"I have my principles but if you don't like them I have others."
I wanted to write my first blog about Abu Dhabi relatively cold and then see how that opinion changed or not over the near 3 weeks Viv and I shall be here.
I blew it.
Today we went on a hop-on, hop-off bus tour to get a helicopter lens overview of Abu Dhabi and in the process learned quite a lot more about the place too. Mostly good too. So my view is now muddied by this new information and therefore cannot be a snap judgement.
Probably a good thing too.
Our first lunch with Anton's family was great. This time of year the temperature is in the 70's and comfortable versus being in the mid-120's and nuclear at other times. So we'd walked along the relatively new Corniche adjoining the immense white sand beach (7- mile beach! Is that all you can do?) to cross the bridge separating the island of Abu Dhabi with another man made island (Abu Dhabi is all islands just off the mainland so water is everywhere and so are bridges) to a grill restaurant specialising in local style food.
That was great but I was also reintroduced to that great conundrum that I'd first come across in Dubai 5 years ago concerning the loo.
First of all the line to get in was down the stairs and around the corner. I'd of course forgotten that there are no urinals outside of the western oriented hotels and restaurants because of the local attire. Many men wear long robes called the 'dish-dash' so cannot easily, well, go about things. So there are only stalls. Just like the ladies in fact. Inside the stalls in addition to the usual lay out is a spray gun that one can only assume cleans those parts otherwise unreachable. And now here is the conundrum. Or in fact two which therefore makes it or should I say them, conundra.
1) why are all the stalls bone dry when there is a hose about that clearly has its uses?
2) how on earth is it possible to go about your business, use the hose and have no subsequent sign of clothes being either creased or wet?
For local culture has it that men have to wash pretty much everything before they pray which in itself is 5 times a day therefore that means a lot of washing. And in the act of washing, you only have 2 hands which by my assessment given the needs, the clothes, the hose, etc is at least one hand too few.
Difficult questions to ask.
So the food was good, the sweets in particularly fabulous, the mint tea lovely and the local coffee mind altering in both its strength and sweetness. Great start.
Next day came Ferrari World and the largest indoor theme park in the world (what great PR for Ferrari to have a theme park in the country of one of their best customers!).
|Ferrari World... Really|
|"Right Uncle Mark, don't get scared". "OK Tudor, now how fast does this gooooooooooooooooo...?"|
|"Is it over yet?"|
We did everything on offer including the fastest roller-coaster in the world (I was glad I hadn't eaten a big breakfast, twice actually as I went again with Tudor, Anton's oldest son) and a competitive Ferrari race car simulator where I came a comprehensive last followed by dinner at Rojo's Roller Coaster Restaurant in the newly opened Yas Mall (the biggest mall in the world) -- yes, a restaurant where you ordered by iPad and had the food and drink delivered by roller coaster through a well designed albeit Heath Robinson style series of lines and pulleys that brought your order to your table side. Still hot and only a little shaken up.
And today was the Hop-On, Hop-Off bus trip which was as usual terrific (I am a big supporter of this innovation).
|The first sighting of the Grand Mosque from the bus|
So if Abu Dhabi was a child and it came and kicked me on the shin, at this moment I'd probably smile and give it sixpence. Make it a shilling. What the heck.