Saturday, 31 December 2011

Happy New Year!

Wherever you might be in the world - the Watsons would like to
wish you all a very Happy New Year!

We hope it'll be a year filled with love and laughter!
All the best for an exciting 2012!

Friday, 30 December 2011

Time travelling?

I didn't know we traveled through time coming back from Dubai..?
This is what I had to choose from while reading in the Doctors waiting room this afternoon..:

(The Doctor said I have a throat infection by the way. No fun at all.)

One last Christmas day!

When we came back home to Brunei this morning, we had to get into the Christmas spirit one last time for this year, as we had some more gifts waiting for us under the tree!

Lucky us!

Some Christmas clothes for Linnea's Build-a-Bear:

Nathan opening his present:

Lucas got another installment of the "Wimpy Kid"-books, and got really happy! He has really gotten into reading while away, he and Malthe read in bed every night before sleeping and again when they woke up in the morning:

Linnea got a telescope. Now we are waiting for it to go dark outside so we can try it out!

Now Christmas is over for this year. No more presents!
Normally I would pack away all the Christmas decorations now between Christmas and New Year, I like starting the new year fresh! But since we haven't really enjoyed them much, I'll probably leave them until the kids have gone back to school this time.

Dubai - Day 11 KidZania

In the Dubai Mall there is this amazing Kids Edutainment Center we had promised the kids to go to one day, KidZania (be patient, this page takes a while to load!). That day happened to be our last day in Dubai, with the purpose of tiring them out thoroughly before the flight.

So we drove in there and dropped the four big kids off. They "check in" at Emirates counters, just like at a proper airport, and then get boarding cards and go through immigration and x-ray to get in! Very cool!

The queue was very long to enter, but it went fairly quickly. On the red text you can see some of the many professions the kids could try:

Checking in, getting their ID-bracelets and boarding cards and getting ready to go!

Through immigration:

On arrival, the kids got a 50 KidZo (special KidZania currency) cheque which they had to take to the bank to exchange for cash, or an ATM card to use in KidZania. They could then choose to spend money or earn money or both (or neither). When they ran out of money, they had to find a job - no wonder I got a bit confused when the kids came out with more KidZania money than when they went in!

It seemed like the kids had been a bit confused as to what to do in there too, they called us already (well...) after 3 hours and wanted to go home?! We think it was because they had been disagreeing a bit about what to do next and had trouble sticking together. I guess if we get to go to another KidZania (there are several KidZania around the region), we'll go with them next time. They all said afterward though they'd had a great time, so that's all that matters!

Every KidZania is themed as a child-sized replica of a real city, including buildings, shops and theaters, as well as vehicles and pedestrians moving along its streets. In this city the kids get to work and earn KidZos currency while performing the tasks. The money is kept in the KidZania bank for children to spend at the gift shop and on non-free KidZania activities.

Facilities include an airport (Kidzania International Airport), ambulances, bank, cars, central town square, fashion catwalk, fire engines, fire station, hospital, offices, pizza restaurant, race track, radio station, service station, supermarket, theater, university etc.

Children are supposed to choose from up to 80 different roles to play, and get to dress up as their chosen occupation.
Jobs and professions include airline stewardess, artist, chef, construction worker, fashion model, firefighter, photographer, actor, jewelry designer, mechanic, nurse, hamburger chef, engineer, dentist, barber, pilot, police officer, race car driver, radio presenter, surgeon, TV cameraman and many many more.
There is the Dubai Customs - where children can learn how to catch tourists trying to smuggle in contraband; Emirates Driving School operates a training institute for children to obtain KidZania driving licences, after which they can rent a car in KidZania, and drive race cars on the KidZania track.

The big bank HSBC is providing simulated bank activities and jobs and the KidZania University is part of the concept where children can obtain a KidZania degree which enables them to earn more money.

What a cool idea, huh!

Dubai - Day 11 Goodbye

Time to go home. It'll be sad to say goodbye but we've all had a fantastic time here in Dubai; and hopefully it won't be too long until we meet up again somewhere.

