We left Norway on Thursday night, February 19th in the early evening. We flew first to Amsterdam and then all night to Dubai. I would not really recommend this method...taking three kids and flying all night. :o) However, we landed at 6 a.m. on Friday in Dubai (which is their holy day). We got our rental car and went to the hotel. Guess what? When you have reservations, you usually can't check in until 3 p.m. - no matter how tired you look. We parked the car and slept in the car for about 4 hours. We then we rested enough to go to the Mall of the Emirates. This is a huge mall...one of several very upscale malls in Dubai, catering to the very well off. It also happened to be walking distance from our hotel. :o) This is the mall with the famous indoor ski slopes. I have to admit, it was pretty cool. By the time we walked around (and crown shopped for Lily), we had made it to 3 p.m. and could check into our hotel apartment (which was almost as big as our HOUSE - otherwise referred to as the "cement palace" in our family - in Okinawa). The next morning we decided sun and fun were in order. We drove to Jumeira Beach and spent the afternoon soaking in some vitamin D and warmth...something that has been in very short supply in Norway for the last several months. There aren't many pictures on the beach because cameras were forbidden. However, I had to sneak a picture of Lily as a mermaid in the sand. :o) The falcons were beautiful. They remind me of the Chicago cow art project about 10 years ago in the U.S. We saw them all over the city but this was the only place they had several in a row. We all had our favorites...I liked the one with Calla Lilies on it. The picture in Arabic with the hearts is an advertisement for Krispy Kreme doughnuts...left over from the Valentine's Day a few days prior. They had loads of American eateries and we had our fill! We did, however, decide that our bodies are no longer used to eating American fast food (which is not a bad thing). However, Chilli's was FABULOUS! :o) We even had some ice cream from Cold Stone Creamery....a place we fell in love with in Colorado Springs. We bought a coupon book the first day we were there and managed to save quite a bit of money using their "buy one, get one free" opportunities. We used them mostly in restaurants, but also to ski, enter water parks and go on desert safaris.