Saturday, 12 November 2011

Dubai 2008

We visited Dubai and as usual it was great to catch up with our friends that we had made over the years we had been going.  We also had a very lucky experience and having become friends with our Butler, indeed we always requested him, we were able to look around the penthouse suites in the Burj - but don't tell anyone!
The ladies lounge
Bejoy was a great Butler, he always knew when not to bother us or when to take his leave.

When we would return from the beach he always appeared with a glass of peach wine, it was so refreshing.

Anyhow one day he said the penthouse is empty would you like to have a look around, me being me I jumped at the chance, although not dressed for the occasion as we hadn't had time to shower from coming up from the beach.  I love looking around houses, hotels etc so this was a real treat.
This is certainly the largest dining room table I have ever sat at.  I am not sure but I think it sat 12.  The table was solid, I would hate to have to move it, let alone polish it.  All the decoration in gold is gold leaf, it is over the top but then that's what they pay off.
What a grand staircase
This bed rotates - not for me

Bejoy and Gary
Ready for a night out

We had plenty of time as well to catch up with Mirela, we even managed to have dinner with Benet and Pearl, although Mirela couldn't make it due to work.  It was a beautiful evening and we ate on the beach at the Burj. It was a really good night, not long after this Pearl returned back home.  I don't know how they do it, signing up for 2 years and having to leave their children behind.  For once we actually spent a lot of time with our friends and finally talked Benet into bringing along her boyfriend.  Sorry he's camera shy so no photo's of him this year.
Can't believe it but Gary had his eye's closed.  These two flirt terribly when they are together, good job we live so far apart!

Travelling to Dubai became so much easier once the flights started from Newcastle.  I have only taken really ill once in Dubai and we were terrified when the floor staff wanted to call the doctor.  Even though we had letters to say that I require morphine you are always worried you could be locked up.  We were out at the beach bar when the pain started, by the time we reached the hotel on the golf cart I couldn't stand straight for the pain.  I think we were staying on the 14th floor and it seemed to take forever to get there, thank god we weren't on the 20th.  We had pretty much kept my illness a secret but from then on everyone who served us in the Burj knew I wasn't well.

Mirela and I
We have got to know so many nice people who work out there and if you ever wonder where to go for winter sun I would totally recommend Dubai.  One thing I will say an evening in February and March can be quite chilly so you do need a night wrap or a jacket.

Birthday in Barbados

2008 was a busy year, in between dodging the meso and finishing the chemo, we seemed to have a few hols.  I know we went to Dubai but writing this so many years later its hard to remember what we did and when.  It may seem strange to want to record these now but for me its a trip through memory lane and one that I hope will  help my friends when I'm no longer here.

View from the sea
In the May Shelia and Brian asked us if we wanted to go out to Barbados and celebrate her birthday.  I love going with others as you make yourself go out and do things.  The party was 4 couples altogether, Brian and Shelia went for 14 days whereas we arrived for only 7.  We stayed at the Fairmont Royal Pravillion.  It was a beautiful hotel with airy rooms looking out to sea.  Brian is such an organised person that each night reservations had been made in various restaurants and hotels around the island. 

Sorry Shelia, but yes it was her 60th and we were so happy to be invited to spend time with her on such a special birthday. 

For Shelia's special night we went to Sandy Lane and ate in the Blue Restaurant.  I hate to think what the bill came to but thank you Brian we certainly ate and drank plenty.
Feed me!

Sun bathing during the day is mainly all I want to do, but one day we did go out on a catamaran.  Champagne and canapes while we sailed around the beautiful coast.  Watching the turtles and swimming with them was wonderful. 

The only night we went out for what I would call a normal meal, A fish and Chip restaurant in St James, I took ill.  I had no warning that the session was starting and even worse it was happening with other people around.  Within a few minutes of it starting a taxi was organised and Gary rushed me outside. I hated ruining everyone's evening and of course the next day was a wash out for me but also for Gary. 

Where's all the candles!

At least I don't need to blow out more candles!
Coming back for a drink after our Day Sailing
Another night of eating
I'm sure we all put quite a lot of weight on this holiday.  We seemed to spend everyday eating breakfast, lunch and dinner.

It was certainly a hotel I would return to and I hope at some time we will get back there.


Sunday, 6 November 2011


In July we were asked to join the Taylors in Spain for Brian's birthday and their Wedding Aniversary.  The group was 8 and although we were only there for 4 nights we had a maverollous time.

Unlike our previous experiences of Spain it was glorious sunshine with temperatures in the high 20's.  The only problem with the hotel was the beds were hard and the sunbeds had no matteresses, thankfully we could buy a small blow up pillow. 

Our first meal out and boy was the alcohol flowing.  How we managed to find our way back to the hotel I will never know.

On returning to the hotel the Spanish locals must have had a dance night there so we all joined in.

At least none of us suffered with hangovers, in my case this was a blessing!

Going on holiday with a group is such a change for us.   One night we just arrived at the restuarant and we had to turn around and walk back, a sessions was just starting and I certainly didn't want anyone to see me go through me clutching my heart and tears running down my face.  It didn't spoil the holiday though, it becomes part of life living with meso.

Gary, John, Ann, Julie, Russel, Shelia and Me
Each evening before setting off for dinner we would all meet and have a glass of bubbly.  By the end of the 4 days I didn't want to look at another bottle of champagne for a few weeks.

Our next holiday wouldn't be till September again when we would go back to Dubai, always something to look forward to.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

2007 - Barbados

The bones beckoned for heat once again, we decided that flying to London then to Dubai was getting tiring, although in the future emirates would soon fly from Newcastle.  We decided to fly from Manchester to Barbados.  This would be our second time, but really all I wanted was sunshine.

