Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

I wish all my loyal followers a very
Merry Christmas and a
Happy and Prosperous New Year in 2013!!!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Trip to Dubai and Kuwait - November 2012

In November I finally got moving again, so to speak!  The month started off with a short (3-day) trip to Bakersfield, California.  I flew out on Monday, Nov. 5 and returned home from Bakersfield on Wednesday, Nov. 7th.  Not much to report - - - I was very busy and had no time to snap pictures around the city.  Then came my trip overseas - finally!  In past years, I've was getting quite tired of having to take so many international trips.  This year, it has been the exact opposite: I've not been anywhere outside the USA since last November 2011.

Emirates 212: Houston to Dubai

I finally managed to fetch an upgrade from Business Class to a First Class "Suite" on Emirates!!  Very nice indeed!  A mini-bar, wide-screen TV, and doors!  The upgrade cost me 52,500 miles but what the heck.  I always wanted to try one of these plush seats and NOW was my chance.

Breakfast aboard EK 212

Rotana Jumeirah Beach - Dubai

I arrived in Dubai on Sunday evening, Nov. 18th.  I was so very tired but I had a nice room at the Rotana Jumeirah hotel.  All was well with the room but once again I was saddened to learn that the Rotana chain charges 95 Dirhams per 24-hours for Internet usage!  Too much!!  And definitely not business-user friendly.

A view of the Atlantis- The Palm hotel from my hotel. 

I was in Dubai for four days (Sunday evening, Nov. 18 to Thursday morning, Nov. 22) to participate in a SPE ATW conference.  All went well and my presentation was well received.

One of the activities planned for our conference was a visit to the Atlantis Palm hotel and a tour of the aquarium (Lost Chambers) at the hotel.  This was followed by dinner at the buffet restaurant.

My hotel is next to a street level mall/shopping area.  All apparently constructed in the last five years!  Amazing what a little oil money can do!!

A nice apartment building along the Jumeirah Beach street.  Wonder what the rents are like???

Dubai's airport has become very busy.  The problem is this translates into many flight delays - including my flight to Kuwait on Thursday morning (EK 855).  We arrived into Kuwait International Airport about 30 minutes late.

Arival at Kuwait International Airport.

On my first weekend in Kuwait, I visited the new "Grand Avenue" extension to the Avenues mall (now the largest mall in Kuwait).  This Grand Avenue is by itself so very huge and has so many fancy shops including the above Starbucks - perhaps the fanciest Starbucks I have ever seen anywhere in the whole wide world!!  Honest!!

A view of Grand Avenue: the newest part of the Avenues mall south of Kuwait City.

Look closely a THIS store.  I never expected to see something like this in a Middle East mall!!  I am certain there is nothing like this in any Saudi Arabian mall! 

During my stay in our camp in southern Kuwait, I had occasion to visit our medical clinic and made a stop at the pharmacy to pick up a few medications.  Could not resist taking a picture of this sign!!  Ladies - here is where you need to go!

On Saturday, Nov. 24 our company invited about three (3) busloads of US Army personnel to our company's camp located near the Saudi border.  The troops were assigned to various villas where they were treated to homemade Thangsgiving Day dinners.  I was invited to one villa where I had a most enjoyable meal and pleasant conversation with some of our country's finest troops.

My visit to Kwait went very fast and ended too soon.  I returned to Dubai on Friday, Nov. 30 (arriving one hour LATE!) and spent the night at the Intercontinental Festival City hotel

The new Emirates departure lounge at the Kuwait Airport.  This is much nicer (and a whole lot less crowded) than the "Pearl Lounge" - another Business Class lounge used by all the other airlines.

The flowers in the lobby of the Intercontinental Festival City Hotel in Dubai.

After checking into my room, I walked thru the Festival City mall which was suffering from a number of leaks caused by a sudden rainfall earlier that morning.  Apparently the buildings in Dubai and NOT waterproof! 

Next stop: dinner!!

The remains following my dinner at Romano's Macaroni Grill in the Festival City Mall.  I recommend the hammour - an excellent white fish found in the Arabian Gulf.

On Saturday, December 1, I flew home to Houston aboard EK 211 (one hour LATE!!).  My flight home lasted 15 hours and 50 minutes.