Monday, March 14, 2011

Abu Dhabi....Finally!

This is a picture overload!!

 Finally! I am taking the time to post about our trip to Abu Dhabi , and it only took me 2+ months. My parents moved to Abu Dhabi in May of 2010, so we quickly planned a trip to go see them. We were able to spend two weeks in the UAE (United Arab Emirates) right before Christmas. (We had to take advantage of Kevin's last long Christmas break as a student). 

Surprisingly, the kids were really good for both of our flights out to Abu Dhabi and back to the US, which is good because 13 hours is a long time to deal with misbehaving children. I must have prayed hard enough to have mine sleeping most of the time. I have now decided they were both at a good age to be flying, because Jonah wasn't crawling yet and Annalise could entertain herself well. Now, three months later, I would have to consider whether or not Jonah would last that long without driving us all crazy. To summarize, I am glad we went when we did. 

If you are like me and don't have the time to read long blog posts, feel free to scan through the pictures below, but if you want the long version,  keep reading!

So I thought it would be really weird going somewhere warm and sunny right before Christmas, especially living here in Columbus where the clouds rule the sky. I also thought there would be very few Christmas decorations, or Christmas celebration in a country where Islam is the largest and official religion. (However, the government follows a policy of tolerance toward other religions and activities of non- Muslims.) Luckily, I was wrong on both of my assumptions, being somewhere warm was wonderful, and there was plenty of Christmas celebrating to be found. 

The first couple of days we spent adjusting to the time difference and taking it easy. I have never experienced jet lag like that before......
(somehow my mom got this picture of me?)

I think the kids adjusted better than I did! 

The first few days we spent at the beach and hanging out at my parents house. 
(This is their house, no address though
So good luck finding it!)

Flat Stanley also got to hang out with us!
(If you have never read Flat Stanley, you should!)

The view from the roof...

From the top floor 
(3 floors worth of stairs)

I asked my mom for some sunscreen when we went to the beach,
 and all she could find was this blue stuff. 
Obviously Annalise thought it was pretty cool!

Visiting the Abu Dhabi Historical Village.......

We decided the easiest way to see the city was to do a Big Red Bus Tour....

The bus was perfect because we could get all the fun historical info 
(that Kevin loves),
 and see everything without having to navigate or worry about parking. 

Among all these buildings I also found this handsome guy....

It seemed that most of the city was under construction, 
there are buildings going up everywhere (huge buildings). 
There are cranes and construction workers all over the place. 

We stopped for lunch at the mall and had some Italian food. 
Surprisingly, there are all kinds of 
american chain restaurants everywhere......
with a little twist!

Dinner that night in a spinning tower thing
 (much like the one in Seattle.)

Annalise loved that part of the floor was moving, 
she stood next to the window and waved goodbye to us
 as our table was moving away. 

We also did the big red bus tour in Dubai, 
and saw a lot more buildings!

This one happens to be the tallest in the world...


Mall in Dubai

There are mosques on every corner, and every one of them 
has a large speaker so all can hear the call to prayer five times a day

We also went to see the Grand Mosque, 
it was gorgeous, the detail was indescribable.

This was our tour guide....
and I wish I would have gotten a picture of her shoes, 
because they were the tallest heels I have ever seen....
the shoes people wear there are amazing.

She is wearing her Abaya,
 as all women are required to wear one in the mosque
 to be modest while inside.

An awesome serious shot of me holding Jonah before he ripped the scarf off of  my head ten times....I finally had to hand him over to dad, he was driving me crazy! (he was probably just curious, but it was not easy keeping that thing on....I don't know how the women wear them all the time and handle their children at the same time?)

The clock looking thing above is all the times that the call to prayer is sounded.

This happens to be the biggest carpet in the world, and all hand sewn!

Khalifa Park
This park seems to have everything, 
a train, 
a museum, 
a playground ,
 four person bikes, 
a fountain, and a lot of foliage
 (which is pretty weird being in a dessert, 
but there is grass everywhere.
 I think they said that 97% of the water there
 is taken from the sea water and desalinated.)

There were a lot of women with their kids at the playground. 
They had all packed their dinner, blankets,
 and chairs to spend the evening at the park. 
(as you can see behind Annalise)


My dad had to work the first week we were there, 
but the second week he got to join us on all of our excursions. 

Our day trip was the zoo in Al-Ain, 
but first we went to top of the mountain to check out the view...

If you look hard you can see the border to Oman (the country that borders the UAE)

The Zoo in Al-Ain

Chasing Cheetahs
(eating toes.....)

Dessert Safari Excursion

Kevin and I got a night to ourselves while my parents watched the kids. 
We got to ride with 4 other people in a Land Cruiser 
while the driver drove like a maniac up and down the sand dunes....
it was awesome!

We never got a good video of the ride, 
but here is clip for an idea of our back seat view!
(Sorry it is kind of a lame video, 
but we were busy enjoying ourselves)

The sand was amazingly fine...I wish you could feel it through my picture!

These pictures below were taken at the same time, 
the Sun setting on the left, and the moon rising on the right. 
It was a gorgeous view!

Our evening entertainment, and dinner....

(I think Kevin may have even been a little bored
 without children to chase while eating dinner....
I on the other loved having a break)

More Beach time, and swimming...

The last Supper...buffet style...
.Annalise did not waste her time getting to the good stuff!

Hope you enjoyed the pictures as much as we enjoyed our trip!
We had a blast, and I hope we get to go back sometime to see them again!
Love you Mom and Dad!!!


Carlos said...

wow what an amazing trip!! love all the pictures, thanks for sharing :)

Sierra Parke said...

Hey Kelsey! Your pics are amazing!!! Absolutely beautiful! Are your parents serving a mission there, or did they actually move there permanently? In any event, what a totally fun adventure! Glad you had such a great time.

Heather Stott said...

Yea yea! Brandon and I just read your post, and loved the update! I didn't know your days were so packed with fun filled adventures! I am totally jeleous of the camel ride! It's something Ive been wanting to do for a while!! and I am glad you got to go when the kids were the right age! I missed that window completely! Im sure my children would be little terrors I just know it!

partypatt said...

I loved your post. Very entertaining and it looks like a wonderful trip! Glad you had fun!

Kevin, Kelsey and Annalise.... said... parents moved there. They signed a contract for three years, but they will probably stay longer!

Elaine said...

So I know I never comment, but this one was to good to pass up! What an interesting trip. I never thought about traveling to the middle east before-but your pictures make me think twice about it. What a great experience.

Robnz Fam said...

Um, wow. I was totally in awe of the experiences you had there! What an AMAZING trip! I'm so glad you got to go there, and with your kids too! I had no idea they had one of the tallest buildings in the world. And way to be brave on that camel...I'm a chicken when it comes to stuff like that :0).

LeeAnne said...

that first comment was actually from me haha. i thought i was in my account, but apparently i was in my husband's :)