Thursday, February 21, 2013

Round and Round the Zabeel Park...

About once a month we visit the neighboring city of Dubai. It's about a 2 hour drive with lots of desert to look at, 120-140 kilometer per hour speed limits, on a 4 lane road with constantly weaving traffic. I do not envy Ben's preference to drive! Dubai, once we get there is in a tumultuous state of road construction, but will be very nice when finished.

Parks in the Emirates are a wonderful thing to experience this time of year, as the average temperatures have been in the  range of the beautiful early spring temperatures of the States. Parks are also ranging in size from small ungated swing sets to humongous landscaped areas with multiple entrances with a fee. We were invited to visit a park in Dubai that had at least 6 separate entrances. Another couple who lives in Dubai went with us, and we had a map, so we felt prepared. We were supposed to find the 5th gate and meet our friends close to the entrance. So we drove there with a map, and found the gate... but there was no obvious way to get the car to the gate! We looped around twice, and finally had to ask a park maintenance truck guy how to get there. He tried to explain in limited English, then gave up and told us to follow him. Then, the guy who works at the park, also went the obvious way and couldn't enter either... so we followed him around again and finally, finally found the entrance. Then we got a call: they had moved to gate 1.  Mercifully,  instead of looping around for another hour, our friend just drove over and guided us there.

Once inside, though, it was a huge place full of families picnicking, kids riding 4 wheeled bicycles and lots of other things. Supposedly this park has a ton of things, according to this website with information about it:

"The main features include a 45-metre high Panoramic Tower, Technology Zone that comprises technological interactive displays, Space Maze, which is an electronic maze, Sports Area including sports courts and clubhouse, Barcode Garden, which includes hi-tech displays and water features, and Alternative Energy Zone featuring interactive displays on alternative energy such as solar, wind, geo-thermal tidal, etc. The park also consists of a lake provided with water cascades, wave machine, geyser, boat hiring, laser projection on water screen in the lake, and a lakeside restaurant, and skate park." Other features include the Mega Bowl amphitheatre with a seating capacity of 2,000, for group wedding parties, and services required for different types of performances; Imax Theatre with a seating capacity of 450, associated with retail and food and beverages facilities; BMX trail, adventure play area, and adventure golf; function plaza for special occasions such as launching a new product, small special markets and parties; as well as road train, water gardens and water features, retail and food and beverages outlets, exhibition building, coffee shop and other amenity buildings."

I think my favorite part, though, was the time spent in the car with friends as we were trying to find the place and then with the friends we met at the park. Ben's quote from Spain was echoed several times through this trip as well: "At least we're all together!"

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