Some swift planning by Katie got us a fun, family weekend in New York City before we traveled to the Middle East! We arrived in NYC late Friday night with enough time to jam pack a day full of activities on Saturday with the Bray clan. Our hotel in Times Square provided a perfect location as we navigated our way from Bryant Park, Rockefeller Center (Top of the Rock), Central Park, and finish off the day with a Broadway show, Finding Neverland (and a signed playbill and picture with the start Matthew Morrison!!!!). It was a perfect way to start our trip! We had so much fun in the city with our family! Not to mention the beautiful fall weather!
Our journey to the Middle East begins with a twelve hour flight to Dubai, topped with a three hour drive to the Empty Quarter. I guess this makes it easy to originate how this trip was planned…. a couple years back when we spent two months in Southeast Asia, we flew Emirates on the bookends of the trip, the best airline we have flown to date. So when we found a deal to fly on Emirates to the United Arab Emirates, we jumped on the opportunity for another excursion.
Wow! Another Emirates flight that exceeded our expectations. This flight did not disappoint! Being on an airplane for twelve hours is not always the most appealing aspect of traveling, but when you get on your favorite airline, you almost want to stay up the whole time to enjoy the flight. We board the plane to the always gracious Emirates flight attendants…..and to top it off, we find out the plane is half full and we have free range to choose our seats. The flight attendants helped us score a nice location, the customer service on Emirates is top notch! It certainly made the trip more enjoyable (nothing wrong with leg room and a whole row to yourselves). As we sat on the runway at JFK, we couldn’t help but notice, the sky was on fire! What a great start to our flight (later after the flight the flight attendant gave us her email to email her to pics).
A little more about Emirates (this is an experience in itself). They hand you hot towels for pre-departure and they give you a generous flight package with all the items you would need for a comfortable flight.
They have the menus for the flight, free alcohol (of course), an in flight entertainment system that will keep you entertained for hours and the food is on point. They had a little snack after dinner. Pizza, wine and a movie. Perfect Sunday night.
Not to mention the starry ceiling that will put you right in a sleep coma. And the 24/7 outdoor cameras of three different angles of the plane. That was us landing.
As we arrived at the Dubai airport groggy and time challenged, we immediately began to enjoy some of the benefits of an oil rich country. Dubai airport was pretty impressive.
After a quick stop to grab our rental car, we begin our drive through Dubai and to the limits of Abu Dhabi (three hour drive with no traffic). No working phones, no GPS, no Mapquest, just good old fashioned directions. Mind you, we are racing time. We landed at 2:30 and the sun was to set at 5:30. We did not want to be stuck in the middle of the desert at night, not having a working phone. So after a couple of confusing twists and turns we manage to find our way to the isolated road that will lead us to our first destination. As darkness crept on us, and with jetlag in full effect, we managed to arrive at our destination in the Liwa Desert, about 10 km from the border of Saudi Arabia. We were welcomed with camel’s milk, dates and a cold towel. Oh, and probably the most beautiful resort we have ever seen. Stay tuned for complete awesomeness of the Empty Quarter and the Anantara Qasr al Sarab Desert Resort.