San Diego! Here I come.

2016, summer, Uncategorized, vacations

Happy Labor Day! Put away those white jeans and sip on that last summer sunshine.Labor Day was always the unofficial last day of summer when we were growing up. Summer started on Memorial Day and ended on Labor Day. Speaking of Memorial Day, back in May, hubby and I took a trip out to San Diego during the Memorial Day break.

Having lived in Dallas for 3 years now, I miss having access to the beach. We either have to drive a few hours to Galveston (4 hours) or about 12 hours down to South Padra for a ‘decent’ beach.

The flight to San Diego was short and sweet. As soon as we stepped out of the airport, we were greeted by gloomy clouds that threatened to rain, but never did.

The more time we spent in SD, the more we realized how awful the drought in California was. The trees, shrubbery, and grass was gone. Coming from lush Dallas, where rain has been abundant this year, the comparison was stark and quite honestly shocking.

 

During our trip we went to La Jolla, Coronado, San Diego, and also drove up north towards LA and hit Laguna Beach and Crystal Cove.

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Throwback Thursday: Dubai!

abu dhabi, dubai, grand mosque, masjid, sheikh zayad mosque

Last December, hubby and I went on a trip with my in-laws to Dubai and Abu Dhabi. We’ve never been before and we had a blast exploring the gorgeous cities. We took a stroll through the exuberant malls, a dip at the beach, a ride on a camel, and so much more. 

We traveled to the Mall of Emirates, the Burj Khalifa, the Dubai Mall, Ferrari world; we saw the Burj Al Arab, explored the Global Village, and pray at the Grand Mosque also known as Sheikh Zayed Mosque. 


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Dubai skyline from the beaches of Abu Dhabi

On our first day, we went to see the Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Mall. I’ve been to the Empire State building and other tall towers but man,oh man, was I not prepared for the height of the Burj Khalifa. The Burj Khalifa stands 163 floors tall, and a whopping 2,722 feet high! The family and I got to the observation deck and were astonished at the stability and the views from above. 

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Burj Khalifa- 163 stories high!

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There is so much construction going on in Dubai. Nearly every inch of the city has been constructed in the past 15 years. Even now, there is so much construction going on that nearly every time you look something has changed!

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One of the funniest things that I’ve seen is a life size aquarium in the middle of Dubai Mall! On top of that, they had divers! How awesome! 

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The Burj al Arab is shaped like a sail but it really is one of the most luxorious hotels in the world. In fact, it is the only 7 star hotel in the world! It’s built on an artificial island and is one of the tallest hotels in the world. As you can tell, this is definitely a trend in Dubai to try and outdo every one at everything!


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One of the other gorgeous hotels in Dubai is the Atlantis Marine Hotel. It’s a replica of the one in the Bahamas. I’ve never even been inside of the one in Dubai and I’ve never been to the Bahamas. But from what I’ve seen from the outside of this hotel, it must be beautiful! 

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We were lucky enough to be able to visit the Global Village while it was in town. Usually it runs 6 month and it features around 30 pavilions that showcase different country’s handicrafts, merchandise and cuisines.

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There were pavilions that had amazing ethnic clothing, food and even replicas of how it was to live life there before modernization.



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This was the entrance to the Miracle Gardens. One of the amazing things about the Miracle Gardens is that they change the sculptures every season and change up the way things look. 

   


Canon_India_Dubai_2014 1018  Of all the botanical gardens in the world, I’ve never seen anything more beautiful than the Miracle Gardens in Dubai. Acres and acres filled with carefully planted flowers sculpted various shapes.

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I would have totally loved to take wedding pictures in such a beautiful location! There were so many brides there that day taking wedding portraits. Canon_India_Dubai_2014 1005  From houses to cars, birds to various creatures, the gardens had so many flowers and greenery. This is an attraction you can’t miss if you are in Dubai. Most especially because the contrast of the outside desert world and the garden will make you realize how much nature can change depending on where you live.Canon_India_Dubai_2014 993


Can you imagine a desert land with temperatures reaching into the 90s on a winter day? Now imagine walking barefoot onto cool marble floors, and being covered from head to toe yet still feeling as if the whole area was air conditioned? 

That is how it felt to stroll through the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. 

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Completed in 2007, the Grand Mosque sits in the capital of the UAE. It is so big that you can’t miss it. For a place whose primary goal is to allow Muslims to worship Allah swt, the mosque cost around $545 million USD! The architecture and the details in the mosque are astonishing. You walk in and you feel as if this was supposed to be a palace of some sort. Canon_India_Dubai_2014 1220

There is a certain type of peace that fills you when you enter the mosque. Even celebrities such as Rihanna, Selena Gomez and friends have been at the mosque in the religious attire. 

We prayed Friday prayer at the mosque and it was filled with people from all over the world who came to see the grandness of the mosque.
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Sheikh Zayed, who commissioned the building of the mosque, wanted to erect a structure that showcased and unified the cultural diversity of the Islamic world. The architecture has various influences. One of the most astonishing things was that the material for the mosque was sourced from all around the world. 
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The points on top of the domes are gold plated and as is everything else that seems ‘golden’ in the mosque.
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Gardens surround the most on all sides. The greenery is a perfect complement to the royal architecture.
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The design on the pillars are actually mosaic tile designs not paint! From afar it looks like intricate painting but up close you can see the marble tiles used to create the floral pattern.Canon_India_Dubai_2014 1189

Throughout the mosque, there are intricate carvings of the Quran. From various ayats to the 99 names of Allah, you can be sure that the mosque really was made to worship the Almighty. Canon_India_Dubai_2014 1263    The entrance to the mosque is breathtaking! 

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If you can take your eyes off of the magnificent chandelier, you might be able to notice the wall covered with the 99 names of Allah.
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The men’s prayer hall was large and covered with detailed carvings. The women’s hall, which was smaller but had just as much decor on it. Needless to say, you get emotionally overwhelmed during pray at the mosque.


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On our last day in Dubai, we took advantage of the desert and went on a Desert Safari. The concept was quite interesting and nothing like I’ve ever experienced before. 

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A tour guide will pick you up from your location (hotel, house etc) and take you to the desert campsite far from society. It sounds scary but there are so many people there that its perfectly safe. 

The campsite had working restrooms, a place to ride ATVs, and an area where you could get food, do some shopping, and watch a belly dancing show. 
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It sunset was so beautiful over the desert and I definitely would do this all over again!Canon_India_Dubai_2014 1386I f you can get to Dubai for 3-4 days, I’d say do it! It is definitely worth it!