We flew on an Emirates A380, the commercials that have Jennifer Aniston in them. It was insane! The flight is also 7 hours. The path the flight takes is not direct. If you look at a map, the straight line from Paris to Dubai you would have to fly through Syrian and Iraqi air space. Let’s just say, on our flight, we strategically skirted along the borders.
|Our Emirates A380|
We got in very late to Dubai, we landed at 1 am local (there is a 3 hour time difference between Paris and Dubai). We had an issue finding Jer’s clubs because the baggage claim area is the size of a small metropolitan city. After we got all our baggage, we headed to our hotel, the JW Marriott Marquis and were asleep by 3 am local.
Of note about the JW is that it is listed as the tallest hotel in the world. It is a total of 77 floors, 5 floors higher than the next tallest hotel which of course is also located in Dubai (along with the the next two on the list as well).
So we were not in Dubai just for fun, I was there for multiple meetings for work. I had all day meetings today, which were broken up by a fire drill which caused us to have to go outside, in business professional dress, in the 100 degree heat. Not fun.
Like many I have always dreamed about playing golf in Dubai, but never really thought I would have the chance. Since I know how popular golf is and we were going to be there during a time the weather isn’t too hot I made sure to make my tee times in advance while Kasey was going to be at work. Today I made a 10:50 tee time at Emirates Golf Club on the Majlis Course which is the course they play the Omega Dubai Desert Classic each February. I was so excited to get to play another course they play a high level tournament on and luckily I made my tee time for today because they were closing the course this weekend to punch the entire course so it is ready for February.
I got to the course about an hour and a half early because I wanted to check out the facilities and of course buy some gear at the pro shop. Another reason I got there so early is that I hadn’t swung a club since we left the States, and those of you that know me know how crazy that really sounds. Since the range was include in the greens fees I knew I could get in a bunch of swings before hand and get back into it after the long layoff. After hitting a TON of balls (my hands were completely torn up) and some short range practice I met one of the guys I was paired with. Manuel was really nice and I knew it was going to be a fun round.
After some additional putting it was time to finally tee it up for real. We met up with the other two members of the group who were two brothers from the UK and their mom riding along with them. Quite the group we had from all over the world. One from the US living in France, one from Portugal living in Switzerland (working often in Dubai), and two from the UK on vacation in Dubai. One of the two brothers was actually a pretty good player and we could have had a good game going if anyone wanted some action, but we were all just there to enjoy.The round didn’t go exactly how I was hoping, but playing from the tips after 7 months off on a course like this I really cannot complain. The course and the views were just amazing and well worth everything my hands went through. After the round Manuel and I enjoyed a few beers before Kasey was finally done with work and I went back to the hotel to meet her.
|First tee area. Building the boxes around the 9th green in the background for February.|
|View from the first tee.|
|Beautiful view of the marina in the background.|
|The signature 8th hole.|
After work, Jer and I met back up at the hotel for dinner. We stayed at the JW and ate dinner at Garden, which is a Peruvian restaurant. We started with buy one get one free Piscos, which are now my favorite mixed drink. We also had ceviche. I was in heaven.
We finished our night, with a night cap and cigars at the Vault. This is a restaurant/bar/club on the weekends on the 72nd floor of our hotel. It was a great view to end our first full day in Dubai.
|View of tower 2 of the JW and the Burj Khalifa in the background.|
So again, I had all day meetings but no fire alarm thankfully this time.
Today I had an 11:00 tee time, but this time at Jumeirah Golf Estates. Jumeirah is another place that holds a top level tour event in the European Tour Championship. I really wanted to play the same course, but the Tour Championship was in 2 weeks so the Earth Course was closed for the course to get ready. I was however able to play the Fire course and it certainly didn’t disappoint.
Again I got there pretty early to shop and hit a few balls yet again. My hands were really hurting today so I was concerned about being able to play through the blisters. Luckily the locker room staff was able to provide me with enough band-aids to make up for it. I usually am always the guy with tape in my bag for situations like this, but with the whole bag issue I had before we left with Blue Bell I didn’t have everything I normally have with the temporary bag I have. Since one of the courses was closed (even to members) it was pretty busy and I got paired up again. This time with two German men. One who was a member and lived and worked in Dubai for 12 years, and the other was his guest. They were both really nice and the member was extremely helpful in understanding where to hit the ball on certain holes which I would not have known.
It was yet another beautiful course and as one would expect my round today was better than my one yesterday as I am starting to get my swing back now that I am playing again. One thing I didn’t talk about yesterday was how interesting it was figuring out what clubs to hit. As one would expect everything is in meters. Eventually I was able to figure out how to get the GPS on the carts switched to yards, but before that every shot was in need of a calculation. Luckily I had gotten a good tip in converting when you play overseas. The basic math is take the first two numbers from what the yardage shows in meters and add that back to the total yardage. So basically if you have 150 meters you take the 15 add it back and you would have 165 yards to the hole. The math isn’t exact as the actual conversion is something like 164.04 or something, but I think one yard is close enough.
After the round I did a little more shopping while waiting for my cab back to the hotel. Once I was back I took a nice shower and went downstairs to the sports bar to grab a snack and a few beers while I waited for Kasey to get back.
|200 plus all carry Par 3!|
|The home hole a nice long par 5.|
|The past winners of the Tour Championship. I think Rory might like this course a little!|
Again, after work Jer and I met at the hotel for dinner. We stayed at the hotel again (they have like 10 restaurants) and ate at Positano, which was Italian themed. We had another wonderful meal, which they made me a special meal since they had a ‘seafood market’. It was mussels (which are one on my favorites) over spaghetti and a light pesto with cherry tomatoes and chili flakes. I will definitely try to recreate this back in Paris.
