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Two People, Fourteen Months, One huge world!

The Final Chapter - UK, UAE, NZ

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES | Monday, 26 December 2016 | Views [675] | Comments [1]

“All good things must come to an end” so they say and it seems that “they” are right! 

We had set aside the last month of our trip for family in the UK and had a great time with them, starting with celebrations of my parents’ Golden Wedding Anniversary.  As a gift to them we siblings clubbed together to do a fair bit of work on their garden.  Tamara and I (and many others) had the role of stripping out the old while my brother and sister (and many others!) had the role of putting back.  All with the intention of reducing the area of flowerbeds (and therefore weed magnets) and replacing with low maintenance lawn and gravel.

Before and after!



When all was said and done the garden was largely transformed and the reduced workload it will generate should make life more fun for mum and dad.  All in all we took four “tonne bags” of garden waste to the tip and dad bribed a crew of arborists with a cup of tea after which they took a giant pile of branches into their shredder making life much easier for us.

Relaxing at Standen House

Relaxing at Standen House

Whenever we plan a big trip overseas we seem to plan a big purchase.  In S.E. Asia it was curtains for the house and apartment.  In the UK it was a kitchen for the bach.  Off to Ikea we went and over several days designed and ordered what we trust will be a beautiful, high quality kitchen complete with appliances.  While on a roll we also went hunting for worktops, a heated towel rail, washer/dryer and, for good measure, a vanity for Tamara’s brother Brandon.  It seems we weren’t the only ones getting carried away as Brandon took a night to think things over then came back with a list to cover the replacement of four bathrooms.  “In for a penny, in for a pound” we thought and threw in a bathroom of our own for the bach.  Yes, the prices are that good!  Our biggest problem was in convincing the plumbing merchants that we were not international money launderers and in getting the relevant paperwork to allow us to claim a VAT refund on export - we only just completed that in time.

It seems that we are all family and business when we are in the UK and that is not far from the truth but we were strong-armed into visiting the odd place too, including Standen House and Gardens which we managed to get to a minute or so before kick-out time!  We enjoyed the gardens anyway but the fine interior will have to wait for a later visit.

Last rites

Would you buy a car from this lady?

Our last days were spent polishing our little convertible until it shone then negotiating with the trader that sold it to us to re-purchase it – thankfully that was met with success. £500 later we were carless but happy, we then had to arrange an insurance refund.  Including insurances and depreciation that funky little car cost us £1000 (NZ$2000) for the whole five months that we had it.  We had taken a gamble on it being reliable but this paid off and $13 a day rental was a pretty good deal we feel, particularly for such a sporty wee cabriolet.

If that was a bargain the UAE had something even better in store.  Cast your mind back to the moment in France where our accommodation had been disrupted leading to a wonderful night in Provence.  As compensation for this indiscretion AirBnB had provided us with a US$200 credit which we were able to leverage for the three nights in Abu Dhabi.  We found a fantastic deal for a five star hotel there which had access to the next door Sheraton pool resort and private beach.  When the voucher was taken into account the net cost of our stay was €17 (NZ$ 25).

Burj Khalifa

We opted to shun the organised tours to the Burj Khalifa in Dubai (world’s tallest building) and instead took a local bus there passing through the desert and past adverts for some spectacular underwater housing (all sold unfortunately!). 

Burj Khalifa

The mall at the base of the Burj is immense and includes an aquarium with a huge window fronting onto the public area in which you can watch sharks, turtles and tropical fish gliding past. When it came to our time-slot we boarded the world’s fastest double-decker lift (10m/s - that is more than two floors per second!) and emerged at the viewing platform high on the 828m high building.  ***Travel hack*** There is no time limit at the viewing platform so we avoided the premium sunset prices and instead signed up for the last of the daytime trips then hung around an extra hour to watch the sunset. 

Sunset on a great trip

Sunset on a great trip

Later we watched the spectacular dancing fountains at the base and visited the Rainforest Café.  As we awaited our food to be delivered it dawned on us how blessed we were to spend the last day of such a spectacular trip in such a way.  In one day we had crossed a desert, plumbed the depths of the sea, ascended the world’s tallest building to view the sunset then concluded with dinner in a rainforest.  So appropriate!

Rainforest Café

Rainforest Cafe

Our homecoming was joyous and it was great to be back with family, to be reunited with our daughter Skye and to meet her new boyfriend James.  As one chapter closes another begins!  That may be it for this trip but rest assured we intend more.

‘Till next time………….!!!

(In the meantime - time for some new shoes! The ones on the left were the only ones I took with me and they were perfect for every occasion.  Teva Kimtahs - highly recommended so I bought the same again! Even after all that pounding they have plenty of miles left in them).

Time for some new shoes


Tags: burj khalifa, travel hack




Well done you finished in great style! Dubai is great fun but so hot when outdoors!

  Frances Jan 2, 2017 3:40 PM

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