Sunday, December 10, 2017

Dubai Winter Trip

Once we realized we were going to have to leave Baku before December 1 because of residency expirations, we were able to coordinate my mom's visit to join us in Dubai and head back to the US from there.

It was great having her with us for the first week we were in Dubai since Jason was working the whole time we were there. We had a good mix of hanging out and exploring some of the city. The weather was great and we enjoyed the time, but my waistline couldn't handle anymore time in Dubai after about a week and a half (there's lots of American restaurants and junk food-as you'll see below-and we enjoyed indulging in PF Changs, Cheesecake Factory, Rainforest Cafe, and Dunkin Donuts to name a few.)

We headed to the Azerbaijan embassy our first day in order to get our paperwork turned in for processing. Afterwards I visited a friend from Baku who happened to be stuck in the hospital there. That evening we visited the Dubai Garden Glow. We arrived a little before dusk, which was perfect for walking through the dinosaur portion, and then enjoyed the lights before heading back to our hotel.



One of the reasons we were able to go to Dubai for visas was also to get Olivia's allergy testing done. They don't have it in Baku and the doctors there suggested we go to Dubai for skin allergy testing. Y'all - that was not fun to watch and obviously painful for Olivia. She did so good and the nurse said she was one of the best patients they'd had. We got some good news as well: Olivia can start having small doses of egg in cooked foods to slowly introduce her to them as she's starting to outgrow the allergy. She's still allergic to nuts, but we discovered which ones: peanuts and cashews. She's able to have hazelnuts and almonds so I'm researching to see if there's any cross-contamination and if not then bring on the nutella and almond butter!

We visited the beach and a splash pad two of the days we were in Dubai, but I didn't capture any pictures since I didn't want my phone to get wet or sandy. We did however, have thoroughly exhausted girls both days. :-)

Part of the reason our trip to Dubai was so long is that we there were two holidays that popped up before and after the weekend meaning the embassy would be closed. One of those days we headed to Mushrif Park and I'm glad we arrived early because when we went to leave the park was packed. I mean double parking everywhere and we were lucky to get out. I *think* maybe there was a fireworks show or something to celebrate the 46th National UAE Day. The park was amazing and I would highly recommend packing a picnic lunch for the day and heading here. We took a train ride right before we left and saw at least two or three other playgrounds and a splash pad there.

Jason did take Saturday and Sunday off for the weekend and one of those days we headed to Legoland. There's still quite a bit that the girls are too short to ride or do, but give them a set of Legos and a playground and they are content.

Monday, December 4th was definitely our least favorite day. Grandma had to go home. :-( Expat goodbyes are a whole different kind of horrible and since we don't have a next trip to the US planned it was not easy. I tried to coordinate pouty faces with the girls to get Grandma to stay, but it was a no go. :-/ Madi sulked around the hotel room the rest of the day and I visited a small park close to our hotel to burn some of the twins' energy.

The following day we'd been told our visas would be ready so Jason headed to the embassy to pick them up. Unfortunately all but mine were ready because there had been an issue of misplacing my paperwork and never turning it in to the ministry. That extended our trip to Friday and added a few more kilos to my total binge eating weight gain unfortunately.

On Wednesday I was struggling to figure out something to do with the girls that wasn't ridiculously expensive or hadn't been done the past couple of days (like the park). I recalled seeing a play place on the map across from our hotel. It was a lifesaver. If I had discovered it earlier I guarantee I'd have spent every day there. It was called Funky Monkey. The staff was amazing with the girls, there was free wifi, and they didn't make me trash my Starbucks upon entry. We literally spent seven hours there and I had to bribe them with ice cream. Why is there only one picture of this magical place? Because I spent all my time reading and catching up on emails while the three of them played contently on slides, tunnels, trampolines, large legos, coloring, and glitter glue snowmen crafts.

We spent our last day praying my visa would be ready (it was!) and trying to get suitcases organized for flying home the following day. We went to dinner at The Sugar Factory (a last indulgent meal before heading back home) and caught the Dubai Fountain Show from our hotel balcony.

It was a nice (albeit slightly long) trip to Dubai, but we are ready for a fun last week of school and time with friends before the holiday break!

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