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Mark & Bob's Travel escapades

Welcome to Mark & Bob's Travel Page. Here is where I will be keeping a record of my travels for all of you to read. Please feel free to leave a comment for me. If I have time in between discovering new places and meeting new people I will reply to them!

Diary Entries

Tuesday, 08 August 2006

Location: Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Hello, it has been some time since we last wrote. We have to appoligise for the Tang Resturant photo's which we have not put on as yet. We are in the process of upgrading our website so we are able to fit more photos. It wont let us do it electronically so we are sorting it out manually but it's taking some time.. Wont be too much longer hopefully!
We have some great photo's of our dearest friend Juliette, (otherwise known as Casper) to show you. We have decided there are so many photo's of her, (some a little intoxicated). We will have to do a tribute page to her! So watch out for that..
Jules & young Trent have left us till next month, holidaying in Australia, (Perth) to see friends & family. They left last night but I already miss them. I don't know how many times I have gone to pick up the phone to call or Text her today..
Good news is we have Mathew, (Mark's brother) staying with us for approximately 10 days. A busy sightseeing itinerary planned and plenty of pictures I'm sure.
Since we last wrote, nothing too exciting to report. Mark has been on a couple of nights out with some friends at Jujitsu. We have had a few big nights with Jules & David. One such night was celebrating David & Mark's birthdays which are 1 day apart. Last Thursday, 03rd of August we had drinks & nibbles at their house. Within an hour of Mark being there, he breaks their brand new dining chair, the leg just fell off while he was sitting on it. I felt so bad but it was very funny. We could not stop laughing? From now on, Mark has been allocated to stand in the corner with his back to the wall! Juliette & I decided to make our favourite cocktail, Mohito's.. The first one wasn't too flash but they got better. Certainly wasn't a big night, I think Mark & I were in bed by 3.00am but I did felt a little rough for a couple of days.
Marks Birthday - Celebration.. 06th of August
Basically started on Thursday night with drinks, Saturday night I took him to "Splendido" a Italian resturant at the Ritz Carlton. He was still keen to go to Jujitsu Sunday night hence we went out to dinner on Saturday. I worked Sunday but when I got home, Mark had a suprise as Juliette & Trent arrived at the door with a birthday cake that they had made for him and balloons. They stayed for afternoon tea. He got home about 10.00pm and I cooked him his birthday dinner.
Counting the sleeps until our Europe trip... 10 sleeps to go! YAY..

Friday, 14 July 2006

Location: Dubai, United Arab Emirates

The "Tang" Experiance
One of the bonuses about being in Dubai during the summer is everthing is on sale... One of the opportunities Mark & I are taking is there is a restarant special every Friday called "Foodie Friday" where you can go to the allocated resturant on the nominated date and get 40% off the food bill. As there are some very expensive resturants in Dubai and I have a list of about 9 of them which are over the AUD300.00 price tag to eat there. We are taking this opportunity when the places come up on the special. One of them was "Spectrum on One" which was absolutely beautiful. The other last Friday was "Tang".... The reveiws have been excellant, it's only been opened for about four months but had never heard a bad word about it. It is referred to by reveiwer as New York Chic with an asain influence! Well, I have to honestly say, I haven't laughed so much eating my dinner. If you know Mark well enough to know the size of him. He has always expressed his distaste in resturants with big plates and small portions of food....... NEVER would have we been prepared with what was going to come out! I better start by saying the concept of the menu is to share dishes or a price for tasting. We chose the share dishes and were advised by the waiter to order about three dishes each plus the desert. They brought our actual plates to eat off while we were chosing the food, (they were smaller than the bread plates). This indicated to us it would be better to only order about four dishes in total as we could order more later and the cheapest dish starts at AUD35.00 so as a precaution we ordered the Australian Lobster to share, sauteed Scollops, a lamb dish and a pork dish! They eventually brought this massive plate, (see photo's), we could see there was some apple in the corner but not much else. Presuming it was the lobster dish, we waited, thinking the lobster was going to arrive as there was plenty of room on the plate. After a couple of minutes, Mark lifted the apple to find what may have been raw lobster although we are still not too sure, they kind of looked like eggs?? Only about a mouthful. This kind of gives you an idea what the rest of the food must of been like. There is no exageration and photos to prove it. Soon after three scallops arrived than rectangles of RAW lamb accompanied with pieces of green gnoggi, (which I swear was just squares of playdoe)? Poor Mark who was looking forward to the Pork dish, was bitterly disappointed. We laughed so much, with much anticipation about what was to come next. Thankfully we came during the special as the bill ended up being just under AUD200.00... We cut our losses and decided it would be safe not to order anymore. We went to a bar, drank cocktails and laughed some more. For those who are wondering? Yes, we got takeaway on the way home!

