So we made it through our first year in Saudi, though it was far from difficult. We had, overall, a wonderful first year in KSA where we love our apartment and love where we work. Saudi has been a pretty easy transition to going back abroad though we were confident we would’ve done fine no matter where we went.
All of that said, as teachers we still were very ready for the end of the school year. You can be a wonderful teacher and still be absolutely ready for a break. This year was no exception, especially for me as I spent the first part of the year with my students virtually, with a few days of them coming onto campus, then not, then campus, then not. That, combined with an extra week off thrown into the end of Ramadan (not complaining, it simply changed our lesson plans considerably) along with my finally getting Covid, made for a busy year and a somewhat chaotic end so before we kicked off our end of year Euro tour, we headed down for a few days of rest and relaxation in Dubai.
As always, Dubai was amazing, but this time we decided to go a bit more resort like and stayed out on the Palm. If you’re unfamiliar with the Palm, it’s an area of Dubai that is all man-made in the shape of a palm tree with different fronds where resorts, restaurants, apartments, etc., are.
We chose to stay at the Aloft Palm Jumeirah, which was at the tail end of the Palm, but still quite lovely. It had a great pool (though it was soooooo hot out in Dubai), an amazing Mexican restaurant (Luchador), and a nice little bar with shisha. Most of our time there was spent lounging by the pool or at the bar, but we did venture out for a few planned events.
First, we returned to the Siddhartha Lounge by Buddha Bar. This lounge/restaurant has great food, wine, and shisha and a pretty incredible view over the harbor. But, we’ve written about them before so we’ll move on. We also went to one of our favorite restaurants and likely our favorite chain in the world – Din Tai Fung. This place always lives up to what it is no matter where in the world you are and even though there was no pork, it continue to be absolutely amazing. Their shumai and soup dumplings are just out of this world. They have locations around the world and if you’ve never been, we highly recommend it.
Brunch – this was one of the main reasons we went to Dubai. We’d been to brunch before, but decided to try a new place this time – Maiden Shanghai at the Five Palms Resort. Their Naughty Noodles lunch offers amazing Chinese food and some fabulous drinks (including their signature Naugthy Noodle, which is served in a Chinese takeout container).
The food and drinks were amazing, but what really stole the show was the atmosphere. There were several large groups there (I’d say of at least 15-20 people, one of which was either an all-male birthday or bachelor party) and a few smaller groups like ourselves. Anyways, by the time the food ended, the party started. Tables were moved, shots were doled out by the staff, a pseudo-foam machine would go off, everyone was dancing, conga lines and all otter crazy things. It was the most amazing brunch we’re ever been to and we cannot wait to do it again. It was completely unconventional and not at all what we expected, but it was better than what we’d hoped for.
We spent the next day lounging at the hotel as it was our day to leave, though our flight left at midnight. We lounged by the pool, smoked a bit more shisha and went back to Luchador for fish tacos, nachos (some of the best we’ve had) and some Angry Mules – a spicier Mexican-esque take on the Moscow Mule that adds jalapeño (it’s fantastic).
The time finally came and we ended up at the airport a bit early so we could watch the Formula 1 race in Canada (a better race than what we’d seen in Azerbaijan) before chilling in the Skyteam Lounge and catching our flight to Vienna.
Stay tuned for a few Europe posts coming up!