Where Dubai was building on steroids (without money as it turned out), Abu Dhabi is just building. Plans are afoot for almost everything and with the kind of leverage they can muster, people from overseas are helping them make it happen (and being helped along the way).
Take health care for example. Diabetes here is a huge problem. Worst in the world in fact as the emiratis got turned on to fast food big time in the last 43 years. Health care is paid for by the state for the patient and their families. Anywhere in the world. As it turns out, emiratis like going to the Cleveland General in the USA so to 'save money' (maybe) the Cleveland General has built a new hospital in Abu Dhabi.
So have many other international organisations: the Sorbonne, London University, Cranleigh School, Eastbourne College and soon the Louvre and the Guggenheim along with NYU. Big money attracts big names. One new man made island near downtown is being built to accomodate 280,000 new residents! Another called Saadiyat Island is going to be the new home of the Louvre and Guggenheim and the St. Regis Beach Resort and... Google it to check out the plans. The bus announcer in the big build up talked about all this in the present and past tenses which was curious as currently it is all just mounds of sand and construction equipment... and of course plans.
|A planned condo community on another man made island for 280,000 people who aren't here yet|
|Saadiyat Island today|
But the Guggenheim had set up already with a small exhibit called 'Seeing Through Light", much of it too highbrow for me but there were 2 wondrous exhibits that caught my attention, the first called "Pulse Corniche". Using the world's strongest robotic searchlights and a computer linked to anyone participating, when a sensor is placed on someone's chest, those heart and other vital sign readings are transposed into a series of light patterns projected into the sky! On the Corniche in downtown Abu Dhabi. Opposite Anton's aprtment which overlooks it and the long lines of people having a go at it! I have been watching it for 3 days and had no idea!
The other exhibit was "Infinity Mirrored Room -- Filled with the Brilliance of Life" by Yayoi Kusama. This was a room with mirrored ceiling and walls with a floor that was part water and part stage where you walked out to be surrounded by hundreds of LED lights that flickered and changed colour all around you. I was lucky enough to be the only person interested so spent ages inside. Wow!
You should see the plans for the building designs too. You just wonder at what people think of! It'll all be ready by 2017, the same year of the America's Cup coming to Bermuda... and I couldn't help thinking of how the two places stacked up in their near futures. It would be nice if Bermuda struck oil I think. That would help.