Finally, good solid sleep was had. I woke up feeling refreshed. It was so nice. So today brought more sightseeing. We loaded up the bus and headed for the Palm Island. Most of you know what this is – A colossal waste of money! They built islands in the Sea shaped like a palm tree. You can google 'Palm tree island Dubai' to see an aerial view of this. On this island are many luxury condos and hotels. You can purchase them for a mere $1-10 million. Or you can just stay at the very opulent Atlantis Hotel for $1K/per night. Like I said – way overpriced. But we had fun poking around inside the Atlantis Hotel. There was a monster aquarium in there. Hannah was thirsty and wanted to buy a water bottle – 10 dirham. That equates to about 3 bucks! Yeah, NO! After being impressed to see what $1.2 billion could build, we headed out to Emirates mall.
If I were comparing Emirates Mall and Dubai Mall, I would say that Dubai Mall was similar to Somerset and Emirates Mall was like Lakeside. Inside this mall was the famous indoor ski slope. And for $50 you could ride down what looked more like the bunny run for 2 whole hours. What was fun about this mall was all the Christmas decorations and holiday music. I felt transported back home in an instant. We even saw carolers singing at a local restaurant. To hear the sound of O Holy Night stopped me dead in my tracks. Are we in an Muslim country? Surely they are not allowed to sing this song. When they got to the part “when Christ was born” they substituted child. But still I was reminded that even Jesus is in this place whether they want Him to be or not. One piece of architecture also reminded me of this fact. There is a hotel on the beach that looks like a sailboat. Only at the top where the two sails converge there is also an antenna. So from the water it looks just like a cross. Seeing it, you might think it a church.
After our time at the mall we needed to get home. The assistant pastor of the church that Ed spoke at was taking all of us out to lunch. Well, it was 3pm so we will call it “Linner.” Again Arabic. I swear I could live on this and nothing but this. Today's meal was more the fast food version of last night's fine dining. But you know – I think I liked it better! The atmosphere was less formal and seemed more relaxed. This could all be my perspective of having ample amount of sleep though. On our way out Josh was explaining the J316 ball to the assistant pastor and his family. Our waiter was very curious and stepped over to hear Josh explain all the colors on the ball and what they stood for. Seed planting!
After our meal we headed home to pack up all our gear. Our flight to BLR was scheduled for 9:30pm. Because of the rain we needed to head out a little earlier. Rain here means flooding. And it doesn't take much. They have no drainage on the roads. Why waste the money when sand will just fill it the 350 days of the year it doesn't rain? Again loading up all our gear was such an undertaking. We brought a lot of stuff. But how do you pack for being a month away from home? Once at the airport we breezed through security and went to the rather long line for KingFisher Airlines. We knew this would be awhile so we plopped the girls down in the chairs while the men waited for our turn. It was at this point our angel in red swooped in to save us. She saw our family and opened up a new counter to process all of us at once. There was a slight problem with Jonathon's ticket – which our angel in red promptly called and sorted out. And just like that, all our luggage was checked and our boarding passes were in hand. There was no doubt that God had a hand in smoothing our path. While waiting for the boarding gate to open I had my first cup of brewed coffee! Oh, my goodness. It tasted like a little bit of heaven. Seriously! For the woman who starts her day with a gallon of the stuff, I don't think I have even had half a gallon the entire trip so far. The other thing that we noticed in the airport was the gold kiosks! Oh yes, I shall return.
We boarded our plane and enjoyed fantastic service from this airline. US airlines have so much to learn. Seriously! My cup of coffee was well and truly in my blood stream so sleep was non-existent. That gave me time to catch up on journaling and other things. We were told that this flight was 5 hours. But the reality was 2 hours and 47 minutes. SWEETNESS! The flight was half full so Ed and Josh enjoyed 3 seats for the two of them. All in all – it was great. Then landing. I kind of had a wave of fear wash over me. I don't know why. I was concerned for our health and safety and had no idea what to expect. Then I just had to take time to remind myself how faithful God had been in leading us to all of this and know that He will continue. We disembarked and went through all the security checkpoints. Then we got our luggage and knew that customs came next. With our 4 carts piled high with suitcases, the customs agent waved us through the doors. Abe turned around and said, “Folks, that was customs and we are now done!” Are you kidding me? We heard some pretty bad stories about customs in India and Dubai for that matter. Once again – God nudged me and said, “See? I got your back!” Okay I admit to having a thick skull. Sometimes a 2x4 is more appropriate. But I did see. God is GREAT!
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