The time we stayed at the Sand Piper, a lovely family run establishment with something like 22 bungalows.  The bathing area was small and of course you have the beach sellers disturbing you every 30 minutes but the sun shone.  The rooms had a bedroom and a separate lounge\kitchenette - but neither Gary or I ever went in as the air conditioning in there was icelandic to say the least!

Barbados can have tropical storms at the drop of a hat and one night while going out for dinner the heavens opened, the roads were flooded and we asked for front seats in the restaurant so we could watch the storm.

No driving around the island this time, it was purely just to rest and relax, the cancer had returned and we were back to counting out weeks, so as not to be away in pain.

Safari with Friends

I decided to get my eyes lasered 2 weeks before we went on holiday.  We were travelling with the Taylors, spending 4 days in Cape Town and 3 days at a safari park in Queen Elizabeth.  We have never visited Cape Town and I loved it.  We stayed at the famous Mount Nelson Hotel, just under Sugar Mountain.
Where it is a must to have high tea.  One day we just wanted a slice of cake and not the full monty, seriously you would have thought we were asking for the crown jewels, but we had come back late from a day out and tea itself was over, but the cakes were still out and we were ready for a cuppa!
We hired a driver and vehicle and toured the Wine Valley, we found a beautiful hotel somewhere out in the middle of nowhere and stopped for lunch.  We didn't particularly want a dinner just a snack and they very kindly accommodated us.  What I remember most is the bread and pudding ice cream that Shelia had, I went for Lemon Souffle and it was the best I have ever tasted in my life.

The scenery in South Africa is stunning, before we have only ever been to the Savannah's.  Cape Horn was so windy but it was worth seeing.
We were swept away by the winds and breathing at times was a little difficult, but I would not of missed this trip.
On another day we went to the Cheetah Rescue centre and for a little extra you were allowed to go in with the cubs then also get up close to a fully grown Cheetah.  Normally I don't think animals should be in cages, but here in South Africa the Cheetahs are dieing out and the whole idea of this centre is to get a birth project underway, as well as taking the cheetahs around to village schools to introduce the beauty of the animal.

Just as we settled for the photograph the Cheetah decided she had had enough and jumped up, it scared the hell out of Gary and I!  After a few moments she settled back down and we just got the one photo.  Believe me this lady could floor me with a paw.  I wonder if this is why I wanted our Bear!
We went from here to Shamwari Game Reserve.  The weather was even colder and worse, the lodge staff were on strike! 

We had organised a private jeep for us, knowing that with 4 as a group it would be easier, also the thought of getting up at 4.00 am to be on the game drives for 5.30 did not appeal to me at all.

On morning the phone rang at 4.00 am as our wake up call, we said we weren't going out till 7am, the operator apologised then rang Brian and said to him, please don't worry you don't need a wake up call.  We laughed so much because he was woken up to tell him he didn't need to wake up!
We weren't that lucky at watching as much game here as we were on previous trips further North, nevertheless we still saw the Lions, Elephants, Giraffes, and the greatest thing of all, in hubby's view, the hippo's.

Watching them play in the Water was Gary's most memorable moment.  It was our last game drive and well worth it.
Outside our lodge with our Ranger
The biggest of them all.  It was hard finding lions in Shamwari, we only saw them twice, much to my disappointment ... oh well there's always another time perhaps!
Our mugs of hot chocolate
We have always been use to Sundown out on safari, where they stop to watch the sunset and you usually have a drink and nibbles to toast another day.  Here it was so cold that we looked forward to our stops just so we could warm our hands on the mugs.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Oman in May

We came back and it wasn't a warm time, my bones started to ache quite a bit and so we booked a last minute holiday to the Chedi in Oman.  We had to fly to London still, as we did for Dubai back then, but we flew with Gulf Air.  The service was fantastic on the plane and we did travel in style.  We knew nothing about Oman other than it was hot, and it was a change from Dubai.

We arrived about 8.30 am and weren't allowed in our rooms until after 12, even though the hotel was quite empty.  We left our baggage and went down to the sea front.  The hotel was set out like a small village with houses dotted about and to be honest I got lost a couple of times that first day.  Hubby laid down on a sunbed, in full dress with jacket on and fell instantly asleep.  By the time he woke up I had been given the room keys and started sorting out the packing. 

We had free alcohol in the room, but to be honest I doubt we touched it.  The hotel was beautiful but it was far too hot and we were the end of the season (so to speak) with temperatures reaching high 40's.
You didn't particularly want to go out of the shade because the heat was just so penetrating and I spent much of the time dangling my legs and reading my books like this. 

Thankfully, I still carried some fat on me so my backside didn't get too sore!

It did make me feel a whole lot better, no aching bones in that weather. 

On an evening we would sit in a little square for canapes and a B&C.  Sundown was still around 7.30 and to find our way around the hotel you had lighted paths.  I didn't eat much in Oman as I wasn't keen on the food so breakfast to me was the most important meal of the day!

I still own that Pink T-Shirt, just can't part with it!

2006 - Valentines

After having such a hectic year of holidays in 2005 I really didn't want to spend more time in airports so this year we decided to  have less holidays.

Our first was Dubai - don't we just love the place - for Valentines.  The weather wasn't at its best but 20 degrees + everyday was a whole lot better than the temperature in North East England.  The only problem is on a night it is cold but during the day you can still sunbathe.

We stayed in the Madinet again this time and went for our Valentines meal to the Chinese on the little island out front.  It was so romantic.

We still have the love hearts that were left on the table for us.  I am such a collector of things.  But doesn't that sweetheart dessert look nice!