As Nathan is working on New Years Eve I did contemplate for a little while to actually hang back here for another few days. But then again, I think a few days of rest, peace and quiet before school starts again will actually do us all good..!

A big thank you to the Dehli Family for your great hospitality, for opening your home to us and for looking after us so well. We have had the best time, and really enjoyed exploring Dubai together with you!
Above all, thank you for your friendship, which we value very high.

Nu tar vi den!!

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Dubai - Day 10 Around Dubai Creek

This afternoon we took a drive into the area of town that surrounds the Dubai Creek. Dehlis hadn't been there either before, so it was a bit of an adventure for all of us! We only had Daniel and Linnea with us though, Ida was sleeping and the big boys really just wanted to stay home and relax, so we let them.

We parked on the north side, the Deira side, and started by walking though the Spice Souk. It was a maze of narrow alleyways lined with small shops and holes-in-the-wall where the spices were piled high. Such a sensory walk!
Then we walked back to the creek and the 'abra' station, to catch one of the flat-bottomed and open-sided water taxis. A cheap ($1/trip) and breezy trip across the creek, with great views.
We went across to the south side, Bur Dubai. The 'abras' were continually going back and forth in big numbers, so no waiting time.
We went to this restaurant for an early dinner, housed in the Bait Al Wakeel building which used to be the Dubai office of the British India Company:
Again, we had misjudged the weather and ended up really freezing since it was really breezy and windy, and we had to wait 40 mins for our food. A popular place apparently!
But it was well worth the wait (even though Anne had to go and buy a pashmina for Daniel since he was so cold...); the food was really nice.
We had traditional Arabic food, tabbouleh, hummus, shish tavouk, shish kebab, falafel etc. Mmm, some of my favourites!
Then we walked up into another souk, which was an old renovated one, the Bur Dubai Souk. It really contains old and new, everything from textiles, pashminas and glittery Arabian slippers to money changers, curios and bargain clothes.
We did buy a few more pashminas, since we were cold you know - plus they were so pretty and cheap!
Then back to the 'abra' station and over the creek we went again. The sun was setting so the light was really beautiful.
It was a really, really nice afternoon. I wish we would have had even more time to wander around, it was such a beautiful, atmospheric and vibrant place.
Even though I thoroughly enjoy the lush shopping, stunning modern architecture, sophisticated dining etc here, it was lovely to get a taste of the Arab culture and more traditional parts of Dubai as well.

Now I feel like we've finally covered most sides of this multi-faceted city - the souks and bazaars, the shopping malls, the desert, audacious buildings and other projects, the nightlife and the culture.
Now we can go home. (But we will be back!)

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Dubai - Day 9 Irish Village

While we have made sure that the kids have had a good holiday with lots of excursions and things happening - we have also had the opportunity to have some grown-up time, just us adults.

Before Christmas we had a fab dinner out at the Shangri-La and last night we
went to the Irish Village for a late night bite and some drinks.
We were sitting outside and I must admit it was pretty cold! Mind you, I had stupidly put on a short summer dress... I should've worn long trousers, a cardigan and a scarf.
But their Christmas tree was beautiful, the beer and wine was tasty and their entertainer was a Kiwi, who had a pretty good voice so it was still a good night, even though we were freezing!

The girls:
The boys:

Dubai - Happy Birthday!

During one of the shopping trips earlier this week, Nathan decided to get Lucas a new bike!
We had planned to get him one for his birthday (which is another three weeks away still) since he has outgrown his old one already since quite a while; and trying to find a good kids bike in Brunei is really mission impossible. His last one we got brought in from NZ but since there are no direct flights from AKL anymore, that wouldn't work this time.
So bringing this one from here is really not that a silly idea.

A bit silly though that Lucas insisted it got mounted here too, so he could ride with Malthe for just the few days we've got left... But hey, lucky Daddy can do that in his sleep!
One very happy boy, on a very big bike..!