Middle East Memoirs: ABU DHABI


Flew to Abu Dhabi last weekend with a wonderful set of crew. It’s my second time to visit but my first time to stay for a layover, so there was a definite need for a tour. Good thing everyone was game to go on one, especially our purser!

(Photo c/o MC)

The day we arrived, we made a quick stop to, I think, Yas Mall. There I saw the entrance to Ferrari World and this pretty artwork:

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We didn’t really do much; just exchanged money, bought some stuff from the grocery, and ate shawarma at the food court (got so stuffed, omg).

The day after was when we went touring around the city. The whole crew came along, sans two of our stewards, since they had loved ones in AUH. Purser had rented out a van and a tour guide and our day officially started at 0800H.

Apparently, this is another mall.
Apparently, this is another mall.

Our tour wasn’t the normal one usually availed of by the crew. I’m not sure where our purser got this tour guide (named Ahmed)’s card, but it was only when we got on the van that we talked about where we were going to go. We asked about the desert safari the crew usually went to and Ahmed said if we wanted to avail of that, we had to pay extra, but that he could still take us to see camels if we wanted to… just not the normal ones included on the desert safari.

So we traveled and traveled and he brought us to a remote area outside Abu Dhabi. It was actually shady at first, ’cause we had passed by a place and taken on another passenger whom he dropped off at some gated area, at which he also went down. We were already making jokes among ourselves inside the car regarding this shady few minutes, while our guide was outside taking a drag.

ANYWAY, the shadiness stopped when we entered the gated area and saw that he had brought us to his friends’ place to see their pets. It was like a private farm of some sort where we got to step on a lot of poop on our way to see the animals. Desert safari, you say? More like desert sa-farm-y. LOL. BUT WE STILL HAD FUN!

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My picture with Mr. Ostrich. The awkward pose is courtesy of my fear that he would somehow reach me and peck my head. LOL.

Afterwards, Ahmed brought us to another remote area in the desert where they were breeding camels.

It was THIS remote.
It was THIS remote.
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Had my picture taken with this photogenic camel!
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Camels from afar being all dinosaur-like and Exodus-y.

It was fun to finally see camels up-close. I took a video of one whose mouth creaked like a freakin’ machine and blew up its… tongue? SO FREAKY!!!

 

Anyway, after our photo ops with them camels, Ahmed brought us to the sand dunes in the distance where we had another round of photoshoots!

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Will you look at that perfection.
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Our flight deck crew taking pictures in the distance. 🙂

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Princess Jasmine in her backyard. #chos

It was such a wonderful sight. Our brief time in the sand dunes made me appreciate just how beautiful, big, and diverse the world truly is. It’s rare for me to actually be around mountains of sand and it just dawned on me how truly amazing nature is, as well as the God who made it. Grabe. Next stop, North Pole. Hahaha!

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Next on our itinerary was Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, which was the ULTIMATE eye candy. Check it out —

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It was a vision in white.
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All the women who entered had to wear an abaya.

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With R and our flight’s SO
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Check out the tiled floor.

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And the explosion of details on this one.

The Grand Mosque is one of those places that could never be given justice by pictures. If it were possible to just sit down in the middle of it all and just appreciate every nook and cranny of that place, I would have done so.

Man, how did they plan all of that?! And how much did they spend on it?! Everything just seemed so precise. Measured. PERFECT. It looked like one side was copy-pasted from the other. The whole inside of the mosque was also fully-carpeted, with a design that I’m sure was made to order. It just baffles me how this project was executed.

If you ever travel to Abu Dhabi, do yourself a favor and visit this structure.

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(Photo c/o MC)

Our last stop was Emirates Palace. I had never heard of this place until I actually stepped foot inside it. My co-crew told me it was where an iconic scene from Fast & Furious 7 was shot. I haven’t seen that movie so, meh.

 

Anyway, when I got there, I thought it was an actual palace. Turns out it was a hotel. HAHA. (But srsly, it could pass for a real palace.)

Outside, you can see this right in front of it:

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(Photo c/o MC)
(Photo c/o MC)

Inside, this perfect circumference:

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Where we decided to had a very Filipino photo-op:

Where we made pabebe. LOL. (Photo c/o MC)
(Photo c/o MC)

I plan on having coffee and cake there someday. #bucketlist

UAE is a chock full of surprises, especially design-wise. I had just visited Dubai a month ago and it also featured amazing structures, but probably not as exagge as Abu Dhabi’s. That, or I haven’t gone around much yet to pass on such judgment.

All I know is that I enjoyed my brief stay in Abu Dhabi. I’ve long had a bias for Victorian, Greek, and Roman structures, but seeing what I saw last weekend, I’m thinking Arabian architecture might just occupy a new place in my heart. This visit has definitely opened my eyes and made me excited to explore more of what other cultures have to offer. 🙂

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Time to go home!
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Brilliant architecture at the airport.

Thank you to the wonderful crew I flew with. Hope to fly with you again soon. 🙂

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