Traveling..where to go next

P1060622A traditional night in the desert having Dinner

Last year my husband Lorne and I were fortunate to travel extensively. We started January off with Dubai..what an amazing country and it really surprised me how safe I really felt there.  We checked out all the “must see and do’s” with my favorite being the Burj al Arab Hotel. This sail ship shaped Hotel is stunning inside and out.burj

Following Dubai we also visited Fiji. This was my second time in Fiji, but Lorne’s first.  The people in Fiji are amazing. Most exciting experience there was the Zip Lining.  The climb to the top almost did me in, but it was worth it to see the view and experience flying through the trees!

New Zealand, was my next get away with my daughter.  We went on a 9 day Familiarization trip with one of our suppliers, and I absolutely loved it.  I’m definitely going back to New Zealand and more specifically Queenstown!  Queenstown reminds me of Banff, a small mountain town in my home province of Alberta.  Lots to see and do and walking the Boardwalk area was so beautiful!

We then had a few months getting back to normal, and camping.  One of our passions!  Getting away from phones, TV, social media is a great down time activity for us! 

Next, my Ladies Travel Group headed to New Orleans!  This group is so much fun.  We have travelled 2 times to New York, and once to San Francisco, and we always have a great deal of fun, and the group just keeps growing!  New Orleans is a great place to celebrate music in the streets, friendly people and shopping!lori 

My final trip of the year was Peru, with one of my suppliers.  I have to be honest and say that I haven’t ever had any inclination to go to Peru. Sure I had heard of Machu Picchu, and how wonderful it is to climb it, but I always thought that was out of my reach anyway, so why go to Peru!  Let me tell you…Peru is amazing, so much to see and experience and I did climb to the Sun Gate on Machu Picchu!  What an exhilarating experience! The other amazing part was visiting a local village and having lunch with a family and giving gifts to the village children!                        And of course now I want to go back!!laurie539

Now the only problem with doing that much traveling in one year, is that the next year is going to be boring!  I sat down with my old passport (the old one expired this spring) and looked at all the amazing places I have had stamped in it…And now I have to start over!  Going to be fun trying to top that passport as I had stamps from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, New Zealand, Fiji, Bahamas, Turk n Caicos, Cuba, Mexico, Dubai, Peru, and so many places in the United States.

Hmmm…where to next!

 

everywhere

MORE ON DUBAI

ImageToday is our second day in Dubai and we went on the “City of Merchants” Tour. The tour is a tour of the Traditional part of Dubai. Our first stop was a photo stop at the Burj Al Arab Hotel that’s shaped like a sailboat.  A truly magnificent hotel both outside and inside. Cost of stay at this hotel starts at $2700.00/night and the most expensive is $27, 500/night. Advantage with the expensive room is a helicopter pickup at the airport and you land on a landing desk at the hotel.  You have your own check-in right in your room. This hotel is located in the sea and they claim to be the only 7* hotel, although it is really only considered a 5* hotel.

We made a brief stop at the Jumeirah Mosque, the only mosque that allows the public in. P1060428

Next we drive past the Jumeirah Beach Hotel.             Jumeirah Beach hotel    Another beautiful hotel located at the Jumeirahah Beach, and is a family hotel. This hotel is massive and is located on a beach that will rival many in the world!  We would loved to have spent a week just spending time there. Interesting note is that Mondays the Beach is ONLY open to Woman.  Because of their culture they want the woman to feel comfortable not being totally covered up so they get the beach to themselves.

Next stop is the Dubai Museum. P1060468P1060479P1060488P1060470P1060469

It is very interesting to see how much Dubai has changed and grown over the decades. It showed us about the Pearl Industry, Carpentry, spices, Tailors, as well as information about the sea and desert. The Museum showed pictures of how Dubai has changed over theyears, the jewelry they used to wear all the time, the trinkets that were in their homes as well as military items.  Was great to see the history of Dubai.

Our next area to visit is very traditional Dubai. We took a traditional “abra” (water taxi). P1060491

These are open with just a bench to sit on and hold us to 20 people, cost is $1.00 of their money to go on it. Old Dubai is on the other side where the Spice and Gold Souk’s are.  Here you can buy spice by bulk and the Gold Souk is huge with over 200 Jewelry stores where you can buy Gold, Diamonds, precious stones and pearls. You barter at these stores to get the best price.  They say that you can usually barter them down 70% from the original price.   P1060500P1060497While at the Gold Souk we saw the Guinness World Book of Records heaviest Gold Ring.  P1060856P1060858

The Spice and Gold Souks were absolutely amazing to go through.  If you love jewelry as much as I do, I was in heaven in the Gold Souk!

We were looking forward to so much more to see in this amazing city!

 

DUBAI…An Amazing City

Dubai isn’t a place I thought I was dreaming of going to, or that I ever thought I would have the opportunity to visit, but my husband was fortunate enough to win a trip to Dubai compliments of Emirates Airline and Kompass Tours located in Dubai.

With a few bumps in the itinerary, with us having to fly from Toronto (where we were supposed to fly to Dubai from) to New York because the Toronto flight was oversold.  We arrived there and there is was a huge snow storm arriving in New York threatening that we may not make it out that day either.  BUT we were fortunate enough to be the only plane that took off. 

Emirates Airlines were so gracious in upgrading us to Business Class! And let me tell you…what an experience.  Neither Lorne or I ever thought we would be flying anywhere in business class. What a treat! Full lay down beds with duvet to out under you so its more comfy, all the drinks you want, food was amazing, a bar in the back of the place as this is the double-decker plane that Emirates owns where economy class is on the bottom and Business and First Class AND a bar are on the top-level.
Emirate Airlines is unbelievable. The service, was out of this world. And because I think the world is getting way to casual, it was such a treat to see the Flight attendants (men and woman) dressed in professional looking clothes, their hair was styled (womans up and neat and mens short and clean-cut). The woman’s makeup was impeccable. After talking to one of the attendants, said that Emirates is very specific about the type of people they want to represent their company. It was refreshing to see and hear!
After a very long flight we arrived at Dubai. The airport there is beautiful. Very streamlined and easy to get around in. We were met by a representative Arabian Adventures and taken to our hotel, The Ascot”.
This hotel is located in the middle of the city in the Computer area of the city. Apparently Dubai has different areas designated to different products like Computers, etc. There were small computers stores side by side everywhere with just boxes of computers and accessories in them.
Out hotel was okay, not one that I would send my clients to, but okay. The pool wasn’t heated at all, the food wasn’t great there, the rooms were small, but clean.
Our adventure began in Dubai and we were looking forward to it!