And She Floated Like A Bird – 2

5 am Thursday in November

Standing in a field of darkness in Kenya, great experiences await those who arise at dawn in the bush. We climbed aboard our comfy Range Rover, Lepeta wrapped us in woolly red plaid blankets and gave us warm muffins and steaming coffee. We briskly made our way through the savannah to a flat hot balloon attached to an upturned oversize wicker basket. A small crowd gathered on the dewy short grass, people stretching and beginning to wake up.Men hovered around the flat stretched out orange and yellow balloon, checking tethers and then the flame bursts with a brilliance in the dim dawn light. The silky balloon begins to billow with each blast of heat and red hot flame. It doesn’t take long as the chamber rises and opens to reveal a colorful bright cavernous tunnel large enough to walk through, not that anyone does.

I’ve done this once before in the bush, but wasn’t rewarded with much game life on the ground.  We climb into the wicker basket and stake out a corner for our gentle ascent. It’s a magical experience to float in the sky, the quiet and calm punctuated by blasts of hot flames, keeping the delicate balloon aloft.It’s a dream, gentle gliding, weightless – the drivers and tire trails begin to disappear and we spot herds of giraffes, zebras and a few stray hyenas. I tell Susan, look for watering holes for hippos; or a kill, as lions will be about. We spot both!Drifting quietly above the busy wildlife scene below on the flat open plain. The sun begins to rise up from a line on the horizon. Earth edge kissed by a pale pink glow.Captain calls out, we will soon brace for a gentle landing, the basket will bounce and slide a bit across the wet grass and we will come to a stop on the dirt road you see ahead – as predicted, we slide to a gentle stop.Kenyan Magic!

Armani Hotel Dubai

It is essential if you visit Dubai, even briefly, you must visit the tallest building in the world, even better STAY in the tallest building!  Glamorous, sleek and stylish, the Armani Hotel is at the base of the tallest tower – my scrumptious Armani suite with the curving windows looked directly down on, of course, the world’s largest choreographed fountain installed in the 30-acre man-made Burj Khalifa Lake. The rooms are snug, subtle and luxurious, cool and dark; they are the absolute opposite of the glaring hot desert. Luxury leather paneling lines the walls making the room whisper soft, a perfect perch to enjoy the dancing fountains. Sinewy and curvy, sexy sleek curves dominate many of the public and private spaces – So Very Very Italian!Technophobes will love that you can use an Ipad to control everything in the room and also listen to the fountain music from your nest above the world.

A new private passageway links you to an enormous shopping center and the entrance to the Burj Khalifa Observation Tower.

Lifestyle Managers field all questions, organize drivers, dinner appointments or shopping excursions.

Armani/SPA offers a fully tailored sensory experience to suit all needs. Highly recommend reserving a treatment to coincide with your Dubai arrival following the 15 hour flight from the West Coast! Deep tissue massage using Armani bois oil with moody resinous cedar wood used as part of a penetrating pressure point treatment that coaxes  jet lagged muscles into releasing tension.

Then on to one of the fabulous award wining restaurants for a late night supper. Savor exquisite cuisine from one of the many options: Ristorante offers the best of regional Italian cuisine; Amal serves high style tastes of India in an unforgettable setting or Hashi – the best of Japan with an imaginative twist on traditional and contemporary Japanese cuisine.

Sexy Piano Bar

Immersed in the glam district of downtown Dubai, the Armani Hotel is classically sophisticated, offers exceptional cuisine, spa pampering and has the premium city views and a high profile address in swanky Dubai.

PACK: Bond Girl Heels and a Slinky Sparkling Dress!