Good morning! I have been up all night and am seriously jet lagged, so I figured it was a great time to compose a blog post! :--)
Actually, it is since the house is still quiet and I have the time, but keep in mind my previous sentence if I happen to get off on some tangent or blather on about something. My mind isn't quite all there. It's kind of weird, because my trip to Italy 16 months ago went pretty seamlessly in terms of getting back on the Central Time Zone schedule, but I guess that is the difference to traveling somewhere that is 10 hours ahead instead of seven. Fortunately my work is closed on Monday so I have an extra day to pull myself together.
Anyway, I'd spent a lot of time and used a lot of blog space this week talking about my running exploits in Dubai, but I didn't touch all that much on the other fun things we did. While I only spent about an hour a day running, the rest of the time was full of activities and sightseeing. Most days I put more than 20,000 steps on my Fitbit, and last Sunday -- my first day in town -- I had more than 35,000! Needless to say, I slept pretty well too!
So here's a little gallery of some of the things I did while not running. I have a lot more pictures on my Facebook page, which is set to public (I believe). Or check them out on Pinterest.
Ready? Let's go!
*We had Lebanese food...twice! My wife Darcy works for a company that manufactures restaurant equipment, and over the last couple of years they have made a big move into the Middle East. So the show in Dubai, called Gulfood, was a big one for them. Which meant a couple of dinners, and since we were in the Middle East, it meant eating at Lebanese restaurants, which are really popular in Dubai.
The second night we were just down the way from there, and sat outside on a nice patio that was close to the street. It was a nice place to sit and lent to the opportunity to see a lot of supercars, like Porches, Ferraris and Lamborghinis. Since I'm kind of a car guy (more on that later), I loved it!
The food, well, that was sort of a different story. I'm not saying I hated it, but it's an acquired taste for sure. Although I am proud of the fact that I tried some new dishes (I ate quail for the first time) and actually liked the seafood.
As you can see by the table, the food was served family style and our table of eight had at least five servers that took care of everything. One thing I noticed the liked to do is if a dish hadn't been touched all that much or you hadn't eaten anything in a while, they would come over and just spoon something onto your plate as a suggestion to give it a try. Some was good, some wasn't, but overall it was a fantastic experience.
The Autodrome is home to several races a year, and I know they hope to draw a Formula 1 race there someday. We made the trip over to the track because they offered several "experiences" -- the opportunity to do some driving in various types of cars. I went over hoping to drive in the single seater experience, but they were all booked up for the day.
Instead I went across the street to the Kartdrome and did a couple sessions of karting. Now, just for explanation, this isn't one of those go-kart places you go to at an amusement part or wherever, this was high-level stuff. They do a lot of elite kart racing there, so the facility was spectacular.
Darcy took some video of one of my laps, which I'll put at the bottom of this post if you'd like to watch it. Overall it was such a great experience. There is a similar kart track about an hour from where I live and I think I am going to go down there this summer.
If you want to read more about it, check out my post on my IndyCar blog
*We went to the Burj Khalifa. I'm also fascinated by tall buildings. I remember seeing the Sears (I'll never call it Willis) Tower for the first time just after it opened, and I was just captured by it's awesome beauty. So if I go somewhere and there is a tall building, I try to go up in it.
It didn't disappoint, in fact it was even better than I had imagined. Before getting on the elevator there were several models and photos that showed the building in its various stages of construction.
Looking at all of those displays was really pretty inspiring. The entire Dubai skyline is a testament to what happens when you dream big and combine imagination and engineering. While all of that is easier to do when the money for such projects is literally flowing out of the ground, it's still awesome to see all of the people involved pushing each other to do great things.
The ride to the 124th floor took just one minute, and then we were outside on the observation deck. The
We were up there for about an hour and I took close to 75 pictures. This one is kind of funny...my son Matt ran cross country and track at Aurora Central Catholic High School (and my younger son Kevin will do the same next year), and their team name is the Chargers. So I took a Charger XC shirt up with me to put on for a couple of photos. I sent them to the coach and he was really excited to see
One of the other things about the view from the building is that from the top you can see probably three to four dozen other buildings in one stage of construction or another. It is amazing the see the pace at which the city is growing. I spoke with some people that had been coming to Dubai for 10, 15 or even 20 years, and they too are amazed by its growth. One guy even said he remembers a time when camels walked down a two-lane road that today is a 12-lane (six lanes in each direction) superhighway!
We went to a beach that is near the Jumeirah Beach Residences, a collection of hotels and condos near the Dubai Marina. It is a really nice place with shops and restaurants along the beach, and is pretty popular since most of the beach is public.
If we ever go back, I want to spend more time at the beach. They had some boat trips stuff like paddleboarding at jet skiing that I wouldn't mind doing. Let me clarify, I guess, I don't mind being on open water, just not in it!
I could go on all day, but I hope this gave you a little more sense of the flavor of Dubai outside of their running scene. But before I go, I want to add a couple more pictures. Just a few blocks from our hotel was the Mall of the Emirates, which is a huge, beautiful place that we frequented many times. One of the things that makes the mall unique is it has an indoor ski hill inside the mall! Here is the view from both outside and inside. It was pretty crazy!
Thank you so much for coming with me on this journey. It was an amazing trip that I never in my life thought I would make, but now hope that I get to do again someday! I hope you enjoyed my writings and my pictures as to what makes the UAE a neat place.