Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Abu Dhabi is what all cities wish they were; wealthy, clean and very safe. It is the capital of the UAE, the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and in fact it boasts reserves of 9% of all oil on Earth making it the richest city on Earth. Abu Dhabi also has the worlds second largest mosque behind Mecca in Saudi Arabia called the Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan Grand Mosque-it is incredibly awesome to see up close and quite a mouthful to say. Pretty impressive stuff to say the least. The bank, oil and hotel buildings are high, modern and beautiful and the Corniche is something to behold-however; I’ve just about had it with Corniches!

I’ve determined that touring around the Middle East has corrupted my sense of appreciating Corniches (which is a funny word and one I was unaware of until this trip)-which are a street along the coast of a city that gives you great views of a city’s skyline.

The problem is that many of the Arab capitals are on the water and seeing all of them in one shot makes them all kind of blend together. Much like Cathedrals in Europe or Temples in Southeast Asia, after a while they all seem to be the same. Not to belittle them because they are impressive, however, with these modern Gulf cities they are generally the main tourist attraction within the city and you have to see them.

After seeing lovely Corniches in Beirut, Kuwait, Manama, Doha and now Abu Dhabi; I can officially qualify myself as a Middle Eastern Corniche expert. I’ve looked over my Lonely Planet and I have determined that I have no more Corniches to go on my future stops this trip and I am rejoicing as we speak, haha.

When asking at the concierge what I should go see, they replied there are 3 mammoth malls to see in Abu Dhabi with great shopping. Again, enough with the malls and the shopping. Of course, I haven’t even gotten to Dubai yet, home of the greatest duty free shopping on Earth from what I hear and regardless, I will buy nothing and love it.

I was also feeling tired of eating Shawarma everyday for lunch because sometimes you just need a little variety so I sucked it up and went to Pizza Hut for lunch. Big mistake!

Living in Manhattan and being a total pizza snob, I never eat Pizza Hut-I don’t even think they have them in New York. But I was desperate today and ordered a pepperoni lovers pizza with the stuffed crust thingies that you can pull off and dip.

I have never been so grossed out in my life. I’m not sure how it looks in the States but it was so greasy and filthy on top and then when I pulled the crust bite thingies off they looked like nuggets of massive cardiac arrest. Of course I ate it anyway and was thoroughly disgusted with myself when I was finished. Then the waiter comes over and asks me if I wanted cheesecake (another thing I am kind of a snob about because I love it) and I emphatically said no, just the check please.

I guess the moral of today’s story is that sometimes you need a change in what you eat much like in your surroundings and what you see. The only thing is, make sure you can handle the change.

Apparently, the best restaurant in town is in my hotel so I am going to check that out for dinner tonight and try to get some sleep. Tomorrow morning I am off to Corniche-free Dubai for the final round of the Dubai Desert Classic which Tiger Woods currently has the lead going into the final round.

Comments

  1. Abu Dhabi is spotless but kind of boring, you will like Dubai much more. I have lived in both and am currently in Bahrain and I am never eating Pizza Hut again.

  2. I’m not sure if you are visiting Muscat on this trip, but it has, what I think, is the most pleasant corniche this side of Havana. The corniche in Muscat fronts a boat-filled harbor and runs along a street with historic buildings (ie, not modern glass towers) and one of the region’s best souks, all watched over by a historic Portuguese fort.

  3. Garfield always tried to send nermal to Abu Dhabi! oh garfield, always up to no good…

  4. PS-get me something nice at the mall!!!!!

  5. Great Garfield reference Buxton.

  6. Hey Michael, I am gonna try to get to Muscat but it may be tough, I am going to see the Omani Peninsula and the northern Emirates tomorrow and hopefully I can swing Muscat as well but it’s kind of out of the way from my itinerary and I am stuck for time with everything else I am trying to get done. Thanks for the comment though and pointing out Filipino to me!

  7. The Musandam peninsula is spectacular. If you have time, Khasab Tours can arrange a tour on the khors (fjords), which is one of the most pleasant ways to spend a day in that part of the world — incredible scenery, clear water that allows excellent snorkeling, all while being trailed by dolphins. While Muscat is also very interesting, there are a lot of interesting Arab Gulf capitals, but the Musandam peninsula is unique, and if you can only see one, I’d recommend the peninsula (a very memorable excursion and a great drive back to Dubai along the straits).

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