Thursday, December 6, 2012

Dubai & Bahrain!!!

I went on a short trip to the UAE and Bahrain a few weeks ago with two good friends here in Kenya.  We all needed to renew our visas so the timing worked out well and I wouldn't have to travel alone somewhere since Jerrod's visa doesn't expire until February.  Since we don't have a "work permit" yet for Kenya, we are on tourist visas that last 3 months.  After the 3 months is up you get it renewed for another 3 months.  After that 3 months is up you have to leave East Africa for a few days in order to get a new tourist visa in Kenya.  So basically we have to leave East Africa every 6 months for a new visa until we can get approved for a work permit or missionary visa.  It's actually really annoying but because of it I was able to see a small bit of the Middle East!  Dubai was the cheapest flight out of Nairobi besides Ethiopia, and I mean what is there to see in Ethiopia? lol So the 3 of us journeyed to Dubai & Bahrain for a few days!  I must say I was ready for a break from Nairobi and Kenya in general.  We really had no idea what to expect and I must say that both places exceeded my expectations completely!

I'll start with Dubai, UAE....
We flew in to the airport which was so nice and Western feeling, immediately found a Starbucks to get our fix because it had been a few months for me since I had Starbucks, then made our way out of the airport (after we found Daley's passport...long story) to catch the metro rail.  It was only $6/day so we definitely decided to take the rail instead of a taxi.  I couldn't get over all the huge buildings that were so modern looking.  I felt like I was in the future or something.  We got off near The Dubai Mall, so we could see the Burj Khalifa.  It's currently the Tallest Building in the world standing at 2,722 feet!!  Here are some pics of that...




Then we walked around the city which was super clean, and made our way to the Dubai Mall.  It's the World's Largest Mall, with over 1,200 shops!!!  They had everything you could think of from designer brands, to shops you can actually afford, restaurants, coffee shops, tons of food courts, literally everything!  It was awesome!  In the mall is the World's Largest Indoor Aquarium with the World's Largest Viewing Panel!  I think Dubai just wants the worlds largest everything :) It holds 10 million liters of water...crazy!  Had lots of fish, sharks and rays which were really awesome to see so close.  Here are a few pics I took walking to the mall, then pics of the aquarium.















We shopped around the mall a bit, found Forever 21 which was super fun, had more Starbucks, and ate lunch at Macaroni Grill....amazing.  It was delicious, not sure if it's because I hadn't had it in so long, or if it was really that good LOL.  After spending the day in Dubai we headed back to the airport to board a plane to Bahrain.  Bahrain is a little island off the coast of Saudi Arabia.  Has about 700,000 people in it.  My friend Michelle has a life long friend that is stationed there in the Navy so were able to stay for FREE!  Here is where we stayed in Bahrain!  These pics were taken looking off the porch.  It was really beautiful!  It's called "The Floating City"...





Bahrain is really Western feeling which was a nice break from Kenya.  We were able to eat good food, site see a bit, go to the mall, and relax!  Our first full day we took a tour of the Grand Mosque.  I must say I had no idea I would find it so interesting.  I've always wanted to know more about the Islam religion, especially because there are quite a few Muslims in Kenya.  We had to wear the full burka in order to tour the mosque, and our guide told us we could ask anything we wanted.  So, we definitely took advantage of that.  We sat down in the upper balcony of the Mosque for about 3 hours asking a million questions and we talked about the differences between Christianity and Islam.  I learned so much and I must say since that conversation I have had a much greater appreciation for Christianity.  What Jesus did for us on the cross is the foundation for everything we believe, which they see as nothing of importance in their faith.  It was really sad though, to see hundreds of people praying and believing in something that will only take them to hell.  I have to say it all became very real to me.  We need more people to GO, and share the gospel especially to the Muslim population which is over 2 billion people today!

The 4 of us on the tour....

From the balcony, looking down where they do the prayers.

An outside area for them to pray if inside is full.








Where they preach from on Fridays...

Me with the guide...

The leader who is singing the call to prayer...


Outside the Grand Mosque


The Bahraini flags...



We even got to go to a Camel Farm!







We got to hang out at the pool one day that over looks the Persian Gulf :)



Blessings!

Amanda
   

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