Wednesday, 12 July 2006

Location: Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Well I have been back a month however a little slack in the diary entry department. Also in the photo taking.. I have started taking the camera with me everywhere I go as there has been so many photo moments I have missed! I will give you a run down on what Mark & I have been up th the last 4 weeks.....
Funny moment - Mark & I decided to visit Dragonmart! It's like a massive market in the desert, about an hour from Dubai. It's actually a shape of a Dragon and goes forever. It contains a lot of little shops and a lot of junk containing anything from furniture to babyshops, toys, clothes, motorcycles, machinery, the list goes on. If you really look hard, you can generally find some bargains. Anyway we were almost there, we could see it in our sights. We took the wrong turn and ended up at the petrol station instead of the carpark entry. As there is a lot of road works and they are never pratical. Mark was convinced they had blocked the entry. So I had an idea to cross about 15 metres of sand to cut accross to the car park, (in our 4 cylinder Mitsubishi sedan). Needless to say we seriously got bogged. It's 40 plus degrees, only another hour of sunlight, in the desert and we are bogged, (the desert sand is particularly soft). We just getting ourselves in deeper and deeper! Fortuantely for us, we had three different 4WD's stop and even passer byers came to assist. They were from different nationalities. Arab, Indian, Pakisatni. I was shocked how gracious they all were. Particularly as the Arabs are generally known as arrogant. There they were in the white Dish Dashes, hot weather getting us out. We were out within 10 minutes of their assistance. They thought we were pretty stupid and told us to use the road next time. I couldn't stop laughing the whole time, just wishing I had the camera.
I had a girls night out with Juliette and a couple of nice South African girls. We started with drinks at our house than went on to some bars than found a club that had 80s music and boogied for hours. Last Thursday night Mark & I invited Juliette and David for a few quiet drinks at our house... That was'nt to be the case. I remember waking up to find Mark, Juliette, Trent (there 3yr old son) & I in our super king size bed. David was missing, not to be found. Needless to say, it was a very messy night with a two day hangover.
World Cup Fever hit Dubai.. Mark & I got caught up in it and went to all the Australian games. Our friends Josie & Christo had a party for one of the games. Another one we went to an Australian pub called the "Aussie Legends Bar" with David, (this one was one of my favourites nights with all the Aussies). Another time, we went with a group to the "Hard Rock Cafe', that was the last time when we lost to Italy. Very sad night.
Mark & I went to a beautiful restaurant a couple of weeks ago called, "Spectrum On One".. It's designed almost like a food court, where they have various sections of the resturant, ie. Japanese, Chinese, European, Seafood, Deserts & passteries and so on. Before you sit down, they give you a tour of the place and explain the concept. The menu is the size of a novel! It's done so well, you could not fault the food, service or ambience. Definately one of the best restaurants we have been to.
Last but not least... I started working 2 weeks ago for "Pipeline Magazine", they publish 3 major magazines in the middle east for the Oil & Gas industry. My job is selling tickets for two of their social events they are organising. The people are lovely, approximately 12 staff from different places in the world. Initally I am only working 30 hours a week (as it's summer in Dubai, a lot of people are away till end of August). My hours will increase on my return from Europe to about 45hours a week. As the events I'm selling tickets for a very popular, it's not hard to sell the tickets. So after 5 months off work, I'm slowly getting back into the routine of normality and have to say I'm enjoying it.
Apart from the above, we are living everyday life, have been enjoying the current summer sales, have both made a couple of purchases, the offers are too good to resist! We have been to the movies, Mark is into his Jujitsu. I'm back at the gym. Spend a lot of time with Juliette and Trent. Went to the Mall with Juliette, Lani and Lalita for a pedicure & manicure than coffee, very civilised really.
Hope everyone is well, love to hear from you so don't forget to write. Love us xxxx

Thursday, 08 June 2006

Location: Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Abu Dhabi Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Cup - Mark competed in the Abu Dhabi Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Cup at the Abu Dhabi Combat Club on the weekend. The competition was held over two days; He made it through to the grand final of the over 97kg division but lost on points 0-2 to take out second place. He received 500USD cash prize money for his efforts and a massive silver medal. It was touch & go for awhile as a reaccuring shoulder injury has been niggling him a week prior during intense training, Mark also hurt his arm so it looked like he had to pull out. Last minute he decided to go ahead injury and all.

