Tag Archives: Recreation

Smooched a Dolphin – and I liked it!

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What a sweetheart!

What a sweetheart!

Truly this was a once-in-a-lifetime thing for us….. it had been on my list of “wanna-do’s” for a long time – so we just did it!  Oh. My. Goodness.  If you EVER EVER EVER get the chance to go swim and play with dolphins, and there’s ANY way you can swing it, just do it.  Don’t fuss about the money, just do it.

At the Atlantis Palm, where my friend Koral and I had gone to the Lost Chambers Aquarium they offer a number of dolphin experiences at different price points and levels of interaction.  You can select one that fits your comfort zone, from kneeling at the lagoon edge and having a dolphin swim up close to you, to an experience that involves two dolphins, each one nosing under one of your feet, propelling you through the water!  We arranged for an appointment early in the morning… 1030.

Dolphin Bay!

Dolphin Bay!

I will never forget seeing our dolphin Mani Lou for the first time…. She was a lot bigger than I expected her to be for some reason.  She loved me.  I know she did, because she smooched me and asked TBG for my number.  At least that’s what he said….. .  And once, when she passed me, she swatted my legs with her tail!

A couple of the trainers and a dolphin

A couple of the trainers and a dolphin

The animals’ trainers appear to care very deeply for the welfare of their critters – they take great pains to provide safety instructions that are understood by everyone, including the youngest kiddos there.  We had to attend a safety and informational seminar before we could get in the water with their critters – I was very glad to see the obvious care they took to assure the dolphins’ safety and well-being.

We got to watch her swim for a bit and do some cheesy dolphin expected-stuff,   but we were introduced and got to pet her, and watch her swim, – she’d rub up against us, roll over on her back for belly scritches….  And looked at me like she knew *exactly* what I was saying to her, thanking her for allowing me to come to visit her in her world for a little while, and for playing with me.  Oh. My. Goodness.  It was amazing!  She was all rubbery and leathery and smooth and scarred and warm – not at all the cold wet feeling I’d anticipated.  We were all wearing neoprene wet suit things, and oddly, I think we felt sorta like her in the water – that neoprene wetsuit stuff is almost like dolphin skin.

TBG danced with her, holding her flippers....

TBG danced with her, holding her flippers….

Then the dance was done!

Then the dance was done!

There were dolphin hugs, kisses, a dance and tricks – each making me giggle even more than the last.  TBG was really liking this interaction – it was great fun watching him, he was smiling and laughing at her, and was just having a great time and so was I!

Look at her, smooching on my guy!

Look at her, smooching on my guy!

One of my favorite photos

One of my favorite photos

We could have stayed there all day with her!

We could have stayed there all day with her!

Can't you just tell that she loves me??

Can’t you just tell that she loves me??

Oh My Goodness!

Oh My Goodness!

I threw the hoop and Mani Lou brought it back to me!

I threw the hoop and Mani Lou brought it back to me!

Then, I got to scritch her under her chin.  Well, her throat.  Do dolphins have a chin?

Then, I got to scritch her under her chin. Well, her throat. Do dolphins have a chin?

Watching the small children that were also in this experience was enthralling.  Some were scared, some just a bit nervous, but one little girl was quite bold and eager….. I think her example helped the less-excited ones to be a bit less apprehensive.  Once engaged, they were an odd sort of a matched pair – the dolphin and the child.  I believe that there was some strange communication that happened between them and it was truly a special thing to observe.

Pretty snazzy looking armbands, huh?

Pretty snazzy looking armbands, huh?

This was truly one of the most fun things I’ve done here in Dubai.

This is what we look like right after we played with the Mani Lou!

This is what we look like right after we played with the Mani Lou!

Bucket List:

Swim with Dolphins – check.

Madinat Jumeirah Souk

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*sigh*…. Where to begin? This is a very picturesque touristy-shopping-eating area inside the Madinat Jumeirah Resort that’s been purpose-built to resemble an old-world souk.  And it kindasorta does, a little bit – but not really. You do have to acknowledge the efforts put into the theming though – again, Disney would be proud!  This is what the approach looks like, and on the right side of that bridge is a *perfect* place for a photo, fast, easy to get to, and never a bad photo.  No one else is gonna be in your shot, either!

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Meandering walkways and canals will eventually lead you to an amphitheater area, as well as some lovely restaurants and cafes. On this early April day, sitting outdoors to enjoy a coffee in the early to late morning would be pleasant. Much later than that and this gal would be searching out some air conditioning.

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moving water makes you feel cool and relaxed, I think

moving water makes you feel cool and relaxed, I think

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There is a scenic sort of a canal that runs around the outside of the area, and small abras will take you from area to area if you’d like – it’s quite a bit of walking! I did take some photos of the area, the shadows and lights make for some interesting patterns.The landscaping is quite lovely, and the grounds of the resort are just beautiful.

framed by a lovely arch, the trees provide privacy and a barrier to the city beyond

framed by a lovely arch, the trees provide privacy and a barrier to the city beyond

light and dark, shadow and sun - we're always looking for one or the other here

light and dark, shadow and sun – we’re always looking for one or the other here

loving the pergola and shadows here

loving the pergola and shadows here

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shadows and angles

shadows and angles

beautiful landscaping all around

beautiful landscaping all around

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Around the grounds here there are some awesome photo opportunities, and we took advantage of all of them, I think. There are some cute decorative items all throughout the souk areas and the restaurants have some wonderful “local flavor” built in, too.

me standing in front of the ampitheater area - it's quite large!

me standing in front of the ampitheater area – it’s quite large!

and yet another photo op

and yet another photo op

just stand in front of just about any place here, and the photo is really pretty!

just stand in front of just about any place here, and the photo is really pretty!

outside one of the restaurants

outside one of the restaurants

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This is what they look like during the holidays, quite crowded and decorated.

 

inside the dark cool souk.  And I've also noticed it spelled souq.

inside the dark cool souk. And I’ve also noticed it spelled souq.

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This is a favorite photo – it captured both the top of the Burj Al Arab, plus the wind towers on “old” buildings…. they actually funnel the wind blowing and acted as early air conditioners!

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So, if you’re exploring Dubai and looking for some afternoon shady entertainment – this is your spot. Take some money, check for vouchers from the Entertainer or Big Bus Tour books, have a late lunch and snag some memorable photos before you leave.