Sunday, October 20, 2013

First Week in AD

The first week in Abu Dhabi (AD) was like a sweet blend of luxury vacation and summer camp. Staying at a 5-star hotel which hosted a massive breakfast feast every morning for a few hours where about 100 newly arrived teachers (many with young families) from around the world mingled eagerly, trading stories and building friendships. This same scene was concurrently happening at several other hotels around Abu Dhabi, although not with such large numbers.

Besides trying to get onto the opposite sleep pattern I was accustomed to, the others and I meandered around town, usually in pairs and small groups, in shuttles, taxis, and buses, exploring our new home and beginning to learn our way around. We had small tasks like exchanging money and getting sim cards, talking time, and data for our phones, but mostly we enjoyed the spacious and well-equipped gym, pool, beach, and various tourist activities. Waking up wide awake at 4:00 in the morning became less of a habit as the week went on.

In the many hours of breakfast and pool conversations with people from Georgia, Florida and many English speaking parts of the world, the words in my head became chameleon-like, sometimes reverting to my long ago southern days as well as picking up on the accents of the Brits and Irish. We were surprised to learn that taxi drivers and store workers all speak various degrees of English, but very few speak any Arabic! Taxi drivers have the most interesting stories which are well worth the typical 2-3 dirham tip. We also learned that if a Nepalese taxi driver asks a woman if she is married, she should ALWAYS answer, "Yes," or she will spend the entire ride being targeted as possible wife material!

Now for some photos & accompanying comments...

Back "home" at Intercontinental Hotel after an evening of errands and dinner with new friend, Tarra. Blue outlined buildings are the Etihad Towers (fancy apartments).

Me after an early morning, flat, 30 minute run - not pretty! Lesson: even sun that is just rising here in August packs a powerful punch!

Colorful money bills called dirhams and coins called fils. Now to figure out if a 25 dirham meal is expensive or cheap!

Inside Marina Mall, my first mall in Abu Dhabi...apparently there are many. Yes, that is really a tent for a ceiling!

The next sequence is me with fellow Oregonians Lori & Dan, touring the Shangri-La Hotel, its private boat canal, and a fancy souk that is along the canal.

Yeah, they have some serious gold over here!
One of the many chocolate delicacies that caught my eye!
(I know...wrong brand. Hehe - sorry Chuck & KTM)

Chicken shwarma (favorite snack/meal around here) at The Lebanese Flower (a well-known, inexpensive restaurant) Ingredients: chicken, tomato, cucumber, a few french fries, & some sort of creamy garlicy sauce between two pitas) 
Accompanied by falafel and hummus & moutabal to dip pieces of pita in.

No dust issues around here...NOT!

One of about 30 gold jewelry stores and the gold souk. Did I mention that they have a serious taste for gold around here?!

Broadening my culinary experiences...yep that's a frog...yep I ate it...yep it tasted like chicken!


  1. Awesome! Thanks so much for sharing your adventure, Angie! xox from Portland

  2. Thanks for the awesome stories and pictures Angie.