Today we woke up early to do some sight seeing. We pre-bought tickets to the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, so we figured we should go to the actual Burj Khalifa entrance. So we got in our cab and headed there. Well, we were wrong, you actually go into the Dubai mall and enter the Burj Khalifa that way. Of course none of this was marked outside or on our e-tickets. O well, good thing cabs are dirt cheap here.
The views from the top were amazing, You could see out into the Persian Gulf and see the sand haze. The pictures don’t quite do it justice.
|Looking out onto the man made islands that make up “Earth”.|
|The huge fountains in downtown Dubai.|
|That entire building is the Dubai Mall!!!|
|Looking back towards the business district and our hotel.|
After we were done at the top, we headed into the Dubai Mall. The mall, I think, is the largest in the world. We walked around and stopped at the aquarium. Yes there is an aquarium in the mall! We ended up walking around and through the 10 million litre tank! We also tried to get a shirt for my sister (since she is a marine biologist) but there was not one branded t-shirt. I was in shock since you could literally buy anything in Dubai.
|The tank just out in the middle of the mall.|
|The entrance underneath the tank.|
We then took a step outside to see the Burj Khalifa. It barely fit in the frame of the picture. It is so impressive. We also were outside for under 5 minutes in the direct sun and it was almost unbearable it was so hot.
We then headed back to the JW Marriott to switch hotels now that I am technically are no longer here for work.
After checking in and catching up on some work, we enjoyed the resort pool and beach for the afternoon.
|Sunset from our new room.|
The resort, like the JW, had about 10 different restaurant option. Tonight we decided to eat at Fish Bazaar, a Thai restaurant, which was a special night for all you can eat fish. Like the JW, the restaurant did not disappoint. You literally picked out the fish from an ice bar, the seasoning and could watch the chef cook it.
After dinner, we went to a bar at the resort called the Underground for drinks and to watch the PSG match. Gotta support no matter where we are!
Step Count: 15,583, 10.2km
Today we decide to work on our ‘tans’. Lets be honest, Jer worked on his tan, I wore SPF 70 sunscreen and reapplied every 2 hours. But still, we enjoyed the sun. And it was one hot sun! There was also all day long Halloween party at the club down by the beach, let’s just say, people are a wonderful source of entertainment….
|In typical fashion we have to dip our toes into new bodies of water we visit. Persian Gulf now checked off the list.|
Mid afternoon we went on a tour that we set up through the hotel. It was promoted as a Jeep ride through the sand dunes, a tradition dinner and belly dancers. The person we booked with also told us there would be sand boarding, which would be like snow boarding on the duns, which is what we really wanted to do. While the whole production was fine, but VERY touristy, there was NO sand boarding. You can check out the crazy driving through the dunes below. And we did get some pretty awesome pictures in the middle of the desert.
|Holding the sun in the palm of my hand!|
|Our transportation for the evening.|
|Middle of the desert for dinner.|
After we got back to the hotel, we headed to the Underground for drinks and soccer. But tonight there was some live music!
We then decided to walk around through the different Souks, which are markets. We walked through the Gold and Spice Souks. We stopped in the Spice Souk to stock on an amazing spices and tea, and also admire the colors.
|Just look at the colors!|
We then decided to not deal with the traffic on the way back and take the Metro. Dubai has two lines, Red and Green, the Red is one LONG metro line all the way from the airport down along the main road to the marina. The metro is SUPER clean. The weirdest part of the metro was that there was a section for unaccompanied woman only. By accident we got in where the car was split, so I stood on one side of the line and Jer on the other. If a man was on the wrong side of the line, he could get fined over 100 Euros! Next time we will pick a car further back to avoid the awkward gender line.
On our way back to the hotel, we stopped at the Mall of Emirates, which was built before the Dubai mall but was just impressive. While the Dubai mall had an aquarium inside, the Emirates mall had ski slopes. Talk about one uppers.
|Night time in the marina.|
We had dinner at resort at Salamar, which is an outdoor Cuban tapas restaurant. We took our computer with us to eat dinner and stream some American football since you know it is Sunday after all.
|Because who doesn’t bring a computer to dinner?|
Step Count: 18,566, 13.2km
Today we decided to continue to work on our ‘tans’. In France, tomorrow is a holiday so most people ‘bridge the holiday’ to make a long weekend of it. So I did the same thing!
Today I also made my first appearance on a golf course since December 2015. We played golf from day to night at the Emirates Golf Club. No lie, we started when it was light out and ended in the pitch black. Well the course was lit up like the fourth of July, so you could see. It was the first time we had ever played golf under the lights and it was freaky on the eyes, but really fun as well.
|Sun starting to set.|
|Lights are coming on as we get closer to the turn.|
|Now you really need the lights for the back 9.|
|We missed golfing together.|
|You can tell the lights really do a good job.|
|The marina all lit up.|
From the pictures, you’ll be able to see cranes all over the sky line. I have never see so much construction in one town in my whole life. There are buildings popping up all over the place!
I would say this was the perfect way to end our time in Dubai.
We spent one last morning at the pool. I will miss this view.
And then we were off to the airport to start out 7+ hour trek back to Paris.