Yesterday Bob and I went back to Riva Beach Club for the day. It wasn’t a special Ladies’ day or anything like that, but we’d enjoyed it so much the day before plus we could get in for 120 AED (£26) to get in as a couple This gave us loungers, towels and access to the pool and the beach but no free food or drink. Still, not a bad price hereabouts for a beach day. The weather was perfect again. Hot and the sky was cloudless. We just lazed there all day, swam in the sea and the pool, read, and relaxed. We shared chilli nachos for lunch and they were delicious. The food here is excellent. I really recommend Riva Beach as a day base.
Today, being Friday, was the big weekend day here. We had a reservation for brunch at the Madinat al Qasr, which is probably the best brunch in a town that prides itself on amazing brunches. I went with Lu last November and we planned to come here with Bob to celebrate his birthday (again) while we were staying. Unfortunately Lucy woke up feeling unwell so Bob and I went alone. Its £125 for the all you can eat, all you can drink including bubbly, option, so you need to be on top form.
The Madinat Jumeirah is the most amazing hotel. It stretches across a huge area, divided into different sections, linked by canals and gardens. The brunch also stretches across restaurants and terraces and you have access to all the food. And it’s not some sort of stale, stewing buffet. It’s being cooked or put out fresh in small quantities. And amazing stuff. One room is all seafood, raw, cold and cooked. Plus sushi and sashimi. One room is roasts and accompaniments: wagyu beef, roast prime rib of beef, leg of lamb, all the trimmings. One area is Indian food, one Middle Eastern, one, Italian. Lots of desserts…. different drinks stations. Wines, bubbly flowing free but also a traditional cocktail bar, tropical tiki hut, mohito bar…. you name it…….
Bob and I were seated on one of the terraces overlooking the gardens and out towards the Burg al Arab . We of course started with sushi and sashimi (lots), then moved to raw seafood: crab, lobster tail, king prawns, oysters, scallops….. The oysters were particularly good. Then, to the the roast room. I had a lump of prime rib and a big slice of wagyu, some cauliflower cheese and some creamed spinach. After that, I tried a plate of oriental hot appetisers: calamari, tempura king prawns, tempura veg….. that just about did it. We were just lolling back enjoying the live singing duo when the waiters delivered a birthday dessert to Bob, courtesy of Lu. A chocolate mousse cake, with a slightly gingery sponge base. Quite light. Went down well with the bubbly. Finally, we dug deep and tried some other desserts, in my case a chocolate mousse pot, some ice cream and a fresh strawberry dipped in the chocolate fountain.
Coffee and then a long walk through the grounds followed by a boat ride along the canal to the Madinat Souk. We had a great wander around there. I bought another incense burner plus two bottles of perfume – the middle eastern sort, heavy on oud and frankincense. It was a lot of fun bartering.
Seriously, if you’re going to go to one brunch in Dubai, make it this one and make it count. We definitely got our money’s worth.
So….. had a lot of chat in the middle of the night about what we should do tomorrow. The ship is in Dubai already and people seem to be boarding. Unfortunately ports are closing like nine pins. No UAE ports are open, Oman has closed, Aqaba is semi closed. That just leaves Athens and Crete ahead of the Italian ports which are obviously no good to us. Our fear now is that we will get on and no ports will be open and we will end up having to disembasrk in Italy and try and make our way home from there. Not very easy and hazardous. On the other hand, we don’t want to forfeit what we’ve paid. We think that when we get there tomorrow, if I am honest about my health over the last 2 weeks, we will be denied boarding and given a full refund and something towards getting home. That would be our best result. Then we will aim to fly back to the UK, perhaps on Tuesday. Flights wih Turkish Airlines are currently about £230 pp. But we’ll have to see what happens when we turn up. Tune in tomorrow for the result! Can’t say we’re particularly looking forward to coming back and facing the grim virus in the UK but it has to be done sooner or later…. somewhere….. I’ ve believed for a long time now that we will all get it before year end…. it’s just a matter of whether we can survive the infection. Just as worried about the appalling effect the global virus is having on our poor savings pot…… Who saw this coming in January when most people were most worried about whether Brexit was going to work or not???