Published: October 8th 2010October 8th 2010
Abu Dhabi Buildings
They don't like to build straight buildings here...
Right Day 1 began with a late flight out of Melbourne. Happily got a plane that was not full and so we could spread out and tolerate the turbulence that way! For people who do not know me well...I'll get this out of the way now...I am terrified of flying so will probably comment on every flight that I have taken on this trip in terms of turbulence and whether the airline was good. Etihad like to squeeze their economy passengers into as little space as possible...but otherwise were pretty good.
Got changed on the plane as soon as I saw the forecast for Abu Dhabi...40 degrees with the possibility of it climbing higher. I was the only single woman at passport control but that didn't seem to matter. Got out of the terminal building and had to wait until my glasses adjusted to the heat. They steamed right up and it was impossible to see. First scary element of the trip...taxi driver took me to the wrong hotel but the nice Hilton people soon had me sorted, at the right hotel and into my room...where they continued to check on me! See, being a single white female in the
The main Abu Dhabi Mosque which has the worlds largest carpet inside
Middle East has it's advantages sometimes! I walked into the door at the hotel due to glasses situation...and the bell hop very nicely did not laugh in my presence...I'm sure he did later though!
I eventually emerged from my slumber to head off for a tour of Abu Dhabi. Abu Dhabi is a construction zone. They are still building the city. We headed out to the main Mosque which can take up to 40 000 pilgrims at once. Due to Ramadan it was open at restricted times and I had missed them but it was still incredible to see. Also headed out to the island where the Grand Prix is held which is also still in the process of being built. Many hotel chains have built veritable palaces in Abu Dhabi and they are some of the tourist attractions at the moment. There is an entire island being built off the coast of Abu Dhabi where a Louvre will be based as well as Smithsonian museum...I imagine that these will become the main tourist attractions in years to come. Many westerners everywhere and they are not as strict with the dress code in Abu Dhabi as in other parts
Abu Dhabi main mosque
of the Middle East. I gave up and collapsed back in the hotel late afternoon. Thanks to Ramadan tourists were able to drink water inside the tourist buses only and could not eat in public. Anything food related was closed so you couldn't get food either. Went to the main shopping centre across the water from the hotel for dinner and up to the tower where you could see out over Abu Dhabi city. Made the mistake of asking for tea and was presented with far too many options so I panicked and went with an apple juice...and then had to decide what type of apple I would like! Again, like most countries it seems, the Abu Dhabi people think I'm too thin and I was presented with a complimentary desert following dinner...which I couldn't eat given the size of the dinner they gave me!
Bath and bed...545am start tomorrow...
There are more photos below