Friday, July 7, 2017

Sea plane!

A special rate came up for an opportunity to get on a sea plane with Seawings Dubai a couple of months ago and we jumped on it!  Figured this might be our only chance to do so.  We were planning on making it some sort of staycation last week in Dubai but an unforeseen expense of renewing our Emirates IDs ruined those plans. So it is just a day-trip then to Dubai!

We start out the day with a scrape in between the eyes. Hopefully this will teach Charlie not to mess with his brother:
And we're off on our little road trip!  Charlie is being cheeky and yet very sophisticated with his legs crossed during the car ride:
Graham also has his legs crossed but is shoving cheerios into his mouth:
A bit of a hazy day today in Dubai:
We arrive at Dubai Creek Golf Club.  Time for some lunch first.  Thankfully the kids' menus keep the boys busy:
We spot a sea plane coming in for landing by the golf club:
A glimpse of what our landing will be.  Pretty smooth!
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After lunch, it is time to check in for our flight.  Looks like we will be taking the BLUE route - down the creek towards the open water, then make a left to fly along the coast towards the Burj Al Arab hotel, turn right to get to the tip of Jumeirah Palm, where we will make a U-turn to come back around:
Graham and Charlie are reviewing the Safety Video:
Time to get to our plane!
Waiting at the jeti:
Family photo op!  Can't believe the lady only took one photo, so thank goodness this one turned out decent.  But Charlie seems to be looking a bit scared???
Okay, everyone gets situated in the tiny plane:
One of the passengers sitting behind me locks up the door:
And the push off:
We were go...!!!!
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A view of Dubai city. Too bad about the haze!
Who knew cruise ships docked here??!?
A view of the port with the city in the backdrop. Spectacular!!!
A peek at The World Islands, which consist of man-made islands in the rough shape of a world map. Unfortunately, construction has been halted:
The iconic Burj al Arab hotel:
And of course, the Palm Jumeirah.  Quite the sight!
Graham and Charlie having a great view of the Palm as well:
Happy Graham!
Charlie has somehow decided to look through the safety instructions:
One last look at the coastline along the Persian Gulf:
Spotted this fancy hotel just before landing in Dubai Creek.  Wow...!
Great flight!  Thanks captain!
One more thing to check off our to-do list in the UAE :-)

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Jaguar Driving Experience!

If you recall going back to my birthday in June, my big present of the year is to drive a Jaguar F-Type S Coupe around the Yas Marina Formula 1 Circuit.  Vrrroooommm vroooommm...!!!
Well, the day finally came last Thursday.  It was a slightly warm one and even hotter on the track! Air temperature is 38.8C / 101.8F and Track temperature is 53.9C / 129F!
While Mommy was at the briefing, Graham and Charlie were busy posing:
Maybe next time, Mommy can try this one - the Formula Yas 3000 :-)
Okay! Getting geared up!
I am glad they gave us these full-on mask as who knows how many people have worn these helmets! It's a snug fit!!!
And now we wait.  Seems like we are just waiting on the ambulance to show up on site.  Just in case, it might not be a bad idea to wait on them!  The boys are admiring the Aston Martin GT4s:
While we wait, I ended up taking my helmet off. It's too warm! Graham decides to try it on. He probably feels like a bobble head as the helmet is a tad heavy:
Finally, I am off to see my Jaguar F-Type Coupe! It is a lovely red.
"Here she comes, revving down the track!"
Ok... not exactly.  Actually quite slowly as I believe this is only my first or second lap on the track :-P
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I managed to overtake a couple cars after a little while - those driving the Aston Martin.  It's a more superior car so my instructor was quite impressed with me in my little Jag. She said I was very "receptive" to her instructions and gave me an "A" for the day!

There was quite a bit to remember around the track, to a point that I didn't even know how fast I was really going or even see where the speedometer in the car was even located! Colored cones have been set up around the track so you take the straightest lines around the corners.  This was basically it:
- start braking HARD at the double cones
- turn left/right at the yellow cone
- aim straight towards the green cone, as close as possible to it!
- slowly open up at the end of the turn
- Step on it!!!

