Afternoon Tea at the Burj Al Arab

Sunset on Burj

We headed back to our hotel, got ourselves ready and got a car to…the Burj Al Arab! It was awesome! We had spoken to the concierge at reception about visiting there, and they told us about the afternoon tea options. We booked up earlier that day and now was the time to go! We crossed the private bridge and pulled up outside, greeted by the male and female attendants. It really was spectacular. We travelled up the escalators that were lined with marine fish tanks and got to the top where there was a really impressive fountain. We looked around for a while and then took our seats for the fantastic afternoon tea.

Burj Al Arab lobby 21

Afternoon tea seems a bit misleading…this was not sandwiches and scones. This was a seven-course feast for the senses and it was absolutely spectacular. We had opted for the alcohol-free option, so instead started the tea with the most amazing prune juice.

Afternoon Tea at the Burj 1 - Copy

After this followed a course of sandwiches, of scones, beef and pureed potato(!), sweetmeats – all were amazing! Not only this, you get a spectacular view. We opted for the lower down restaurant, overlooking the private bridge and over to the Jumeriah Beach Hotel. It was really beautiful, and the staff were so lovely.

Burj Al Arab Lobby

This was pretty pricey, the equivalent of around £95 each, but honestly – it was definitely worth it. The food and drink was exquisite, the surroundings amazing and really? When else are you going to go into a 7 star hotel in your life? Its such an iconic building, and I was so happy that I got to go in and see what it was like.

Burj Al Arab foyer

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Things people don’t understand unless they wear contact lenses…

I’ve had many conversations with people who have perfect vision about contact lenses and there is so much of this world that they just do not understand. And lucky for them… about contact lenses and there is so much of this world that they just do not understand…

Taking off make-up is a nightmare.

You have to take your contact lenses out first, or you’ll scrub them a) out b) to the back of your eyeball if you attempt to rub your mascara or eyeshadow off whilst wearing them. So you have to try and remove them first. Good luck. The amount of mascara some of us wear means getting past our almost solid eyelashes to fish out this little disc of vision. On top of this, if you don’t wear dailies – you’ve got to get all the residual make-up off the aforementioned lens before storing it away for an overnight soak.

Putting them in water seems like a good idea

I have done this on occasion – particularly if I’m somewhere where I know I need to be able to drive myself home the next day (or frankly make it home under my own steam using any other method of transport other than being delivered back to my door – yes, I am that blind). However, my friends – a married couple who are an optician and ophthalmologist respectively – recoiled in horror when I told them this. Apparently there is some horrific water-borne bug that if it gets trapped between your eye and lens…well, bad things happen.

Falling asleep watching with your lenses in is AGONY

You’re curled up watching a movie, your eyes get heavy, you wake up half an hour later feeling like the someone has put glue on your eyes and set it with a heat gun. All the moisture from your eyes are gone and your lenses are firmly bonded with the top layer of your eyeball. Cue trying to remove them without ripping off the top layer of your cornea…

Swimming is terrifying

Ever seen those people who seem frightened of water touching their face? Well, chances are, they wear contact lenses. Having your contact lens washed out of your eyes is terrifying for three reasons – 1) the general chlorine mixed with contact lens drama is bad enough 2) if your lens does get washed away – you can LITERALLY SEE NOTHING 3) Scary microbes that live in water are SO BAD for your eyes, you should avoid them at all costs.

Uncontrollable winking

This is often seen in offices, coffee shops, in the street – basically anywhere. A little bit of insight (pun, ha!) – this is someone who has something on their lens. Whether its an eyelash, a blob of mascara, a hair or some random airborne item – it is now lodged on their lens and short of taking the lens out, the second best option is to blink your eye rapidly hoping to dislodge it. Also, it hurts like a MOFO so it’s literally impossible not to wink crazily, usually whilst water is pouring out of your eyes…

Unplanned night activities are stressful

Now this sounds rude, but not in that way – although that way also applies here. Many a night I’ve been out, or over at a friends and they say ‘oh, just stay at mine tonight’. This drives fear into my heart. I haven’t got my lenses case or my glasses! I panic that I’ll be blind come morning if I don’t have the appropriate place to store my lenses and so inevitably have to make excuses that I have to go home unless I’m sober and have my car in which case I can hop into my car, drive all the way home, pick up my eye-related paraphernalia and head on back to the party / outing / meal that I was at safe in the knowledge that I have my lenses stuff with me and now the world is my oyster!!

Only putting one in and trying to make it through the day makes you look like a psycho

We’ve all been there. You’ve either dropped or damaged a lens but either don’t want to wear your glasses (or if you’re me – have no idea where your glasses are). This results in winging it with just the one and what ensues is the inevitable inadvertent winking at individuals whilst trying to focus your good eye on something, a constant battle to try and focus both eyes at the same time and a splitting headache.

