8.29.2015

my favourite single spot we visited on our trip around the world

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we spent our last day in the uae in the emirate of abu dhabi. i feel like abu dhabi is the younger but actually cooler sibling of the glitzy celebrity of dubai. we totally loved abu dhabi, especially the sheikh zayed grand mosque, which completely blew us away.

we took a bus from dubai to abu dhabi, and then headed straight to emirates palace, which sounds like a really cool governmental building but is actually just a super fancy hotel. we only had a few minutes before we had to get back in a taxi to go to church, but we quickly checked out the opulence – quite amazing. and then, we were so excited to get to church (the first lds building in arabia!) aaaaand no one was there. we failed to realize that church meetings are held on friday in the uae! i should have known to double check on this because i spent four months going to church on saturdays in jerusalem. we were sad we couldn’t worship there that day!

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i am fairly certain that the sheikh zayed grand mosque was my favourite single spot we visited on our around the world trip. i’m trying to think of some superlatives to describe it, but i’ll just let the loads of pictures i took (and can narrow down no further) illustrate. that crisp white! that stunning symmetry! that colorful marble inlay! that sumptuous interior! and it was all so serene and soothing to the eyes and soul. i could have stayed for hours admiring, but it was a little toasty in my abaya and headscarf in the 111 degree humid heat. even ian, who grew up in super muggy summers in texas, admitted this day was the hottest he has ever been. we left before we succumbed to the urge to take a dip in the pristine pools around the pillars and domes.

but seriously!! can you believe this place?!

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8.28.2015

on the beach in dubai

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one of the many perks of staying at the movenpick deira hotel is access to oceana beach club on palm jumeirah. a shuttle bus picked us up at the hotel and dropped us off at an infinity pool overlooking the ocean and the dubai marina skyline!

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^^ yes, we are aware that we are really, really white. ^^
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^^ and that this picture is pretty ridiculous. ^^

we had such a relaxing and fun morning at oceana beach club! it was pretty cool to be on palm jumeirah, which is a huge man-made island shaped like a palm tree jutting out from dubai into the waters of the persian gulf and dotted with resorts and luxury hotels (only in dubai would something ridiculous like this exist!). oceana wasn’t anything too glitzy, just right. we swam in the pool and then in the ocean, which is super calm there since the branches of the palm island break the waves.

while we were playing around in the sea, the boy’s wedding ring slipped off his finger! it was a true (and panicked) adventure to look for and a true miracle to find! i was grateful so to the people at the pool who lent me their goggles! :)

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after our relaxing morning at oceana, we went to a different beach spot in an attempt to the the burj al arab – the infamous seven-star hotel. it was kind of a struggle to figure out where we were going and the best place to go, but eventually we found a great spot! that sail-shaped building is so cool. we had to take some photos with our super awesome tshirts that the wonderful folks at movenpick deira had given us.

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^^ not sure exactly what’s going on with our poses here… ^^
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^^ i walked out along a pier to see this view … a good one showing off the different sides of dubai – such a unique place on earth! ^^

that night, we went to the mall of the emirates to see the indoor ski resort and enjoyed some more familiar food (we had avoided american chains our entire trip but felt that eating at them in dubai is actually part of the experience because they are everywhere!). then, ian really wanted to find a place to see the dubai skyline dominated by the burj khalifa all lit up at night. we really struggled to find what we were looking for and it was one of those times that come along while traveling when things just aren’t coming together and it’s pretty frustrating! here’s the best we got:

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ian is holding his phone with its flashlight up to shine on his face so we could get a picture that showed both him and the lit-up buildings behind him – haha! dubai night skyline fail. but already a fun memory.

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