Wednesday, 07 June 2006

Location: Perth, Australia

Visting Friends & Family
I spent just over six weeks in Perth from the 25th of April till the 08th of June. The family consisting of Mum, 3 sisters and 2 neices headed off to Europe for a 4 week holiday and I put my hand up to come home and hang out with Dad. In this time I caught up with my fantastic friends, saw my Mum & sisters for a couple of weeks. It was great to see you all. Thank you to those who went to great lengths to spend time with me. I cherish the precious moments we had and look forward to catching up again in December. Particular mention to you Scottie who went beyond the call of duty and was alway there for me. You never say no & can never do enough for me. You know how much you helped me
and I will forever be in your debt! I'm praying you will come to see us in Dubai soon so we can reciprocate the favour.
Though seriously, although it didn't get to see you all as much as I would have liked as my priority was being with my father. I had some laughs.. Very funny moments! Thanks xxxx

Friday, 21 April 2006

Location: Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Absolutely Awesome... I can't beleive it's over. Mark & I had standing tickets by the stage.. I remember waiting for him to start. He was about 25minutes late, the stage went black! All of a sudden there was these great flames of fire & fireworks, than there he was, standing right there in front of us. Two hours of entertainment, he is as cheeky & arragont as ever. The fact it was an open air concert added to the atmosphere. It was the biggest concert Dubai has ever seen! Heard on the rumour mill that Maddonna & U2 are coming next year, definately up for that...

Thursday, 20 April 2006

Location: Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Duncan's Farewell Party...
He has been here for two years now & ready to leave Dubai to travel back to Holland. Duncan lives in the Greens also, only one block from our apartment. So it was nice & handy when he invited us to his party. Everybody brought something for a BBQ. Mostly friends from Jujitsu! As you will see from the photo's a good night was had by all..... I'm sure it wont be the last we hear from him as Mark & Duncan have became good friends.

Thursday, 20 April 2006

Location: Dubai, United Arab Emirates

The Trent Collection...
I have attached some photos of my friend Trent... He is David & Juliettes little boy! He is certainly a joy to have around, I'm going to miss him in the 6 weeks I'm back in OZ!

Saturday, 15 April 2006

Location: Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Arabian Adventure...
One of the must do tours when visting Dubai.. What an adrenalin rush. Mark & I went along with Juliette & Julie to do the four wheel driving through the Dunes, OMG.... We had a brilliant driver, crazy but very good. This entails an hour or more through the Dunes. One of our tyres folded, (the tyre was ripped off the rim). However they are obviously proffesionals as in no time we were back at it. We visited a camel farm and got the chance to pat some and take photo's with the while watching the sunset!
They drive us back to the camp site where you are able to have a camel ride or ride a quad bike.. Try the traditional dress, and have photo's, smoke a shisha or have a henna tatoo. We tried most of these before sitting ourselves down for a beautiful Arabic meal. During this time, out comes a belly dancer, eventually everyone gets up & has a dance. It all concludes approximately 9.30pm and they drive you home. Our driver decided to continue the 4WD in the darkness, (which I'm sure your not meant to do). We did eventually get home safely and record time!

Friday, 14 April 2006

Location: DUBAI, United Arab Emirates

One of Juliette's close friends, (Julie) is visiting from Perth for 7 days.. Today we spent the day by the pool with the girls. Mark left us about 2pm and caught up with Duncan & Bruce, (both from Jujitsu) for lunch at the Emirates Mall. Myself and the girls went for a late lunch at the Madinat and a look around the Souk there. We went home to get ready for a girls night, Mark & Duncan had a night planned back at the Trilogy as DJ Paul was playing there. As the girls weren't great fans for Techno, we decided to go elsewhere. We all met up at our house for a couple of hours for drinks and nibbles than went our separate ways from the boys... We decided our first stop would be the rooftop bar of the "One & Only". Fantastic setting and as it turned out we just lounged around drinking cocktails and chatting like chooks without heads! Before we knew it, they closed the bar & we had to leave. We tried a club down the road however it did not suit. Decided we would try to meet up with Duncan & Mark at Trilogy however by the time we got there, they would not let us in as it was closing soon. So the boys came out & we caught a cab home together. The boys were treated to their schitnzel sandwich, (very spoilt).. Goodnight!

