Thursday, January 28, 2010

Mom Fell for Dubai

Well, today didn’t go exactly as planned. The day started off really nice – the winds had calmed slightly and it was a little warmer. The beds are the hotel were so comfortable that we didn’t even want to get up, however, we wanted to make it down for breakfast. Neither one of us has ever seen such a spread – they cover every type of cuisine imaginable from sushi to dim sum to salads to eggs and of course 3 styles of every meat. The coffee here is extremely strong, but not at all bitter. After we’d had our fill we went up to decide what to do today. We found out that the Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) started today and that all of the stores are having big sales, so shopping is what we decided to do. There are so many different malls here, but we opted for the Mall of Dubai which is the world’s largest mall and it also is attached to the Burj Khalifa (world’s tallest building). We knew we had to get tickets and since it is so new we might have to get them for tomorrow. Our driver took us over there around 11:30 so we could spend plenty of time. En route we could see the Burj from a distance.
As soon as you walk into Dubai Mall you realize that this is unlike any mall you’ve ever been in. Though it’s only 4 stories high it covers acres and acres of land. There is one of every store you could ever imagine including every store in the US that I’ve ever been to and an aquarium.

There were definitely deals all around us, but we wanted to check out the tickets for the Burj first. We walked ½ mile just to get to that part of the mall and saw a very long line and a sign that said tickets sold out until Friday, so I immediately go into line. When I finally got up to the desk the only tickets available were for 11:00 pm Friday night, or we had the choice of an “immediate” ticket which is 4 times as expensive. We figured that this is our one and only change to go up, so we went for it. As you entered you were able to look up through a glass skylight and look all the way up the building.

Then we walked a ways through these corridors where you could see the timeline of it being built and lots of pictures. We were finally in the queue for the elevator. The elevator was one of the smoothest, quietest elevators I’ve ever been on – and of course I had to take a video as we went up.

The observation deck or what they call “At the Top” is at the 124th floor of the 160 story building. We had a fairly clear day so the view was amazing. The skyscrapers that we could see below looked like toys. It just doesn’t look real.

We spent quite a bit of time just enjoying the view, and the crowds weren’t bad so you really could see all you wanted to see. There was a TV crew from Croatia up there that interviewed us for their news channel! They wanted to know what we thought of the building, what brought us there, etc. Then we ran into a couple from the QM2, we hadn’t met them on the ship, but they had on a shirt. We chatted with them and found that they were from Nantucket, so we enjoyed chatting. At one point we realized there were hardly any people outside so we went back in and realized they were all in line to go back down. The line was extremely long and without anywhere for Mom to sit we got right in line, but it still took another 15 minutes for us to get the elevator down. It was again such a smooth and quiet ride down. We exited the elevators and then had to go through a revolving door to get out and that’s when the bad portion of the day started. We’re not sure what happened, but as Mom was going through the revolving door she fell down and did a face plant on the marble floor. It was awful. I was behind her in the next slot so I couldn’t even get to her. I managed to get out and around to help her up and of course she is bleeding and she is absolutely dazed and confused. A very kind Arabic couple came up and gave us some wet wipes to help clean her up but we both had blood on our shirts. After a few minutes the head of security (Andy, who is from the UK) took us through areas that are still under construction to an office lobby. We found out later that it’s the HQ of the Burj. Needless to say, we have seen places in the Burj Khalifa that no one else will ever see. I have never seen so many people trying to make sure she was ok. We found out that she is their first “incident”. Leave it to Mom to make her mark – literally! We sat there for about 30 minutes to get her calmed down and just make sure that she was ok to get to the doctor. I wasn’t sure how all of this was going to work, but turns out there is a medical facility attached to the Mall of Dubai. I couldn’t imagine what that would be like, but he assured us it is a top of the line facility. They arrived with a wheelchair and Andy himself (and some other escorts) took here through a maze of beige hallways without any markings, but came out and showed us the rest of the exit tour that we had missed. We had to go out in the mall to take an elevator up to the 3 floor – funny thing is it came out in the bookstore, which is by far the largest bookstore I have ever seen. Before we knew it we had arrived at the Dubai Mall Clinic.

It was more like a 5 star resort. We were greeted with warm towels and mint infused sparkling water. It was just moments before she was taken back to a triage room. Her blood pressure was through the roof as to be expected. Mom thought she may have broken her nose, but it was just mashed and she cut the bridge of it with her glasses. They took her back to x-ray her hand which was already swelling and turning pretty colors. This all took less than an hour. They had also cleaned her face up and put some butterfly strips on her nose. While we were waiting for the x-ray results we had “high tea” in the lobby. They had asked if we wanted some tea, so we said yes and thought we would get a mug of tea, but not here. Next thing we know they are bringing out a teapot and cup for each of us, and even had hot steamed milk. There were also some biscuits for us to snack on. Only in Dubai would you have tea served in Wedgwood china in a medical facility. It was not much longer until we met with the doctor and fortunately she did not bread anything. He gave her prescriptions for pain meds that were filled by the on-site pharmacy. The clinic’s Concierge (yes, they have a Concierge desk) got in touch with Raja to tell him where he can pick us up. He arrived promptly to take us back to the hotel. Mom was exhausted from the day and we were both hungry since we hadn’t had much of anything since breakfast. We went down to the Pizzeria that is at the hotel and had dinner. Since it is accessible by stairs only, they took us back to a service lift so that Mom didn’t have to take the stairs. I will say everyone has been so kind here. We really had a most enjoyable dinner under the circumstances. Mom had the calzone, which was large enough to feed 3 people and I had the Pizza Bianca. Strangely enough, you can even see her battle wounds in the photo.

After we’d had our fill we went back to the room where they had delivered a birthday cake which we had for dessert. It was late enough on the East coast for us to call Dad and tell him what happened. Not the call he wanted to get. Thankfully she is basically okay, but is going to be black and blue, especially on her face and her right hand. I think having the right hand out of commission is going to be the hardest thing for her. We are calling it an early night, but as we did, National Geographic channel had a show on called Big, Bigger, Biggest and it showed the Burj Khalifa, so we did watch a bit of that, but then to sleep.


LEFThompson said...

Oh my word. Only you ladies could go to Dubai, end up on some Croatian TV show and become the first incident report in the Burj Khalifa, all in one day! Glad Ms. Trudy is doing OK and I do dearly hope your next day is less exciting!

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