As suggested by Claire on reception, I am currently sat on the 74th floor of the Jumeriah Hotel, with scenery that I have only dreamt of. This is the best decision I have made since visiting Abu Dhabh… What a great way to experience the full beauty of a city in one outing.
Maybe my naivety, (and I promise I have glanced at a map) but I was so unaware of the amount of water surrounding the city of Abu Dhabi!!
I am currently sat overlooking the Emirates palace and the presidential palace, which apparently is where the fast and furious 7 was filmed! With endless blue waters and once again incredible architecture, this feels simply unreal.
The visilibilty isn’t great today, as apparently on a good day you can see the grand mosque. I did want to visit this during my trip, but seeing as I am leaving this evening, I won’t manage it. Despite it being a must see… I have visited the Omani Grand Mosque, so I have prioritised experiencing this scenery up here as it is something different and very informative, in terms of getting to know the city.
It cost 75AED to visit this observation deck, roughly £15, yet 50AED can be used as a voucher for food and drink whilst up here. It is definitely worth every penny, to be able to experience the remarkable panoramas that Abu Dhabi has to offer at such a reasonable price!!
So today I decided to walk down the Corniche, which my hotel looks over. Before leaving, I glanced at a map, and found the corniche beach which didn’t look too far away. Within minutes of starting this walk, I was melting, despite the strong breeze! The only time I have ever come close to sweating like this, I was doing Bikram Yoga for 90 minutes, not a 30 minute walk!!
The views are exceptional, with either crystal blue seas, immaculate infrastructure or sky high buildings surrounding me. Quite different from my usual surroundings in suffolk!!
The thing I cannot understand is how empty everywhere is. As you can probably see from my pictures, there isn’t a person in sight. Even when I visited the World Trade Centre I struggled to find crowds of people. Where is everybody? My guess is that everyone is working, and because of the vast amount of sky high buildings, everyone is cooped up in there and avoiding the heat! Guess its a weekday, but even weekdays in London are so much busier than this, especially around lunch time. And I stupidly decided to head out walking at 11am, with the hottest part of the day approaching!!
Anyway, I’m back now, and planning to chill out and sunbathe. I’m looking into visiting the Etihad Towers tomorrow (my last day), as apparently they have an incredible observation deck… I’ll keep you posted…
After a quick nap, I ventured to explore. Finding the city fascinating and generally melting in the 40 degree heat. Behind my hotel is the corniche, which brings a lovely breeze. However when I walk further into the city, passing the skyscrapers, the wind stops and it’s an unbearable humidity!
As the rookie budget traveller that I am.. First on my list was to get my nails done. Typical! I passed this nail salon, but I thought it looked closed, I’ve attached a picture of the front windows.. Not exactly inviting! … This is actually down to the customer’s religion, not being able to be observed whilst pampering themselves.
This turned out to be very interesting, again chatting to the nail technician, she explained her situation. She is from the Philippines, and is married, yet her husband is back in the Philippines with all of her family. The company let them return home after one year if they pay for the flights, yet if they work for two years the company will pay for their return home. I’m starting to get the feeling that it’s very common for people to work away from their families, children and partners for months and months!
After this, I visited the World Trade Centre. This is a complex of three skyscrapers, which includes two malls and two hotels.
One of the markets is a traditional soul market, here I purchased some dates, almonds and spices. I also bought two pairs of earrings for the price of roughly £10. To begin with I was really struggling how to work out the currency in my head, but I just admitted defeat and carried my phone calculator around, dividing everything by 4.7.
The other mall was more westernised, with shops likes addidas, top shop and H&M etc. I found the most amazing evening dress shop, called Bissan. I’m gonna have to save up and purchase one for my 21st…
Despite the quick turnaround, I was pretty prepared and calm about my trip to Abu Dhabi. I am doing my whole trip from now on with Etihad airways… and a very smart airline it is! By far the largest plane I have ever seen, I was desperate to check out the look of business and first class… but the fact it has two floors didn’t work in my favour! The plane has cameras above so we can witness take off and landing on the screens. With it being less than 24 hours since I flew with Ryanair, it was pretty easy to be impressed!
I met my first friend of my trip on the flight, she sat next to me, and was flying to India to visit family for 5 weeks. She lives in Toronto, Canada and stopped off in London for a few days to see it.
Anyway, exiting the airport I was bombarded by taxi drivers “taxi…? taxi…?”. Being my usual sensible self, I was in shock at the confrontation and just picked one at random. Jumped into a black car, “don’t worry about seat belt”… I started to rethink my recent decision.
Turns out he works for a UAE taxi service, so all good. Sitting comfortably and realising he speaks good English… Of course I start questioning him!
His name is Ritvik and he is 29, he has wife who is 26 and they have a 2 year old boy. He is from India, yet he has worked in Abu Dhabi for the past 14 years. The deal is that he works for 12 months, and is then allowed to visit India for one month. So he has seen his little boy for two months of his life so far! He believes he will be working in India for the foreseeable future. And whilst he is sad to be apart from his family, he is happy with his job. As he is able to send money home every month, he earns 2500UAE each month, this is the equivalent of roughly £500. Most of which is sent home to India. Every day I travel I feel less and less like a country bumpkin and more and more like someone with interesting experiences!
Anyway, I am writing this from the hotel. Seeing as I was arriving at 3am, I did not see the point in booking a room in the hotel for that night. So, I am currently sat writing this from the hotel lounge, with the possibility of getting my room at 9am, so I now have five hours to wait…