Nice to Meet You, Abu Dhabi, UAE!
Just a short hour and half drive from Dubai, we reached Abu Dhabi, capital of UAE. We were greeted by a gust of hot air. The heat in Dubai was brutal, but the heat in Abu Dhabi is even more blistering. The heat reached 113F, what a record!
The tour begin with Shiekh Zayed Grand Mosque. It is the world’s largest mosque. No words can truly express how magnificent and mesmerizing the Grand Mosque is. From a distance away, I was stunned at its size. A closer look further exposed its exquisiteness.
Access is granted to all regardless of religious beliefs. However, women must be covered from head to toe. I got to try on the traditional dress. Visiting the mosque dressed in an abaya and hijab made the visit much more authentic. 🙂
The white marble exterior heightened the mosque’s grand appearance. The main prayer room from ceiling to the floor is decorated in details. The walls are embellished with marble flowers. The back wall listed all of God’s name in elegant script. Extravagant chandeliers hung inside its halls and foyers. Intricate art work decorated each window.
According to our guide, the mosque cost roughly $2 billion dirhams and 11 years to complete. We could tell no change was spared during construction. 🙂
Nearby the mosque is a ‘museum’. The definition of museum at UAE slightly differs from the usual meaning. The museum is essentially an open art gallery. Visitors can purchase beautiful carpentry, expensive jewelries, delicate tableware and well crafted furniture. My wallet would weep too loudly if I had made any purchases.
The tour continued to Emirates Palace.
A loaded tank was parked outside the Emirates Palace to prevent any one lingering outside for too long or entering the hotel without an actual purpose. Gotta protect the guests!
Side story: A Chinese lady was too focused on taking the best photo when she cross “the line”. Immediately, the armed vehicle turned the guns to her. Hope she got a great photo.
I’ll be over here instead…
Across the street is the Etihad Towers. I felt a certain connection since I just watched Fast and Furious 7 on the flight to Dubai. Vin Diesel and Paul Walker drove through the penthouse into the neighboring towers. Just remember, cars don’t fly.
Next stop – the Heritage Village. An open museum that showcases historical Arabic living. We bypassed everything and went straight for food and A/C (yes, we literally stood underneath the AC for a good minute to cool off) at Al Asalah, a local Arab restaurant. After lunch we strolled outside the restaurant to find the beach with Abu Dhabi’s striking city skyline. 🙂
We made a quick stop at the Date Market. Each store offered a wide variety of dates. There are fresh ones and flavored ones. I already picked up two boxes of regular dates to bring back home. 🙂
The tour ended at Yas Island/Ferrari World. Ferrari World is world’s largest indoor theme park and houses the world’s fastest roller coaster. Since we didn’t buy admission tickets, we only visited the official merchandise store. The store sold items from a Ferrari shirt to Ferrari purses to Ferrari 24K gold cuff-inks. Cray!
Sidestory: J and I decided to get a cold treat after a hot day. A sign advertised 100 gram for 11 dirhams. I somehow managed to dispense exactly 100 gram of sorbet. Nothing more and nothing less. That’s what you call talented! 🙂
A visit to the dazzling capital taught me the true definition of rich. From the Grand Mosque to Emirates Palace, everything can only be described as extraordinary. Abu Dhabi is certainly worth a visit. 🙂