Alrighty... after a few more runs, I get a little bit more comfortable with the car now and the track.  Here goes the v6 supercharged 380ps engine ripping down the track!
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I love the commentary in the background:
- A stranger says, "Holy crap, she's... she's letting loose!"
(You betcha, lady!)
- Graham says, "Hey Daddy, I saw the spoiler. It actually closed!"
(That's because Mommy was actually going fast enough for it to open in the first place!)
- And finally Charlie says, "There goes Momma!"
(Awww... Loved how he noticed his Mommy in a speedy sports car!)

The last few laps were even more enjoyable with the lovely sunset straight ahead just as I pull up on the last corner of the track.  After about 20-30 min on the track, it is finally to come into the pit. LOVE this car!
Here's me and my instructor Nadia.  I would have liked to see her drive actually. Maybe next time, is there another time maybe??!!
Urghh... it's time to leave.  Nooooo...!!!  Can't let go...!!!
Alright, alright.... time to go.  We head upstairs from the pit to Johnny Rockets for some ice cream and milkshakes.  And oh, when I sat down I noticed my hands were shaking!  Must have been all the adrenaline and/or perhaps gripping the steering wheel too tightly??!  During the briefing, the head instructor did say - position hands on opposite sides and both hands on wheel at all times, even when turning.  No one-hand "washing machine" motion when turning - oh, you mean like when I drive my minivan??! Ha Ha Ha! 

As usual, we are made to walk by the gift shop on the way out.  As tiny as this gift shop was, we managed to find some items to buy. Graham wanted a tiny little Yas Marina Circuit pin and Charlie was adamant about getting these shades.  Mr Cool!!!
 What a fun night!  Thanks to John, Sarah, and Neve for coming out to watch as well!

Family Game Night

I suppose you can only have so many movie nights in a row :-)  So we have opted for some board games as well.  First, it's Boggle - a classic!  And then this game called Gravity Maze.  You are provided with a pattern on a card and you have to place certain tower of mazes accordingly so the marble will end up on the final Red block.  It's quite interesting!

It's actually Bobby's birthday present from this past May. Graham has been spending a lot of time with the game and he is really good at it:
And then, of course there is also the classic Scrabble.  How many I's can you get in one night!?!  Well, with Charlie - it was at least 6 I's!
Graham and Daddy are thinking...
Thinking pretty hard...
Still thinking! Any time now, Graham...!!!
Graham did pretty well actually.  I can't really remember all of the words, but he came up with GOLF, JOKE, SEED, and even used the BLANK as a "T" for FIT and NOT - all by himself!  We weren't counting any of the score this time but I was very impressed with my "MIXER" (on behalf of Charlie, of course). That's Double Word for 28 points! But who's counting :-P
Hope we have more of these family game nights.  It's a win-win for everyone especially when it comes to spelling and imagination!

Recent happenings

Since the boys are now on this summer break, we are having such late nights!  Graham can pretty much tuck himself in these days:
Charlie still needs some help!  And funny enough, Daddy fell asleep in the boys' bedroom on the reading mat this same night. HAHA!
Speaking of Charlie, here is one of his drawings that was laminated from his class this past year. It's my new favorite bookmark!  Charlie said that it is him, with wings :-)
Our annual membership at Yas Waterpark finally ended.  So sad!... but lots of memories:
Graham and Charlie LOVE this section of the splash park.  Just waiting for that big tub of water to tip over!
SPLAAAASHHH....!!!  You can sort of see Charlie in there :-)
Our Ramadan offer at Bounce expired too.  Here are the boys in the "Drink room". Charlie was just trying to squeeze himself in between the beam:
We are down to playing some golf or swim.  If only it is not so hot outside!  The temperature is probably averaging around 45C / 113F every day.  Good news is the boys can end the day of golf with an ice lolly and they both love that!
There's also the occasional trip to a mall for a little Go karting.  The boys have so much fun doing this. Too bad it's Dhs30 (about USD8) for only 5 minutes!!!  There goes Charlie:
Graham is a bit more aggressive:
I am just glad it was quiet and the attendant gave them a few extra minutes on the track:
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We recently bought Graham and Charlie a tennis racket from another mom at school.  Charlie especially has really taken a liking to it. Obviously still need some work but not bad for a start!
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Other daily activities may also include having iced milo (chocolate drink):
Charlie has more of a Chocolate Goatie:
Graham and Charlie also like to build their home of cushions and to hide from Mommy so they can play with Daddy's phone:
Little sneaks!
And finally, since I have been frequenting the golf club for gym classes, the boys have been busy too!
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Here's to our 2nd week of summer vacation!