After tasting Lebanese, Chinese, Indian, and various other Middle eastern foods in Dubai, it was time for a different range of culinary experiences in Abu Dhabi and I had only two days to try them out.
On my first morning we decided to take it easy and have a leisurely start to the day, so our first stop at the Emirates Palace Hotel was close to lunch time. We wandered through the luxurious interior of the hotel and then went out to wander through the grounds.
By lunch time we decided to sample some of the high tea items on the menu at Le Cafe, one of the coffee shops in the lobby of the hotel.
An early High Tea at the Le Cafe in the Emirates Palace Hotel
As we toured around the city of Dubai, my friend told me that there were excellent examples of cuisine, both Middle Eastern and International, to be found here. We were determined to sample as many as possible different cuisines in the limited time we had. The three restaurants I visited in Dubai were Wafi Gourmet (featuring Lebanese cuisine) in Dubai Mall, Zheng He's Restaurant featuring Chinese fusion cuisine in Madinat Jumeirah and Khan al Murjan restaurant (featuring Egyptian, Lebanese, Moroccan and Turkish cuisine) at Wafi mall.
Wafi Gourmet at Dubai Mall
This meal was with our group of 7 DancersAtSea cruisers who took an afternoon tour with a guide from Arabian Adventures. We had dinner at Wafi Gourmet at the Dubai Mall opposite the spectacular Dubai Fountain.
On my second day in Dubai, I was lucky to enjoy being shown around the city by my friend Laila who lives in Abu Dhabi and came to Dubai to take me to Abu Dhabi for a visit with her family. Our plan for the day in Dubai was to spend some time in the Jumeirah area and in the afternoon to visit the Gold and Spice Souks in the older part of the city.
The Madinat Jumeirah Resort is a spectacular resort location which features three hotels, Mina A' Salaam (Harbour of Peace), Al Qasr (The Palace) Hotel and Dar Al Masjaf with rooms arranged like courtyard houses.
We spent some time wandering around the Madinat Jumeirah Souk. I found some bracelets and a small jeweled camel to buy for my grand-daughter.
The Abra (water taxi) tours through the waterways of Madinat Jumeirah are 20 minute rides that leave every 20 minutes from the Souk Abra stations near the restaurants of Toscana and Barzar.
It was scorchingly hot which gave us a great excuse to indulge in some ice-cream from the local vendor.
After 16 wonderful nights about the Queen Mary 2 on the Hong Kong to Dubai segment of the world cruise, we arrived in the port of Dubai early in the morning. A group of us from Dancers at Sea had booked a two day post-cruise stay in Dubai. The disembarkation and transfer to the Grand Hyatt Hotel was relaxed and easy, and by noon we were checked in and settled in our rooms.
The hotel is quite spectacular - towering ceilings, marble and gold everywhere. It was our first indication of the general design and architecture of the public buildings in Dubai. Even the giant malls are marble, glass and gold, with boutiques featuring all the big names in fashion, design, shoes, jewelery.
Cochin or Kochi, is a port city in the Arabian Sea, on the west coast of India in the state of Kerala. The name Kochi translates to "small lagoon" in Mayalam. Mayalam is the local language in Kerala, derived from Sanskrit and Tamil and is one of 22 official languages of India. It is one of the 85 related Dravidian languages, spoken by 215 million people. Amazing what one learns when going on a ballroom dance cruise!
Anyway I signed up for an excursion that featured two highlights - the Chinese Fishing Nets of Cochin, and an introductory demonstration of Kathakali (the classical dance drama of Kerala) and Kalaripayattu, the ancient martial art of Kerala. Check out the links below to my four YouTube videos of these highlights.
Between Hong Kong and Dubai, the QM2 docked at five ports. The first, Phu My in Vietnam, was the port for Ho Chi Minh city. Next was Laem Chabang, the port for Bangkok, and that was followed by a stop in Singapore where there was a major turnover of guests departing or boarding the ship. Between Singapore and Dubai there were only two stops on the 9 night segment; Phuket in Thailand and Cochin, India. On my previous South East Asia cruise, two of the ports of call were in Vietnam. While I really enjoyed the visit to Na Trang, a sleepy looking fishing village on the south centre region of Vietnam I was less enchanted with the visit to Ho Chi Min city (Saigon), the port of call on this current voyage, so on this cruise I decided to stay on board when in Phu My.
With this cruise covering 16 days, and ten of them being sea days, Robert, our dance instructor, had scheduled a series of dance workshops covering the gamut from waltz to west coast swing. Each workshop was supposed to last an hour but several times they were going so well that we ran over time. Because none of our group are beginners and we are all pretty much at a similar level, each session has been really enjoyable and we have been able to pick up new skills in each individual dance, while continuing to focus attention on posture, frame and movement.
Amazingly everyone turned up punctually for the second workshop at 9:30 am, even my cabin mate Linda, who is not known for coming to the dance workshops on these cruises. We joked that after a week of rooming together I might actually “sleep in” to 7 am and take a nap in the afternoon, while she might actually get up in time to attend all the workshops.
I thought that on this dance cruise I would experiment with the structure of the Travelblogue with respect to the Sipping and Supping aspect of my posts. Instead of interspersing the food talk and pictures with my dance and travel experiences, I plan to keep a Culinary Sampling of the meals, mainly dinner, aboard the Queen Mary 2 on this trip.
Since my firm resolution on this trip was not to gain a pound, and to lose inches by virtue of all the hip and core work I would be doing during my Dance Boot Camp, my culinary choices obviously represent a somewhat slanted view of the range of dishes provided at each meal - my sample is appetizer rich and dessert poor. But here goes:
With 10 days out of 16 at sea, we will have plenty of dance workshops. The first dance workshop was scheduled for 9:30 in the G32 Disco just behind the Queens Room Ballroom.
All 8 of us were there for the workshop, and Robert had also invited Horst, (one of the QM2 dance hosts, who is also a frequent DAS host) to join us. So for the first time in any of these workshops I have ever been at, there was a dance partner for each of the women. No complicated rotations were needed. It was great.
I don't know whether the information on the poster is still current but according to that write up, the QM 2 measured along the water is the world's largest ship. That is probably why they can have that great ballroom, the Queen's Room. Walking along the corridor from one end to the other certainly feels like quite a hike. Luckily our cabin is situated aft, so all the REALLY important places like the Britannia Restaurant and the ballroom are right below us. No hiking needed.Any way, excited as I was about the prospect of dancing nightly on it I was too tired to think about it by the time I got on board. As anticipated I was quite jet-lagged after the flight. Although one leaves Toronto at 10 am EST and arrives in Hong Kong at 1:30 PM of the following day, theoretically having slept though the night, the reality is that the fifteen hour flight ends at 1 AM Eastern time. At least that is what the time is for your body’s internal clock. So I would have normally been asleep for only 2 hours. I had indulged in a glass of wine with my meal and felt drowsy for all of twenty minutes but though I tried to sleep – it was to no avail.