Bashing Some Dunes • Our Trip in Abu Dhabi

March 24, 2016

Good morning/afternoon/night everyone. While you all enjoy your nice calm day, I have some wonderful news to share. Someone started crawling, and I know most of you are reacting with thoughts like, “Awwww”, or “wow, already?”, or “yay, that is great”. While all you are being so positive, please know my thoughts are, “oh dear god, please save me”, or “I am a good person, please let Austin be a calm child”, or “I wonder if tying a child to a bed-post is still frowned upon”. For everyone who is thinking that I am being dramatic, or thinking that I am over exaggerating, please enjoy this treasure…

I literally put him on the floor for one minute while I went pee (yep only pee, it wasn’t even a poop). I came back, and a tall pile of tissues surrounded him. Our trips are about to get a whole lot more interesting.

Day 14 Continued: Flowers on my Bed Y’all
 The night before we left Dubai, we had a change of heart about our hotel plans. Originally, we were going to stay in a hotel similar to the one we were at in Dubai. Tall, in the city, and standard. After being in such a hectic, and rushed environment, we decided to slow things down a bit. We stayed at this great hotel called Al Raha Beach Hotel, and it was the perfect decision. The hotel was on the beach, and had two pools. The first was a large pool with a swim-up bar (and yes, we did use it), and the second was a kid pool with a playground in it. The boys loved it!

When we got into our room, there were flowers on my bed!!!

I was very excited to see them! Especially because they were my favorite color! Aren’t they pretty?

Austin loved them too… he loved to eat them (the destruction period has begun… dum dum dummmmm)

After we checked in to our room, we went directly to the pool! The boys needed to unwind!

Austin learned how to wave, and started waving when I told him to say hi to Daddy

It was another nice relaxing day!

Day 15: Yas Waterworld
 Waterpark Day!!! I have been looking forward to this day for a long time! I took my crazy boys to a waterpark. We went to Yas Waterworld, and it was great. We got there as soon as the park opened and stayed until close to closing time. It was a perfect day because the park was practically empty. Unfortunately, the boys were still too small to get on the rides (despite how badly they wanted to ride them), so we stayed in the kid areas for most of the day. The kid area was SO much fun! They had kid sized water slides, sprinklers, fountains, and buckets of water pouring at random times.

Hunter’s favorite part of the waterpark was the lazy river. He had a life vest on, and swam the entire time. That little boy REFUSED to get into a tube! By the end of the day, we were able to get Mason out of the tube and in someone’s arms, but he still isn’t as comfortable in the water as Hunter is. Austin loved floating around, but Austin is such an easy-going, and happy baby. He has been such a trooper with all the traveling we have done.

At both the hotel pool, and Yas Waterworld I saw something that I had heard about, but didn’t believe it was true. This little invention is called a burkini. I repeat, a Burk-ini. It is a hybrid of a Burka and a Bikini that women use as a bathing suit. I mean, talk about an oxymoron! Burk-ini? I find the name really amusing. Here is a picture I found on the internet, and I have to say, this picture make it look more glamorous than it is.

Back to the waterpark, by the end of the day, everyone was tired and ready for bed. We got to the hotel, ate food, and put the boys to sleep. While they were sleeping, Bookie and I went to eat. Don’t worry people, the restaurant was a 30 second walk away, and we used a baby monitor to make sure to Boogie Man didn’t eat our children while we were away. Plus, I remember hearing stories about my grandmother using a drawer as a crib when my dad was a baby, so I am not THAT bad.

While we were at dinner, I asked a question that terrified me. That question was: “Did you get my rings when you cleared out the safe?”. Everyday I wear two rings. My wedding ring, and a ring my mother gave me when I was 16, and her grandmother gave it to her. Both rings are very special to me. While we were at the waterpark, I took off both rings and a bracelet a got for christmas. At the end of the day, I saw Bookie clearing out the safe from afar, and I just assumed he grabbed my stuff too. Apparently, I assumed incorrectly. Let me tell you something, if you ever want to ruin and/or quickly end a dinner with your spouse, mention your wedding ring may be lost.

I immediately spoke to the concierge to try to get contact information for the park, but at that time it was already closed. He told me to be at the park when it opens the next day, and hope it is still there. Oh man, oh man! Talk about a terrible nights sleep…

Day 16: Thanks Joe
 …we woke up, fed the kids, and immediately went to the waterpark. We got to Yas Waterworld 10 minutes before they opened, and I sent Bookie in because I figured he would get further than I would because of his Arabic. I sat in the car for an excruciating 15 minutes. If you want to know what torture feels like, sit in a car with three kids, outside a waterpark that they cannot go to, while waiting to see if your two diamond ring are missing. Sweating bullets!

Finally, Bookie came walking out. I could tell it wasn’t a good sign because he was on the phone with a Business-Bookie (a nickname for when he is in business mode, Business-Bookie is not my favorite because he is bossy, pushy, and he likes to tell me what to do…) look on his face. As he opened the car I heard him say, “yes, they told me that I needed to call and request a long-term search for a lost item. My wife left her wedding ring in a safe…”. I instantly started bawling. I went from nervous to uncontrollable sobbing in .05 seconds.