Saturday, 08 April 2006

Location: Muscat, Oman

Oh Man!
I have a visa of 2 months validity which means every 60days I have to leave the Emirates.. Mark is a resident & does not have to do this!
I first visa run was to Muscat in Oman. We didn't have to do the 5 hour road trip to Muscat, in fact it is a pretty normal practice just to take the hour and 15minute drive over the border and return immediately. However Mark & I really wanted to see Muscat!
It's an incredibly striking city, with many separate areas nestling between the low mountains and Indian Ocean. Each area has it's own distinctive character. Attractively laid out with plenty of greenery. Set along the coastline, also known for one of the best Souks in the middle east. One of the main areas is a fishing port called Mutrah. Further a long in the old town of Muscat. We vistited both of these parts however stayed in what the called the greater area of Muscat. Although the hotel was more like a scene out of faulty towers, (which we knew wouldn't be our highlight as the aim was to explore the area and just somewhere to lay our heads). Muscat was a pleasant suprise & had a beautiful feel about it. The whole experiance, including the drive was a pleasant one. Although Oman is known as more traditional than the United Arab Emirates, there are certainly a lot of expats that live there. Really they have a lot of the same supermarkets, take away cafes and department stores.
We definately recommend to anyone who is considering travelling to Muscat, do it..

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Recent Messages

From Katie
Mark....Well. well, well I can't help but laugh at the thought of you breaking the chair..yes you guys are now beating me in the funny things to do stakes...
Hope you have a great time with Mathew visitng.
Not long to go until Europe... hopeyou have a fantastic time.
Response: Thanks Kate, we are excited not long to go till Europe now.. Matt is having a great time so much to see and do. It's wonderful to have family here.
From Bimba
Hey Boof's. Finally I made it to the planet ranger site, great work. I know there are more comedy moments to be shared so come on, give me something to laugh about.
Missing you both very much which is why i need to read more and see more about your comedy know what I mean Boofs!

Love to you both
Hey Bimba, Well finally, welcome to our escapades. I suppose better late than never! Will you just sit tight as I know there are more funny things to come, (obviously you know us pretty well & we do silly things on a daily basis). We miss you also and look forward to catching up in December. Meanwhile keep writing. xx
From Daniel Van Wanrooy
Hello guys,

Well done with your travel page. Hey Mark great picture in the traders Mag,
The girls at BTI are doing a great job though we do miss our Bob.

Rooey :-)

Response: Hello Rooey,
I was beginning to think you fell off the face of the earth.. Will send you an email in the next day or two to find out the gossip! Good to hear from you... xx
From Katie
Well done Mark on cominig 2nd in the Jiu Jitsu competition.....
Response: Thanks Katie, will have to show you scars of my bite mark on my leg when we get back.
From Ellie
I was wondering is there any gay clubs in dubai.
Hi Ellie, as it's an Islam country, they are very anti gay over here. However I have met many gay people in clubs. I see them everywhere. They are just more discreet in public. They have the best DJ's come from all over the world on a weekly basis. The best club is Trilogy. They have DJ's visit there all the time, another is the Peppermint Club.
Hope this answers your question
Well I see Mark has been a silly billy...wrong apartment???No wonder the key didn'y fit.
Robyn you with the broom & now walking through glass doors. You two have taken over...glad its not just me with the stories.
Response: Katie, Katie, Katie....
Nobody could ever replace your antics!

From Lynn
Hi Robyn, I did not get a chance to say thank you so very much for giving Jenna the confidence that she needed, I know that if it was not for you I do not think she would have carried on with the job, Thank you once again and have the most wonderful time and enjoy each and every day that comes your way. You are a very very special person and I will always remember what you did for my child. We love the TV set and Candice and Paul do not leave it alone for a second.

Thank you again Robyn and enjoy and hopefully we will see you back soon in Perth.
Lots of love
Lynn (Jenna's Mother)
Response: Lynn, Thank you for your kind words, Jenna is an absolute pleasure to work with. You have a very special lady there and I know she has the world at her feet! It has been great to meet you all. I wish you all & your family the best and hope Jenna's health continues to progress well. Will keep in touch.

Luv, Robyn xx