Dubai and Abu Dhabi are man-made constructions of steel towering over sand and manufactured coastline, but there is definitely beauty to be found in the desert cities. Whilst on our protracted stopover, there were 4 things we had wanted to do whilst in the UAE; sleep in the desert, meet up with my cousin, cuddle my friend’s new baby and explore the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. Anything more was a bonus.
Whilst you could easily pop over from Dubai to Abu Dhabi as a day trip (the cities are only an hour or so drive from each other), we overnighted in Abu Dhabi in where we crashed a house party (I say crashed, we brought NZ chocolate as my cousin’s guests of honor, apparently invited to help drink the cupboard dry of NZ vodka which we did with nationalistic fervour), ate cake with expat friends and just kinda hung out admiring the city.
The Grand Mosque deserves a separate post (goodness knows we took enough photos) as the beauty there kept us enthralled for four hours around sunset – but before we visited, we did get a small, teeny, tiny taste of expat life in the tax-free haven of Abu Dhabi.
We wandered through Waitrose(!?) where camel milk is stocked alongside Weetabix, peeped into the passport requiring Pork fridge and admired the views from the private beach our friend has on her doorstep.
Because the first rainfall of Winter had washed away all of the Summer dust and sand, so decided to trip up to the Corniche and admired the 74th floor breath-taking views over Abu Dhabi from the Luxury Jumeriah Hotel at Etihad Towers.
We also enjoyed a rather cracking sandwich (you pay a nominal fee to go up the Tower which goes towards your tea – if we had been more organised or hungry I would have arranged afternoon tea, but that’s the problem with winging it) and mocktails to toast the day. Who needs an actual reason, am I right?
Mr Kiwi adored the modernity of Dubai (much to my surprise)
whereas I loved the vibe of Abu Dhabi more, and many of our (newly
made) expat friends prefer the slightly more luxurious, less frenetic
pace of Abu Dhabi. In fact I felt so at home, in true antipodean style
and started to call them Dubs & Dhabs to the bemusement of everyone.
Waking up the next morning to a freshly brewed cup of coffee and the view from my cousin's balcony on one of the man made islands was rather special, so we simply sat in the winter sunshine until the coffee ran out.
Sometimes you just have to be in the moment.