There’s a huge Universal Studios gateway and façade here that’s not been touched in a long time, as far as I can tell. Always dark at night. But recently, a few weeks ago, there were lights on behind it, huge, bigger-than-football-stadium-lights-on-Saturday-night bright, too. I was thinking “Hmm….. wonder if Universal is actually going to *do* something with that project??
A week or so ago, my friend Koral and I were on the way back from some exploring and noticed what looked like thatched roofs or small huts or a village being built….. we thought “Cool! Something new to explore!” and promptly forgot about it. Then TBG and I were driving past the location, and I noticed a small sign along the road with the Disney font used to spell out “Miracle Garden” – whooo hoooo!
Something to feed my Disney addiction here, right? Well…. Not exactly……
There was an article in February 20th issue of the Gulf News paper which provided an excellent commentary, but little means to locate the facility. According to that article it opened on February 14th, and was free to the public to visit until 20 February. Pictures taken by the paper’s photographer reminded me a LOT of the Paradise Gardens that used to be at Al Ain – I’d been looking forward to visiting them, but found out that they were closed indefinitely, with no info as to why or when they might reopen and no response to emails asking about it. The gardens looked similar good reason, it appears that the Al Ain design company is also responsible for these gardens! So, no travel to visit the same quality!
We started off to visit this place, and trying to figure out how to get into it was a challenge. It was tough to find, down a road that appeared to be to nowhere, but following signs that had us driving against the arrows…. Past tall empty lonesome-looking buildings under construction…. Following round-a-bouts that have no exits, it was just weird.
We managed to find the entrance to this place, well, the parking lot, but getting *into* it was a puzzle – there are two very abrupt entrance points – or maybe one’s an entrance and one’s an exit? Anyhow, the approach to the gate that we entered (apparently it was the back gate) was flanked by these HUGE flower pots and giant lighted white plastic sculpture things…. Interesting. And I do mean *huge* flowerpots!
See? HUGE flowerpots!!
The little hut on the right it where the man takes your money, and gives you this ticket….. it is an Etrance Ticket. I know, it *says* 30AED, but you’ll only be charged 20AED. *shrug* I got nothing.
Inside, you’re greeted by a blazing collection of flowers – well a collection of COLORS…. As far as I could tell, there were only a couple different varieites of flowers that I noticed. But they were in a variety of colors. Quite lovely, and Dubai is doing an excellent job of “greening” the desert by using drip irrigation. And, as always, paying respect to the country’s leadership……
Oh! Something that was cool – the use of plastic water bottles to grow plants in vertical situations – I’ll try to separate out some of the photos here, it was an interesting use, and smart. Goodness knows there are a brazillion water bottles here!
Another interesting aspect of this display was the sheer number of men there – in yellow vests. I’m assuming that they were either grass-guards or flower-picking-guards. I didn’t notice any gardening efforts on their behalf, and they weren’t offering up information about what we were touring, so that’s all I can come up with. But honestly, there must have been 50+ in this small area, perhaps more. They were always backing away from us, or trying to hide behind a display, or twitching if we got too close to, or surely not, ON the grass.
There was a small tented snack-area in the back, it appeared that there were cold drinks in some kind of a cooler, and perhaps bags of snacks, like chips and such. There was a small group of young Asian women visiting, they were having fun taking photos and in general goofing off…. They saw the “frozen yogurt” machine, and pointed and said “two”. Shortly they were handed 2 cups of soft-serve frozen yogurt.
That first spoonful into their mouths was directly responsible for the smiles leaving their faces simultaneously, and the “oh my goodness, what did I just put in my mouth??” look appearing to replace the smiles.
They both looked at the person behind the counter and asked “what flavor is this??” The person behind the counter said “yogurt”. OK, are you getting what happened here? It was simply yogurt, frozen. No sugar, no sweeteners, no flavorings…. Just yogurt. Frozen.
There are prayer facilities here, as well as bathrooms for ablutions – the Islamic ritual of cleansing before prayers. Sadly, there was someone in the bathroom wash area facilities performing a pedicure of some sort which I found odd.
Oh, and as we passed under one of the final archways made of empty beverage bottles as holders, a couple was taking turns posing for photos – I offered to take their photo together, and as they left, we were remarking on the recycling effort and using the bottles to grow and maintain the moisture in the plant root areas – the gent said “It is a noble effort”…. And I couldn’ t help but think “Yes. Yes it is.”