Home Again.

We arrived home on Saturday in the middle of a thunderstorm.

Everyone tells me they have enjoyed a wonderfully warm and sunny Easter holiday so I’m pretty sure the sudden change in weather was my fault. I caved and bought the girls some flip flops ( jandals if you’re a Kiwi, thongs if you come from the ‘Other Place’)  on our last day in Dubai, and the UK weather reacted accordingly. Because, of course, British weather is predictably unpredictable.

Luckily the rain didn’t last, so I was able to spend the day yesterday doing laundry and hanging it outside. We don’t use a tumble drier, so it is nice to not have clothes horses all over the place inside.

I’m so pleased to be home; I love travelling, seeing new things, and experiencing new cultures with the kids and DH, but it was lovely to get home to my own bed ( and toilet). The nice weather is a bonus.

Thank you to everyone who has followed my blog while we’ve been away. Some of you have mentioned you’d like to see more pictures, so for you, here’s some of my favourite photos of the trip.

The villa we stayed at in Sri Lanka was called Malgedara. It is slightly south of Galle, and it was about a 4 hour drive from Columbo airport. It had 4 bedrooms and came with a cook, housekeeper and gardener, and also a pool.

Fruit bats at Malgedara. 100’s of them would fly over the villa at dusk. Here’s a video I made of them flying past the moon. You can tell they are bats, as they have no tails when viewed from below.

Palm trees in the villa garden.

DD3 holding a newly hatched turtle. She was a little unsure at first but had a hold in the end. Later, we got to release about 40 2 day old babies back into the sea. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity and if we come back in 30 years time, we may see some of the females returning to that exact beach to lay their own eggs.

Mirissa beach. This was definitely the nicest beach we visited in Sri Lanka, with golden sand, but some quite big waves, so we had to keep an eye on ALL the kids when they were in the water.

An elephant and her baby at the side of the track in Yalla National Park.  Mum was having a lovely dust bath, you can see she’s got a trunkful of dirt ready.

A big Buddha in a temple on the way to Yalla National Park. It’s not considered polite to photograph people standing in front of a Buddha, so you can’t really get a idea of scale, but this one was 39ft high.

A reef as seen from the sea plane window. I think it looks like a jellyfish.

Keeping an eye on the kids on ‘our’ beach in the Maldives. It’s a hard life. The beaches on Noonu Atoll were absolutely gorgeous; photos don’t really do them justice.

DS splashing on the beach while walking back to the villa. He got a little overheated about 2 mins after this shot was taken and cried until we got back inside. Then he fell asleep in our bed, so I was stuck indoors until DH arrived and relieved me of childcare duties.

A golden sunset. Watching the sun actually set became something of an obsession of mine.

DD1 on The Royal Beach with Atlantis, The Palm in the background.

The Burj Khalifa in Dubai. It’s the tallest building in the world, at 2,717 ft tall. Photo from a car window, so not a great one, but it had to be done.

Dolphins on the travellator at Dubai Airport. These dolphins went everywhere!

 

 

The Lost Hotel of Atlantis

We have had a wonderful time doing very little on Noonu Atoll for the last 6 days, and left 100 times more relaxed than we arrived. But all good things must come to an end, and so this morning we reluctantly boarded the sea plane for Male, and said goodbye to paradise.

From Male we flew to Dubai where we experienced one of the steepest descents we’ve ever had the misfortune to be involved in, and queued for well over an hour to get through passport control. Once we collected our bags it was easy enough to find a couple of taxis to take us to our hotel; Atlantis. The drive to Palm Jumeriah was slightly unsettling after spending time on Sri Lanka. Where were the crowded roads with the boards of ancient vehicles? Where were the street stalls, stray dogs and slums? Everything in Dubai looks new and well kept. We went past the tallest building, and saw the sail-shaped hotel in the distance get closer. Suddenly we rounded the bend, and there was the Lost Hotel, with its two towers and imposing arch.

We are only stopping over for one night, but we could easily stay for longer. The hotel has its own aquarium, which we visited today. It is, without a doubt, the most amazing aquarium I’ve ever been to. It’s a bit spooky with its Jule Verne type theme, and DD3 had a meltdown when she got to pat a horseshoe crab, as she convinced herself that she would turn into an alien as a result of touching it.

The hotel also has a water park and dolphin cove attached. We don’t have time to visit these attractions this time round, although we did manage a wander along the reclaimed beach. The water was freezing, and seemed crowded after the Maldives.

We also stopped for the kids to have dinner, and were surprised to find the service was terrible. The food was horribly slow in arriving and a couple of things were not what we ordered. After what could be eaten had been, we wandered up to the aquarium. The entrance is situated in the middle of a rather opulent shopping mall. It’s not my idea of fun, but I gather that Dubai is considered an excellent place to go shopping for just about anything.

The most surprising thing has been the heat, or rather the lack of it. Perhaps it’s because we’ve just come from such warm climates, but none of us have found it particularly oppressive. It’s warm, but nothing like as humid as it was in Sri Lanka.

Oh, and we had our first ‘bidet as a washbasin’ incident today. DH caught our youngest DD washing her hands in it this afternoon. The only question is why this hasn’t happened earlier because there has been a bidet in every place we’ve stayed. And, of course, when asked, DD3 happily admitted to washing her hands in those ‘funny basins’ in the other places we’ve stayed too. Grim.