Once I started crying, Bookie said, “Oh my God! I’m sorry. I’m sorry. It was a joke. Your rings are right here…”. THAT ASSHOLE!!!! That was the meanest, worst, cruelest timed joke in the history of man kind! Of course, once he said he was joking I started crying harder out of both relief and emotional-whiplash. What a jerk! I will get him back, and I am open to suggestions. I was thinking about pretending to burn his Giants Willie Mays jersey, but I have a feeling that could end in divorce (for those of you who don’t know, I only have one legitimate competitor over Bookie’s heart; the SF Giants, and sometimes I feel like they are winning).

After my ring was retrieved, and I was done sobbing uncontrollably (which took a solid 5 minutes), we decided to go to the Grand Mosque.

Unfortunately, this is the extent of the Mosque we were able to see. When we got to the entrance, they told us that is was closed due to “maintenance”… weird. We were really disappointed because I was really looking forward to visiting a Mosque in every country we went to. We packed the kids in the car, and drove to the exit. It was closed. The entire area was locked down… WEIRD. As we were sitting in the car waiting for the police to let people go, Bookie and I started to notice an increase in police presence and the police cars were armed with mounted guns…WEIRD! Seeing this made Bookie and I a little nervous. Bookie positioned the vehicle near and a direct path to the police, and after about 30–45 minutes the police reopened the exit, and we were off. About 5 minutes later Bookie was able to get in-touch with someone from the embassy about what we had just seen, and it turns out good ol’ Joe Biden was in town. I guess great minds think alike because he decided to go to the Grand Mosque at the EXACT same time we wanted to go, except he shut the place down (Thanks Joe).

By the time the Mosque re-opened, we needed to get the kids back to the hotel for food and naps. We had a big, fun night planned for the boys, but before we did all that we had a very special birthday to celebrate. HAPPY BIRTHDAY BOOKIE!!!!

After a brief, calm birthday recognition (celebrating a birthday, out of a hotel, with an insane schedule, isn’t really feasible, but I tried) we got the boys to sleep.

Our big surprise for the boys was Dune Bashing. We were picked up at our hotel in a Land Cruiser, and we were driven out to the dessert. Our driver met up with about 10 other Land Cruisers, and then the adventure began.

You see these beautiful dunes?

Well, Dune Bashing is getting in a 4x4 and driving up and down these dunes. It was so fun, and slightly terrifying in such an exciting way. There we times when we sliding down the sand sideways, and stopped at steeper than 45 degrees. The driver was taking turns so sharply that sand was flying up higher than the truck. It reminded me of driving too quickly through a puddle and having water splash on the windshield, except it was sand.

The entire time the boys were giggling, and screaming. They loved it! If you ask Mason what his favorite part of the trip was, he will still say DUNE BASHING! While we were in the car, Mason was yelling, “Look guys, we are bashing some dunes!”. It was so fun.

After 20 minutes of dune bashing, we stopped at a small camel farm. This was Bookie’s first camel farm experience, and I think he loved it just as much as the boys did!

So, maybe I have two competitors. This camel, AND the Giants (just in case you all didn’t notice, he is wearing a Giants collared shirt…)

After Bookie made-out with the camel, we got back into the truck and went to a bedouin camp. At the camp we did…

CAMEL RIDING!

SAND SURFING!

Yes, I took the boys with me! The last run I was able to get Mason to come too!

HENNA!!!!

They actually stayed still the 30 minutes it took for the henna to dry! I was impressed.

There was also a belly dancer (which the boys enjoyed a little too much for my taste… and by boys I mean Bookie too!). We had such a great night. HAPPY BIRTHDAY BOOKIE!

Day 17: It’s a Fog
 I am going to admit that today wasn’t my best day. I didn’t know that throughout our trip Bookie had been talking to the couple who were keeping Willie (our dog), about Willie needing a new home. He was carrying the burden of finding a place for our dog because he didn’t want to ruin my trip. This morning, he told me how badly we needed to find something. I love my dog, and as much as I talk about how dumb he is, and making dog soup for lunch, I really miss him.

I started stressing out about it, and the day became an entire fog. All I could think about was how are we going to find him a new home when we are halfway across the world from almost everyone we know. I don’t want to get too much into my rage, sadness, disappointment and stress about the situation, but it sucked. I reached out to friends via Facebook, and I am so thankful for everyone who tried to help. The simple share of my post made me feel like people cared about the terrible position we were in. Thank you so much!

I am happy to announce that we have solved the problem, and Willie is staying with my parents until the new house is ready for him. Thank you. Thank you! Thank you!!! to everyone who helped, and a special thank you to Zach, Jezzi, Nico, my parents, and my in-laws for stepping up and helping us.

As far as Abu Dhabi, we went to Heritage Village, and learned about historical UAE. The boys and Bookie really seemed to enjoy it!

