It had to be a vacation with an aftertaste that would linger for long; so, for some much needed sand and saltwater therapy, I decided to vacation at Abu Dhabi earlier this month. My flight landed at 1 AM and by the time I reached the hotel, all my preconceived notions about this city had been annihilated. The airport was not swarming with people; the airport staff was extremely helpful (my luggage had been accidentally put on its merry way to Cairo), the streets were not buzzing with cars and the people were not noisily chatting in the hotel lobby! It was indeed a pleasant surprise since I was convinced that Abu Dhabi was going to be Dubai’s twin-alive, noisy and bustling 24×7.
Abu Dhabi was nothing like Dubai; it was warm and amicable. One could strike up a conversation with just about anybody- whether it was the hotel employee Waheeda, a South African, who shared with me her dream of setting up a salon back home or Mohammad, a Pakistani taxi driver, who told me just how excited he was to return home later this year to meet his family.
Whilst it was very hard to pull myself away from the beach, there was so much to see and do in Abu Dhabi that the five days I had were just not enough. Of course I visited the “must see” places at Abu Dhabi- Ferrari World, the beautiful Sheikh Zayed Mosque, where I had to put on an abaya in order to be appropriately dressed to visit the mosque and the Zayed National Museum, where I saw the works of some phenomenal photographers.
But whenever I do visit a new place, I like to discover the obscure places-those that are never mentioned when you Google “places to visit in x” or “things to do in x” like this fascinating bookshop called Thrift Books off Hamdan Street, where one could find just about every book under the sun or this little gaming arcade called Fun Times located along the Corniche.
I am afraid I didn’t have enough time to discover all the secrets of Abu Dhabi but I shall definitely discover them all the next time I am there.
If you have any questions about Abu Dhabi or my holiday, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll be happy to answer your questions.