Aqua Park at the Atlantis, Dubai

My orange toes at AtlantisI got married in 2006, at the Dead Sea in Jordan. For the occasion, I bought a bikini that fit. One with proper breast support that prompted my husband’s friend (a self proclaimed expert) to declare them as fake all the girls in the Middle East get them, he expanded helpfully.  (Retrsopectively flattered but it’s been all downhill since those perky days.)

7 years and three kids later, I’ve got the same bathing suit. Layla on the other hand, I bought her a one piece from Mothercare just last week. Yesterday, when I announced I was going to take her to Atlantis Water Park she couldn’t find it. The taxi was waiting for us downstairs, the day passes were purchased so I figured I would buy one there and it would be on the expensive side. Turns out, as expensive as the one I bought in 2006.Layla's lunchShe stroked my leg affectionately while my credit card transaction went through.
“You have hairy legs mommy.”
“Hairy legs good in the Philippines” the eager sales woman smiled., ecstatic that she had shifted an overpriced bathing suit for a 4 year old.
(Now I know where to move to to finally be appreciated.) Layla wore her suit out but I made sure to take the cloth bag that was offered.  And the plastic zip lock envelope for her wet bathing suit.  I tried to take the shells that littered the counter in a bid to get my moneys worth but those were glued on…
The bathing suitInitially I was daunted by the idea of donning said bikini and exposing ‘the belly’ to the world. But that’s such a female affliction, the dual sword of being insecure about your body and the delusion that someone is actually taking the time to check you out and give you a score from 1 to 10 when they can just skip over you and look directly at the tens walking around.Floating aroundSure I felt a bit naked but it was fine. It was fine until I boarded one of the inflatable figure 8 donuts floating around the pool. My bum lodged in the hole, folding my belly into more layers then should ever be possible – had ever been possible pre-twins. But whose looking? Ah, the tall, built African lifeguards stationed around every bend. “Hello, Ma’am.” They would smile, peering down at me. I sunk further into my hole so it was knees to chest, doing away with the belly entirely. Until I realized it impeded my steering abilities.IMG_1571I estimated there must be one lifeguard for 3 guests. But I suppose Arabs can’t really swim so you don’t want one drowning in the children’s paddling pool. Arabs can’t do most sport like things. My one foray into skiing was a disaster but with global warming on the up, what’s the use of knowing how to ski? Or at least that’s how I console myself when my friends post pictures on Facebook of their 3 year olds on the black piste and the only thing I’ve taught Layla how to do is order the bill.

I took Layla to the kiddy pool. But she, like me at that age, is afraid of getting water in her nose, eyes, and ears. So she sat off to the side while I clambered up the stairs to the slides only to be told I was too big to go on them but if I ‘really’ wanted to, I could take the green one at the top.IMG_1560I really wanted to.

I waited behind a little girl. “Is she your daughter?” a lifeguard smiled at me?
“No.” I said.
3 more kids ran up and slid in front of me. What is the etiquette for dealing with line cutting when the culprits only come up to your navel? I planted my feet wide apart and placed my knuckles on my hips, a makeshift human wall. The lifeguard figured mommy wanted on the kiddy water slide so down I went. What fun!Kiddie parkMade up for the terrible lunch I had to eat. A something something wrap and roll. Flat bread with industrial grated cheese, which hadn’t been allowed to melt, grainy and cold. Some processed (halal) chicken slices. And…ketchup, squirted on in zigzags. I ate Layla’s fries .

There is a Nobu. But with the park being such fun, I didn’t think it was fair to subject Layla to 3 hours of mommy taking pictures of her food.

We did not swim with the dolphins but we did visit the Dolphin Bay and peak over the fence and saw dolphins soaring into the air and waving with their tails.

Dolphin area


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