As mentioned in my previous update (from several months ago!) I had business in Kenya, with some meetings in my companies regional office in Dubai... which was exciting as I had never been to Dubai before.
As my prior post shows, I took some time to enjoy Wild Wadi & Ferrari World before heading to Kenya. In Kenya, it was almost all work... though we did take a Saturday morning to do some touristic stuff, including visiting baby elephants.
If you've been to your local science center lately, one of the popular nature documentaries out right now is "Born to be Wild", narrated (like everything) by Morgan Freeman. The movie focuses on people who are taking care of orphan animals and raising them to be released back into the wild.
In Nairobi, Kenya, one of these organizations is the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
, which (among it's many worthy conservation programs) famously takes in orphan elephants and rhinos. These are babies whose parents have typically been killed by poachers... in other words, this is where "Little Red" would be going if he wasn't bolted to the floor of that truck in Orlando!
Here's some cute pictures before heading back to Dubai:
After our Kenya visit, we went back to Dubai for a couple days. Our hotel was The Address (a local Dubai hotel company... swanky! And a decent price) at the Dubai Mall. I arrived late, the hotel was overbooked, so to honor my reservation, they upgraded me to a 3 bedroom apartment with this view:
Since I had a hotel attached to the world's largest mall, it was time to go exploring!
Because the Dubai Mall is so ridiculously big, they smartly chunked it out into different zones... some looking like a (nice) normal mall, a section that is all high fashion brands, a zone with restaurants overlooking the lagoon, and a section with family entertainment stuff... a movie theater, ice skating rink, food court, and, of course, Sega Republic.
I had only ever seen "arcades" like this in Japan... and honestly, this was on the same scale as the big ones I had seen in Tokyo. BIG! Like puts Sega World in Las Vegas to shame big. Also, nice and open (high ceilings), and unique attractions.
I went as soon as they opened for a couple hours, but an unlimited wristband, and went back after dinner with some coworkers.
The major attraction is, or course, Sonic, which does NOT suck... in fact, for what it is (an indoor coaster at a fancy FEC) is actually quite good! Decent theming, comfy cars, smooth ride, and, if you're lucky enough to unbalance the car enough, a fun ride!
They also have two simulator attractions - one "air tour" and one "jeep tour" which, again, for what they are, do NOT suck! That said, not re-rideable, like most simulators.
Other attractions included in the wristband are:
- Crazy bobsled game/ride; lapbar & harness required, because when you drive it into powerups, your ride vehicle rolls 360 or 720!
- "Real" car simulators... you hop in an actual car body on a motion base with a screen in front of you and drive
- Sonic mini-drop tower - cute for kids (and impressive they fit this indoors) but cable driven, no real air time
- Shooting "simulator" where you pull out guns, shoot screens covered in bugs, with the twist that your seats spin 180 to face another screen at times
- The crazy skateboarding halfpipe simulator! I did this at least a dozen times - without a doubt the most interesting and FUN attraction - airtime, under your control (sort of) and just a great whooshing feeling. If you put this in the right places, people would line up to pay for this.. and the fact that you & a partner (if you have one) are competing against another team makes it even better
Overall, totally worth visiting if you're in Dubai!
The rest of Dubai Mall also includes the Dubai Aquarium, and of course, crazy views of the Burj Dubai - not to mention the entrance for "The Top" world's highest observation deck.
After finishing up a couple days of meetings, it was time to head back to the US... but I traveled eastwards instead of west.
Why? Two reasons:
First: To try out Korean's new A380 (my first flight on the superjumbo)
Second: Because I was stopping in LA for my first West Coast Bash!