After Nepal, we went somewhere with a much warmer climate: the UAE! We flew into to Abu Dhabi and checked in to a hotel with a great view of the city and a semi-outdoor pool. After the chill of Nepal and the cold of Holland, we used the sunbathing chairs and the pool as much as we could. Throughout the day we spent time at the beach and visited an outdoor exhibit about nomads in the Middle East and how they used to live. Then, to contrast, we visited Ferrari world and went as far as was possible without actually paying anything. When that was quickly over, we got into an unlicensed taxi and went to visit the Sheijh Zayed Mosque. The women in the family needed to put headscarves and robes on, and we all needed to take our shoes off with all of the other visitors to be able to enter. The mosque was all lit up and quite remarkable to see at night.
The next day we took a day trip to Dubai. The train to Dubai took about 2 1/2 hours, and as we neared the city itself, we crowded the windows looking for the Burj Khalifa, each of us trying to be the first one to be able to spot it in the distance. Amazingly, we couldn’t see it even when we got to the Dubai train station, and then as we took another train into the city centre we realized that Dubai has multiple “downtown”s, with clusters of skyscrapers in nearly every direction. We spent the day taking pictures of the Burj Khalifa, watching the famous Dubai fountain water show (which was a little underwhelming), and touring the Dubai Mall, the largest mall in the world. Everything in the mall was ridiculously overpriced, and though we walked through a large portion of it, the only things we purchased were lunch at the food court, and frozen yoghurt. Included in the overpriced section was the world's largest candy store, where we watched pure sugar being rolled into lollipops, repulse some of us from those from then on. We learned that we are definitely not mall people.