Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Merry Christmas from the desert!

I'm glad Santa had a little helper because "he" was fast asleep when the lights turned off last night!

Happy kids! The boys have gotten into Star Wars, so "Santa" knew that Lego Star Wars would be a hit!
The magic light was actually for Bobby.  Charlie was quite mesmerized!
Graham figured it out pretty quickly and mastered the magic trick almost immediately!
Here's the view from our balcony:
Ok, time for breakfast.  I don't think I've ever seen an entire thing of honeycomb before at the breakfast buffet!  Although, lesson learned - do not put it into your coffee.  The honeycomb does not dissolve!
Charlie just loves peeling eggs.  If only, he would eat the egg after!
Later in the afternoon, we are patiently waiting for Santa:
But first, some Christmas carols:
No way! Santa on a camel!!!
Photo op with the man in the red suit!
The dinner buffet was a little pricey for Christmas, so we opted to stay in the room for dinner.  We didn't get the caviar! Approx. USD435 for less than 3 1/2 tbspfuls!
The boys watched their new DVD while we waited for dinner to arrive:
Graham had spaghetti...
And Charlie picked out from the selection of Arabic (hot and cold mezzeh) to Indian (butter chicken) to Italian (spaghetti)!
I think the boys loved the dessert the best.  They were able to decorate their own cupcake!
A lot of toppings for a little cupcake!  The chopsticks were a little tricky:
Ta da!
Merry Christmas from the Pridgens!
Qasr Al Sarab is definitely a must-visit again!

Off to the desert to find Santa

This year, Bobby decided to book us into a resort to celebrate Christmas.  Here we go - to Qasr Al Sarab!  Thankfully the signs were obvious.  I believe there is only one road that leads to it!
Lots of high wires. Guess we don't have to worry about not getting any electricity there!
Starting out, the sand dunes were small:
Then, the dunes got larger:
Surprisingly, there were lots of tress in certain sections. I think there were some sort of forestry agency here, although not quite like what a forest would look like back in Malaysia or the US!
And... as we approach the resort, the view starts to change. So scenic!
Here we are... a resort literally in the middle of the desert.  It probably took us a good 5-10 minutes to drive in from the entrance off the freeway.
Right off the bat, I am in love with all their lighting fixtures!  I suppose that is a blog posting for another day :-)
Again, the views here are just spectacular.  I can't get over how amazing these sand dunes are!
Some dates and a yogurt drink while we wait for our room.  Funny but only after eating the date, the yogurt drink tasted a lot better!  Maybe that's what you're actually suppose to do:
Big gingerbread house on display!
And a really big bath tub in our room!  All 4 of us actually fit into this tub!  It was about 6ft across!
A spectacular view of the pool with the desert backdrop.  I still can't get over this place!
After the swim, we went to hike the desert dunes to catch the sunset.  Graham took off like a camel! He is that little speck to the right on the horizon, while Bobby is trying to catch up below:
And Charlie and I were lagging behind some more.  Parts of these slopes were a little steep for Charlie.  And it doesn't help when your entire foot sinks into the soft sand as you climb!

Once the hiking was done, it was time to get dressed for Christmas eve dinner.  We all cleaned up pretty nicely, I would say :-)  The boys said my dress looked like a peacock. It actually kinda does!
Graham and Charlie's first experience with a Christmas cracker!
Halfway through dinner... Man down, man down!
Yeah... we lost Charlie. Poor fella was so tired!
Poor kid had such a bad cough too.  But then... he's back! Charlie loves his pretzels!
Phew! A successful dinner!  Ok, time to wait for "Santa" to come tonight!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

First Gingerbread House

One of the local hotels here hosted a Gingerbread House-making session today.  When we arrived, we were told there weren't any more spots available, which made the boys sad and me quite upset!  We were late, but not THAT late.
But after a little waiting, the hotel did end up bringing out more ginger bread homes.  The icing was a little trickier than I thought!
Nonetheless, the boys really had a good time decorating their first gingerbread house:
Ta da!  I thought it was cute how Charlie put his hand around Graham's shoulder for the photo:
Perhaps we should have looked at the ones on display first for some inspiration before starting on ours. Oh well!
We got to bag ours home and Charlie insisted on holding it in the car:
It's a good thing he didn't drop it as he fell asleep pretty soon after!
The boys have talked about eating it but I said there were too many dirty little hands in those candy bowls.  Thankfully they actually listened to me (for once!) and didn't fuss!  But I did say that perhaps one day we'll make our own Gingerbread house from scratch.  Maybe, just maybe - they will forget about it once Christmas day arrives and Graham and Charlie are too excited about their Christmas gifts :-)

Trip to the zoo

We finally made it out to the local zoo for the first time after being here for almost 1 1/2 years!  The Emirates Park Zoo is only about 30 minutes away from us.  As usual, we start out with a nap in the car:
Graham was pretending to sleep.  He's so cheeky!
It's a good thing we still have the stroller handy.  First impression of the zoo was good!
Photo op!  Too bad the elephant exhibit was under construction though.  In this same area, there was a kids' driving school. It's a good thing the boys didn't see that!
You could really see the animals up close:
I couldn't really tell if these were entrances to actual chalets for people or for the animals, as there is a hotel resort connected to zoo.  The doors were pretty cool looking though:
There was a white tiger prancing by the window.  Funny but Charlie was really afraid to even get close to the glass and Graham needed some encouragement as well:
I'm not sure why but there were several of these cages by the side along the corridor where we were walking.  And almost all of these cages were filled with pigeons. Just a little stinky!
Of course, nothing is complete without camel sighting:  (P/S: Quick note to Grandma Barbara - you might want to quickly skip over the next photo!)
There were also some cool snakes - like this albino phython:
This was quite a central location where the giraffes were.  And actually, some of the rooms from the resort hotel open up to this location:
For some reason, Graham thought this area was a little stinky. Of course, Charlie followed along too!
Shhh.... bear is sleeping... as Charlie is trying to say:
There were lots of goats, lambs, cows, chicken,... that were really up close.  You could buy a bundle of grass and feed them:
Well, when I decided to finally go get some grass for the boys, it was all gone! So the boys just picked up some left-over grass that was on the ground that the animals had missed:
The poor animals really had to stick their heads out of the openings to get the grass, as the boys were a bit timid on getting too close to those mouths!  Okay, I admit - I was too :-)
The boys definitely had fun at the zoo so I'm guessing we'll be back there again!