. When our flight was called, every individual person carried their own bag to the airplane. There were no strollers and everyone would sit in their own seat. It was a moment I halted our entire family on the way to the airplane to commemorate. My children and husband smiled at Mom’s Moment, but none appreciated it as I did.
We have crossed a threshold. And I am pleased about that.
Our first flight was relatively short. Eight hours. We landed on a hot peninsula in the Middle East. Dubai.
It was a new place for us. A new experience. We were longing for the chance to just blend in with the tourist crowd for awhile. Turn off our brains and recuperate from the churning previous months.
We needed an Oasis. We looked for one in this desert.
Here is what we found:
Our oasis even had snow:
My photography skills (or lack thereof) do not do the ski resort justice. A ski resort people. In a mall. In the desert.
Pretty crazy stuff, Dubai.
One morning as the children and I slowly started the day, Jeff set out to find us some food. He began to walk across the hot dusty lot across from our hotel. The wind was whipping the sand in his face and the desert heat was bearing down on his head. He was just thinking how thirsty he felt and how hard desert life was, when he looked up through squinted eyes to see:
The Golden Arches.
Oasis indeed. His desert travails led him to the best french fries ever made. There was much rejoicing when he returned with two large bags of food from McDonalds!
Our American restaurant wonderment was not over. On an outing the next day, our family headed off to the beach. We expected it to be warm, but I was shocked at the intensity of the heat. In a word…fire. That beach was the hottest place on the planet. Seriously. I thought I would fry. My attitude went from happy, delightful tourist to cranky, grumpy white girl in about 2.2 seconds. Jeff and the kids quickly jumped into the water and cooled off while I grumbled around the beach chairs wondering why on earth I had married a camel impervious to high temperatures. I pouted on the chairs for awhile wondering how guilty my family would feel if the heat did in fact kill me on that Jumeriah Beach. Eventually, I gave up my scowl and shuffled down to the water to find such sweet, sweet relief. The water cooled me off quickly and made my attitude way more tolerable. We (meaning, me) lasted about two hours on the beach adventure. We decided to drag our overheated selves across the flaming sands in search of airconditioning. Somewhere, there had to be relief! I enticed my beach loving family with ice cream and food.
We changed into our clothes and washed sand off our shoes about 700 times with scalding hot water, then began to look for a taxi. As we stood on the street, Jeff pointed out a welcome sign across the street.
I had never been so happy to see that big red chili pepper in my life! What a delightful meal. While on our little desert vacation we also enjoyed the delights of Little Caesars and Johnny Rockets.
We ordered Chinese take out. Swam. Sweltered on the beach (which I think I might have already mentioned :-). We enjoyed a water park that had eleven huge water slides that were all interconnected. You had to wait in line for quite a while to get started. But once you were on the slide it was a thrilling and long ride. Jeff ranked it as the coolest water park he had ever been to.
We shopped in a souk and bought beautiful textiles and clothes.
We learned many things about the ancient Bedouins in the Dubai museum.
And we enjoyed fresh squeezed apple juice overlooking the Dubai Creek.
We took our time and began to breathe deep again.
Dubai, is a land of contrasts. Women in full burka strolling alongside Europeans in micro mini skirts. Burning desert sands alongside indoor ski resorts where it snows every night.
A land of intrigue.
A land of welcome.
We were thankful for its open arms and very much enjoyed our sojourn there.