Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Little American Girl in Dubai: An Arabian Night (3 of 3)

Here it is, ladies & gents! The last installment of my adventures in Dubai. Did you have fun following along? Or was the series kind of meh? I ask because I had fun with it and would love to share these types of blogs for all my upcoming adventures around the world (on the docket: Singapore, Amsterdam, the UK, and Japan!). It's so fun sharing it all with you.

Anyway! What's in store today? Our last night in Dubai!

Kristana - our travel bug manager on site - gets all the credit for our last evening in Dubai. I was starting to get homesick (I missed Cody and being home terribly by then!) but I was so happy that Kristana encouraged us to go out and celebrate a show well done and the end of our trip.

After CABSAT closed on that last night, the team went back to the hotel to clean up and then we hopped into a car that would take us to the desert. It was a bit alarming at first as we got nearer to the desert - there weren't many streetlights and I started to wonder if this would be the end of me. Eeek!

Have no fear, friends, we were not driving to our deaths.  We turned the corner and found ourselves at the Bab Al Shams resort (yes, an actual resort in the middle of the freakin' desert!). There, we were going to experience a traditional Arabian dinner and show at their Al Hadheerah restaurant.

When you first enter (walking on red carpets, might I add!), you are greeted with a row of shops (similar to the Souk but a bit special for the events of the evening) all built to resemble the city back in its younger days. The vibe was super cool.

See that fella on the right? I bought the adorable souvenir below from him

D'awww - I couldn't help myself even though Cody wasn't actually there

As you enter the restaurant you are blown away by this ginormous open space filled with tables and couches and stools and pillows. All of it outdoors, the black sky was full of stars above us as we entered. It was totally breathtaking.

The restaurant manager was adorably sweet and took us through the array of buffet stations available to us so we could familiarize ourselves with the options. I couldn't believe how sweet and funny each chef and restaurant employee was!

A fire pit surrounded by multiple pots filled with various dishes

As we approached the stations, we were greeted with such bright smiles. I know that seems like an obvious detail but you don't see such kindness even in the states when you visit a touristy spot!

Lamb that was roasted for 9 hours under the ground and a boiled crab shoot!

So we took a seat at our table and waited for what was to come - because we really had no idea! Suddenly, the music got louder and the performances began.

For about 2 hours straight, we nibbled and visited the buffet multiple times all while various dancers performed for us on stage. Many of those dancers ventured out into the crowd to take photos with the guests or even drag some on stage!

Everyone say "selfieeeeee"!

Kristana and my co-worker, Jenny, got yanked on stage! I dodged the bullet and instead, grabbed the camera to document. It was so much fun.

With each performance, I couldn't believe I was experiencing it myself. At the same time, I couldn't believe I was there - at the resort in the middle of the desert as well as in Dubai altogether. What an amazing experience it was!

To go out with a bang, we finished our meals and ventured out to a separate quieter part of the resort where they had falcons, camels, and other livestock to pet and even ride!

The employee of the resort informed us that the camel's name was Ferrarri, which we all found fitting for him. Sitting down, he seemed so friendly and calm. Then we all got daring and took a ride on him! I was nervous and almost said no but then I stopped myself and thought, "What are you thinking, Sara? You're in DUBAI and you can ride a CAMEL! Do not pass this up!"

And I didn't.

Have you ever gotten on a camel? Well, it's a bit involved. First, you have to pretty much dislocate your hip to get your leg over it (sorry, Ferrarri, not trying to say you're fat or anything...) and then they have to stand up - camels get up two legs at a time - front first, followed by the back. It's a bit like a roller coaster as they get up and lie back down. Once he's up and walking, it's all quite peachy!

By the time we got back to the hotel, it was past midnight. We all had to be up by 6am to get to the airport the next morning but it was so worth it to have that last experience at the resort. It was such a memorable way to end a memorable trip - I will never forget you, Ferrarri!

And I'll never forget you, Dubai.