You can lose a lens in the back of our eyeball but it will not end up in your brain

A friend of mine’s mum was an optician and I remember my friend telling me how a customer came in because he had lost his lenses, and her mum proceeded to fish around 3 lenses out of each eye that had got lost in the void somewhere…how? I do not know.

Dubai

Dubai was never somewhere I had ever thought of visiting, until I met my now-husband. Growing up he’d spent up to 6 weeks of the year in Dubai where his dad often visited for work, and it became a bit of a family tradition for them. (Note, on my family holidays we went to visit my Gran in Scotland, or in our caravan to France, or to Center Parcs or bizarrely named holidays parks like Sandy Balls…yes, really!)

However, he was always keen to return and I, too, quite fancied seeing this place that is growing in popularity, and where a lot of people I had known from school had moved to and now lived and worked.

View from our room

Not long after my husband lost his dad, and very soon after we got engaged (I unknowingly booked it the day before he proposed!), we booked to go on a dream trip. Two nights in Dubai, two nights in Bangkok and 10 nights in Koh Samui, an island off the coast of mainland Thailand.

Hotel

We booked to stay in the hotel in Dubai where my husband stayed as a child with his family, Le Royal Meridien on Jumeriah Beach. Before going, I decided to try my luck via twitter with Le Royal Meridien, to see whether we could get a room similar to those he used to stay in with his family, or even just an acknowledgement from the management in memory of his dad (he had visited this hotel more than 20 times as a child, staying for long periods at a time). They were great! I gave them my husband’s name and our arrival date and they said they’d see what they could do. On arrival, we were upgraded to a Royal Club room in a separate section of the hotel. It was huge and really plush.

Room upgrade

We did notice though that when we opened the balcony door, the heat was so intense all the glass and mirrors in the room steamed up. I found taking pictures a challenge too with the lens steaming up with the change in temperature from the cold air-conditioned room, to the humid outdoors that was hitting 40c by 11am!

We got ourselves ready and went downstairs to go to the pool and sunbathe for a little while. We found a spot and lay down…and got back up pretty sharpish. The heat was so intense and neither of us thought we’d be able to sit out for long. We got into the pool and swam around for a while (mostly cooling off!) and then went to the swim up bar and ordered some smoothies. We decided to give the beach a go, and thought we could perhaps do a little snorkelling off the beach…OH MY LIFE. The sand was absolutely excruciatingly hot. We both had flip flops and the sand was so fluffy that even with shoes on, the sand would scorch your feet. Since my husband last visited they had moved the beach (this is Dubai after all!) and made it a lot longer – so a much longer walk down from the path across the sand to the water. We ended up sprinting but we genuinely did both burn our feet.

We ran into the water…such a strange feeling…the water was hot! It was like lying in a bath. A lot of the time you get in the water to refresh but this felt really weird to be in the sea when its hot! Regardless of this, we swam around and enjoyed ourselves. We were sweeping the sea floor with our hands absent mindedly while chatting when my husband produced a dried starfish! He had scooped it up!

After a while we braved the run back to the walkway across the beach, and then went over to where the boat shack was. We saw that there was a tour of Dubai by water later that afternoon, something my husband had been really keen to do when we were there. We booked on and went back to the room to get ourselves ready.

Later that afternoon we wandered down with about 8 other people and set off on our boat trip. The boat trip was great as you got to see a lot but in the shade of the boat with the cool sea air on you. It travelled around the Palm and over to the Atlantis, then round to the Burj al Arab. We got some great shots of this and the Jumeriah Beach Hotel, and then we were taken past the Sheikh’s yacht parked on his private island – absolutely huge! We then glided through the marina and back to our hotel. The trip was great, and gave you a great perspective of Dubai from the water.

We relaxed and had dinner in the hotel that night – buffet style but absolutely incredible!

Atlantis, The Palm

The next morning we were up early and had breakfast at the hotel – again, absolutely delicious! We then got a cab to a local mall and wandered around for a while. The highlight was the macaroons we bought (divine!). We then got another taxi up to the Atlantis on the Palm.

DubaiThis hotel is incredible – featuring a full-size aquarium within it that you can visit, but throughout the hotel there are walls of glass where you can see the marine life passing by.

There are long shopping arcades and then a part closed off to the public for guests only. I wasn’t really paying attention but my husband led me towards it and the security guard let us through! We went out the poolside and had a quick look around, and up at the impressive building, then went back in.

Dubai

We head back to our hotel, got ourselves ready and got a car to…the Burj Al Arab for Afternoon Tea (see post). As the sun was setting, we came out of the Burj Al Arab and walked across the private bridge to the Jumeriah Beach Hotel (shaped like a wave). It was really nice inside, but for my husband who’d visited so many times before, he was a little disappointed – more about the lack of spectacle, which he felt it used to have.

DubaiWe went back to our hotel and packed our bags, ready for our next leg of our Far Eastern Adventure, Bangkok!

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