I feel really guilty that I was not as engaging that day as I should have been. I was just so pre-occupied, and it was very selfish. The good news is that my selfishness only lasted 24 hours. The next day I was able to balance my emotions better.

Day 18: Five Boys, One Hotel
 The previous night I met a few of Bookie’s peers. One of them had his family in the UAE as well, so after some last minute coordination, the wives decided to spend the day together while our husbands were at the Embassy. They are currently living in Kuwait, where alcohol is prohibited, so I lured her to our hotel with promises of pools, beaches, swim-up bars, and KIDS CLUB (an awesome area where you literally drop your kids off to play with hotel toys. It is a built-in hotel babysitter). Apparently, Mother Nature had some other plans (that bitch).

It rarely rains in the Gulf, but some how the only nice day we had in Abu Dhabi was when we were at the waterpark, and even then it was overcast. This is very unusual, but even more unusual is the storm that hit today. It was intense. When Courtney, and her two boys got to our hotel we allowed them to get to know each other, and once the ice was broken we took them directly to the Kids Club (I mean, we had drinking to do, and we didn’t need snot nosed kids getting in our way). We kept our babies with us (Liam and Austin were too young for the Kids Club). As we were working on our first round of mimosas, it quickly got dark, then the wind started up. Within two minutes of that, the wind started blowing so hard that staying outside wasn’t an option anymore. The crazy wind was blowing all the pool furniture around. The storm arrived so quickly and hit so hard that I was taken off guard. Between the, “OMG it is windy” reaction, and the, “lets get inside” thought, it started pouring. I am talking about POURING! Buckets of water! It was intense.

The storm was so terrible that it shutdown the pool, flooded the Kids Club, and destroyed all hopes of drinking without our snot-nosed kids! Oh Mother Nature, WHYYYY?? This storm was so bad that it shutdown roads, blew over trees (Bookie saw a car or two with a tree on top of them), and caused major traffic jams (not to mention the death it brought to Oman, the wadis flooded and swept away a few unlucky people). Anyway, because of Mother Nature’s bitchiness we had the fun experience of having 5 boys locked up in one hotel room. It was… great… (joking). It really wasn’t that bad. We ate lunch, and then put the boys down for a nap. Three of the five actually napped (which was a victory in my eyes considering they all slept in one room), and the older two played nicely together with their bothers were sleeping. Although, Dylan did fall asleep…on Hunter! It was adorable!

Day 19: Back to Muscat (AKA The Trip from Hell)
 It is now time to get back to Oman. Our trip in the Emirates was fun, but we were ready to leave! The car ride from Abu Dhabi to Muscat is a 4.5 hour drive… at least that is what it is supposed to be. HA HA HA This is how the Odyssey unfolded: First, we couldn’t find a gas station when we were in desperate need (like driving around for a while with 0 KM till empty… it was dire). Then, we got to the border-crossing, and it was closed because of an accident that occurred not 30 minutes prior to our arrival (it was a two hour trip to the border crossing). They rerouted us. THEN, we got to a second border-crossing, and after waiting in line (because of traffic) for 30 minutes they informed us that it was a GCC only crossing (meaning only people born in Gulf Countries have access). We tried using our Bahrain (a Gulf country) residents card, our diplomatic passports, and our screaming children as leverage, but they just laughed us out of there. THEN!!! we found a third border-crossing 45 minutes in the opposite direction that we needed to go. We were able to get across, but there was something wrong with our Visas, and we needed to fill out paperwork for all 5 of us. It was a mess! This 4.5 hour drive took us 9 hours… 9 HOURS!!!! N-I-N-E flippin’ hours. Surprisingly enough, the boys were great. There were off and on dance parties, jokes, recounting of the trip, and Hunter and Mason’s first chapter book., which was called, “Ook and Gluck, Kung-Foo Cavemen from the Future”, and it was as ridiculous as it sounds. It was written by the same author as, “The Adventure of Captain Underpants” (which I bought for them, and it is currently being read during bedtime).

Once we got into Muscat, we stayed with the same family I mentioned in the past post. Dom and Sarah were nice enough to supply ample alcohol to drink the 9 hour trip away. We had a great night, and drank entirely too much!

Day 20: Home Sweet Home
 We woke up, let the kids play with their new friends, and unwind. It was a fun, hectic, eventful 20 days, and we loved (almost) everything about it. At night we hopped on an airplane and one hour later we were back in Bahrain. I have to admit, the minute we got back I was ready to go on our next trip. Where will it be? You will have to wait and see, but it will be an exciting one!

P.S. I need to retract a statement I made in my previous post (The one titled, “Oh My, Dubai”). I incorrectly stated Thomas and Diem love Dubai, and I have an obligation to inform you that I was wrong. I would like to formally apologize to my big brother and sister for that, and beg that they do not sue me for libel. I have also reprimanded my fact-checker (Bookie) for his egregious error. That is all!


Originally published at genestfamilytravels.svbtle.com.

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