Driving from Abu Dhabi to Dubai with Zeb and Chanel

Scrambled eggs, variety of melon, sweet rolls and hot tea started our day.   Southern Sun Hotel in Abu Dhabi treated us to wonderful breakfast buffets each morning.   And we appreciated it.   Our suitcases have been collected and loaded on our bus.   Driving along the coast toward Dubai, we are reminded that Abu Dhabi planted thousand of palm trees, using hoses and pipes for irrigation.   Crossing into Dubai, we notice that Dubai did not plant trees.   This is a cool, overcast, windy day in mid February.   The wind is fairly strong, creating a small sandstorm.

Entering Dubai. Small sand storm and overcast day.  Reflections through bus window.

Visibility is very low; the Persian Gulf is barely visible from our bus.   Conditions do not change, unfortunately.   Our first glimpse of Dubai, even through haze, sand and light drizzle, still impresses.

Dubai. Impresses even through haze

We head to Palm Jumierah, or Palm Island.   This island, made of sand and rock, no concrete or steel, is the largest man made island.  This island was completed in 5 years and was a major engineering project.   Dubai became rich through oil, but that oil is expected to be gone by 2020.   The Sheikh, also the Emir of Dubai, wanted Dubai to be a world tourist mecca and trade center.   A major problem for tourism was a limited amount of coastline.   Building islands gives Dubai more coastline.   Jumierah Island added 75 kilometers of coastline.   This island features retail areas, business office space, luxury waterfront residential homes and hotels, including the Atlantis Hotel.   Driving to the island, the bridge is the base of the palm trunk. Sadly, the drizzle is becoming heavier now and the visibility even less.

Imagine this on a clear day. Can only imagine.

We head to the Atlantis Mall.

Inside mall

This luxury mall features exclusive shopping and our some of our favorite rest stops, such as Cold Stone Creamery.   We enjoy their ice cream creations frequently.

In the mall

Reminding us that we are in the United Arab Emirates, we spot this sign.

Sign in mall

We were given tickets to the aquarium.

Ticket

Seems everyone is enjoying indoor activities on this drizzly day.  This is some of what we see inside.

So many fish

 

Zeb and Chanel admire fish

 

Not our favorite swimming companion

 

Cute, but deadly

 

Interesting

 

Beautiful colors

To build this island, a large breaker was needed to reduce the damage by the sea.   The environment of this area of the Persian Gulf is changing.   Divers regularly evaluate these changes.   New species of fish are now living in these waters and new reefs are forming. Leaving Palm Island, we imagine the inside of these fabulous buildings.

Palm Island

We hope you visit Palm Jumierah on a sunny day, but even on a drizzly day it is impressive.

Denver’s Downtown Aquarium

We went to the aquarium.

Going to the Aquarium

Going to the Aquarium

My humans told me the aquarium has many species of fish, otters, turtles, and many creatures that live in the sea.  I am so excited to go.  Through the glass, I will be able to see what the fish see under water.

Humans are always hungry, so first we go to the restaurant.  This is no ordinary restaurant.  From all tables and booths we see an aquarium, built just for the restaurant.  Hundreds of fish swim constantly.  Homer, my favorite grouper, swims and then stops and stares at me.

My friend, Homer the grouper

My friend, Homer the grouper

Fascinating, but a little creepy.  My family laughs and thinks he is so cute.  Guess he is.

Waldo is a bright green eel.

Waldo the eel swimming with water bubbles

Waldo the eel swimming with water bubbles

He seems to stay in a certain area of the aquarium.  He is by the kid’s party area and sometimes swims closer to our booth.  He is long with no fins and glides through the water.  Waldo is my favorite because green is one of my favorite colors.

This restaurant specializes in seafood.  I think that is strange.  We come to see fish and they want us to eat fish.  The food was very good.  My humans stayed in the restaurant a long time eating, laughing and watching the fish.  After they ate, we walked around the dining area to see other fish in the dining room aquarium. IMG_3720 You can go to the restaurant without paying to go to the aquarium.  Maybe we will stop there for lunch some day.  This was a happy place for me.

Leaving the restaurant, we went through the gift shop and then bought tickets for the aquarium.  There are so many exhibits, each with an aquarium and lots of sea creatures.  My mom and Soapy’s mom loved the small otters.  We saw the desert exhibit.  Complete with rattlesnakes.  The snake’s head was actually kind of cute, especially since he was behind the glass and could not touch us.

This rattlesnake is watching me watch him

This rattlesnake is watching me watch him

I do not want a snake to bite me.

In the rainforest exhibit we saw piranhas.  Lots of them.  They can eat a cow really fast.  Again, thankful for the glass separating us.  We saw starfish, more eels, gray and silver fish, fish with yellow tails, big fish, small fish and other sea creatures.

One exhibit showed how flash floods happen.  They occur very fast during periods of heavy rains.  The water rushes out of the mountains so fast and so strong, the water carries everything and everybody away.  Flash floods can carry cars, animals and people.  People die in these floods, so be careful during heavy rains in the mountains.  Climb high, you cannot run or drive fast enough.  And, take your duck to safety also.  We cannot swim fast enough to escape.

Just when I, Zeb the duck, thought I had seen about every fish, we came to an exhibit, under renovation, but with a tiger in the cage.  Tigers in the aquarium???  My mom loved it.  She thinks tigers are fascinating animals.  Soon we came to a huge aquarium with the sharks.

Sharks!!

Sharks!!

Wow!  These guys are big.  We stayed there awhile listening to the shark information and just watching these huge animals.  Sharks were swimming in the ocean when dinosaurs walked on the earth.

At the end of our aquarium explorations, several stingray were in a shallow pool

Stingray

Stingray

and we could touch them.  What a fun finale.

Resting after exploring the aquarium

Resting after exploring the aquarium

To learn more visit www.aquariumrestaurants.com   I will look for you next time I visit Denver’s Downtown Aquarium.