A long weekend off from work and I decided to take myself off to Abu Dhabi to visit a couple of friends since Dan was working. The flight is only 50 minutes from Bahrain so by midday, my friend Emma had met me and shown me her new flat in the centre of the city (well as much in the centre as you can get in Abu Dhabi since everything is quite spread out). A lot of the weekend seemed to revolve around food; having a coffee, having a beer, meeting for lunch, meeting for dinner, (Emma was still working Saturday and Sunday since her long weekend is the next weekend).
To start the weekend off we headed out after lunch to the Emirates Palace Hotel. The place is vast, swanky and only a couple of hundred pounds a night for a basic room. It says it all when you see Bentleys and Maybachs in the underground car park snuggled up in their own car-coon.
Standing at the Emirates Palace Hotel and looking back, you get a great view of some of the new towers in the city. They look particularly good when the sun is setting and striking them.
Inside the hotel is just as impressive with a huge, open lobby area. All very opulent, but you can walk around the whole downstairs area. It wasn’t until we got to the private beach that a member of staff asked if we were staying at the hotel then informed us that we shouldn’t be there (she didn’t really enforce it strictly since there was no-one else on the beach anyway). Makes you wonder who stays at this kind of place?
In one corner of the hotel lobby there was an exhibition that we enjoyed wandering around and taking pictures of. The theme was about all the different nationalities that live, work and make up the population of the 7 United Emirates. Abu Dhabi does seem like Dubai in the fact that you very rarely see any Emiratis; the statistic is something like 70% of the population is made up of expats. It certainly had a very different feel from Bahrain where you meet locals everywhere.
However Abu Dhabi does a ‘real feel’ about it and is perhaps more ‘liveable’ than Dubai with all it’s glitz and glamour. Emma took me out kayaking in the Mangroves for a morning and you could totally forget that they city was 10 minutes away. We also found a spot for a car picnic on the beach and watched the kite surfers in action.
A stroll along the Corniche and I made it to Marina Bay where I met up with another friend, Natalia who we worked with in Kyiv, and who has just moved to Abu Dhabi (it’s such a small TEFL world!) As I was early for our meet-up I decided to have a go on the Ferris Wheel (I was the only person on it!) which gave some great views of the city.
All-in-all a very successful and fun weekend. Definitely a place I would go back to and recommend to others.
People from Dubai don’t like the flintstones, but people from Abu Dhabido. … “