Dropping in to Dubai!

Dubai is one of the craziest cities on the planet that I’ve visited so far. This city rose from the desert sand to become a booming oil and tourist capital of today’s modern world. Dubai oozes wealth and seems to have the biggest and best of everything, leaving you asking yourself “What can’t money buy?”
Our room in the Shangri-La Hotel, Dubai
We were lucky enough to visit Dubai as the third stop on Nova’s Red Room Global Tour and arrived to a very swanky hotel. You might have heard of the Shangri-La Hotel group? From one side of the hotel was a direct view of the Burj Khalifa. On the other – the World Islands. Class and decandance was obviously of the highest priority in this hotel and we instantly felt at home, welcomed by the fabulous staff!
The view from the Presidential Suite at the Shangi-La
Whilst in Dubai, Tourism Dubai set us up a plethora of activities to keep us entertained! As soon as we arrived in Dubai, straight in from London, we were off to Ski Dubai – the largest indoor ski field in the world!

We went from 49 degrees Celcius outside to -2 degrees inside, a bit of a shock to the system! I could have happily spent many more happy hours quite contentedly skiing the two runs complete with two different lifts inside, but before we knew it we were back in the heat and off to a desert safari with Platinum Heritage tours!

1950s open-topped Land Rovers through a wildlife reserve followed by a sunset falconry display with Summer the Falcon and her trainer made the day seem even more surreal. We sat on cushions in the sand and watched as Summer’s trainer demonstrated to us the amazing speeds that Summer could hunt her prey at. This bird was truly remarkable!

The back into the Land Rovers as we made our way to a desert oasis for dinner, Henna, Shisha and performances.

Traditional Emirati Coffee and dates

The food was absolutely incredible and when we thought we were full, more kept coming! I’d say the highlight of the meal was trying camel meat which was super tender and very flavoursome. Whilst in Dubai, I’ve also discovered a passion for dates, which they seem to serve as a starter to most meals, alongside traditional coffee.

Other highlights of our three days in Dubai…wow there are so many to choose from! We went up the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world which is definitely a sight to behold! It’s hard to believe that this 828 metre high structure is soon not going to be the tallest in the world, as apparently Saudi Arabia is building one which will be 1000 metres tall!

Selfies with Summer the Falcon

Even from the viewing deck, which is just over 400 metres off the ground, it’s crazy how tiny everything looks and how fast the elevator ascends this incredible feat of architecture.

The view from the Burj Khalifa

Another highlight was the Aquaventure Waterpark on the Palm Jumeirah. However, as this was my second time in Dubai (and the first was in winter), I’ve got to say that winter is a far better time to go. In summer, the air temperature is 49 degrees, the water temperature is probably about 30 degrees and your sunscreen literally melts off your body. You have to wear flip flops to get between the waterslides because otherwise your feet will blister from the scorching ground. However, in winter, Dubai is about 25 degrees celcius – the perfect temperature to enjoy a waterpark! The rides at this park are some of the coolest in the world, particularly the one which goes straight down and through a tunnel with sharks swimming on the outside – and all in about 8 seconds!

Finally, we visited the Sheike Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding. It was awesome to listen to Emirati’s talk about Dubai and answer our questions. We also had an incredible traditional breakfast and I would recommend stopping in if you get a chance because it’s such a great experience.

Unfortunately this time around, we didn’t make it to the Spice and Gold Souks but went in 2012 and they’re totally worth a visit as they’re so different to anything you would have seen before.

I love this city and will dfinitely be back as soon as I can afford it!

A sunset in the desert

Getting Down in Dublin

Dublin – the home of Guinness and … Guinness.

I wasn’t really sure what to expect when we rocked up to Dublin Airport. Was everyone going to be talking about potatos and be dressed as Leprechauns?

Apparently not. Somewhat relieved yet mildly disappointed, we made our way to our hotel – The Marker Hotel at Docklands. A very modern, assymetrical building from the outside, the theme was continued as we made our way to check in. The staff were absolutely wonderful, catering to our group of 50 jetlagged Australians as if they did the same thing everyday. To our left was The Brasserie, otherwise known as the restaurant in The Marker which provided an awesome buffet breakfast for the extent of our stay.

Our room in this hotel felt like a home away from home. It was perfect.

Our time in  Dublin went way too quickly, although when you consider that we only had a day and a half there, we got a lot done!

My sister and I decided to venture out on the afternoon that we arrived, because we were at risk of falling asleep. The slightly drizzly weather was offset by the flower baskets hanging from all of the street lights and made this city seem homely despite the fact that we had just crossed the entire world.

We sought shelter in O’Brien’s Ferryman Pub, asking if they were still serving food. Initially, the chef said no, however we must have looked distraught and hungry so he whipped us up a steak & Guinness pie with plenty of chips and veges. It was from then on that we decided that the Irish must be the friendliest people on the planet.

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Highlight: Walking down Temple Bar after seeing Jamie Lawson and Ed Sheeran (a district of bars, most of which are called Temple Bar which makes it very confusing) when a friend said that she felt like a Kebab – something that most Australians will get after a night of drinking. She turned to her right and there was a kebab place called Abbra-Kebabra.I wasn’t expecting that! Night made. Thank you Dublin!

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The Phonecall that Changed My Life

The competition post! Click the image to check it out in a larger size.

It was a regular Thursday and I wasn’t working. Exams had finished for the semester and for the first time in a couple of weeks I had absolutely nothing to do so I slept in. I woke to a comment from Optus on a Facebook competition I had entered, asking me to send them some details about myself.

Intrigued, I did as I was told but told myself not to get excited because it could be nothing.

About an hour later, I received a phonecall from Optus. They asked me whether I was the one who entered the competition, and whether I had a valid passport.

“Well Georgina, I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news for you,” Mark from Optus said to me.

Oh…

“You and a friend are leaving on Sunday on a trip around the world visiting four countries and seeing seven global artists as part of Nova’s Red Room Global Tour.”

I tried really hard to stay cool on the phone, but I literally broke down in tears as soon as I got off. I called my mum at work (still crying), who immediately thought that something was very wrong because I was bawling my eyes out.

Stay cool, stay cool. My sister and I are very close (despite constant bickering we do have fun!) so I decided to take her with me as my plus one. Sorry to my boyfriend again.

The next three days were a whirlwind of packing, travel insurance quotes and more packing. The itinerary came through and we got even more excited. Dublin, London, Dubai, Sydney. Ed Sheeran and Jamie Lawson in Dublin, Craig David and Blonde in London, Aston Merrygold and Rudimental in Dubai and Jason Derulo and Adam Lambert in Sydney. And not just seeing the artists, but also exploring some of the coolest cities in the world This was going to be a crazy 12 days with 24 other people and 24 staff travelling around the globe!

So these next few blog posts will be about my time away on Nova’s Red Room Global Tour. We stayed in 5 star hotels and lived the high life. Here. We. Go!

My sister (right) and I (left) about to leave for the airport!