Dreamland – 04 June 2010

Last weekend Myles and I went to Dreamland Aqua Park which is a waterpark in Umm Al Quwain – another emirate within the UAE. The trip from Dubai is around an hour, but the time went pretty quick as we saw lots of interesting or new things.

In fact Myles counted the interesting things on the way to the water park:

  1. Flamingos in Ras Al Khor sanctuary
  2. Very different traffic lights in Ajman – they had little clocks counted how many seconds the lights were remaining on Red or Green (they were also laid out horizontally instead of vertically)
  3. Six “tornadoes” (whirly winds)
  4. No pictures of HH Sheikh Mohammed (outside of Dubai it makes sense)
  5. A picture of a man that looked like Fazza (Dubai’s Royal Prince) but wasn’t (he was a different Ajman’s Royal Prince)
  6. Sharks in the water (sticks in the water)
  7. A big old abandoned plane used as an advertisement

Emirates employees get a generous discount at the park, but there was an even more generous coupon in the entertainer book which encouraged us to visit this particular water park over the other three.  We’ve been to Wild Wadi a couple times, and Elle and the boys had been to the a bit run down Wonderland.  The only one we now haven’t visited is Aquaventure which is in Atlantis – The Palm, so possibly the most well-known.

In a word, Dreamland was awesome. Myles had to be convinced that it was different to Dreamworld back on the Gold Coast in Australia. There are things to appeal to all ages. There is a good maze to have a relaxing float with babies, but we didn’t take Lewis on this occasion.  There are plenty of other rides for larger kids, and the obligatory number of scarier rides still for the adult-aged kids. There was also a bar or two if you wish for a break to whet your whistle.

I had to give Myles an impromptu Arabic lesson, more of a reminder, when I had to clarify that “yulla” is Arabic for hurry, or let’s go. Myles originally thought all the guys were unhappy because they wanted to go on the yellow slide, not because they were extremely impatient.

The only downside of the day, was the heat. We made the mistake of going barefoot from the change rooms and lockers. So throughout the day we had to run between the slides, and deviate our course to take in a bit of grass now and again til our scorched feet had reduced to a normal temperature.  Well, my feet at least. I put Myles on my shoulders most of the times.

One of the other downsides was the amount of body hair on display. I’m on the paranoid side of having body hair, and in the past have generally shaved down for triathlon events. But it was nothing, compared to the spectacle you’ll see at any water park in this region. It was interesting that you’d see what you thought was the hairiest guy at the park. But the guy would always be outdone by the new hairiest guy. You never really find the winner, you just get sick of noticing. Or you’ll spot the hairiest guy in the world, and there’s instantly no where else to go.

Myles enjoyed all of the rides he was allowed on.  There was still a few things he was not tall enough for. But we’ll certainly be back.

The trip also had second hidden agenda for the way home. Next to Dreamland is a place well-known to all expats, particularly from the West. It’s called Barracuda Beach Resort, but it’s really only famous for one thing, cheap alcohol.  But just as impressive, is the huge variety of stock they carry.  The first time I visited, I was like a kid in a candy store.  They have a fantastic Australian wine collection, with possibly more wines than a standard Australian bottle shop. And they have all the most popular Australian beers at fantastic prices. The XXXX cartons were AED 90, which equates to less than AUD $30 – must cheaper than in Australia! I’m sure anyone outside of Queensland would want to insert joke here about cat urine, but I’ll move on.

The trip home takes you through the emirate of Sharjah – which is a strictly dry emirate. So there’s always a bit of uncertainty whether we’re breaking the law or not. But the consensus is providing its within personal consumption levels, and you are licensed to drink within your own emirate, it should be fine.

We spent around 5-6 hours at Dreamland, but you could easily spend even more time.  Myles was so active the complete time we were there he was asleep within minutes of leaving Barracuda.  It was a fantastic day, and we’ll certainly be back again. Although Wild Wadi is less than 10 minutes from our house and Dreamland is at least an hour away, it has a larger layout, caters for adults a little better and is quite a bit cheaper.