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Published: November 27th 2018
A lie in was had after the late night last night. Bethany and Nick were still asleep by the time I got up and showered. Once dressed I started my usual routine of getting some cups of coffee. I sat out on the balcony to start my blog I hadn’t written the night before. The air was humid from the rain that had hit the main island the night before and I lazily lay back on the balcony furniture whilst recalling an exciting, exhilarating and a once in a lifetime day. The moment of the race that stood out for me was the three world Champions (Hamilton, Vettel and Alonso) doing donuts on the start finish straight. A great tribute to allow Alonso to join them after a terrible few years with McLaren. He will be racing in America next year in their Indycar series. He is a sad loss to F1 and like the retired/ disabled Michael Schumacher it would have been interesting to see him again in a top team because I still believe him to be the best driver on the grid today ( or should I say yesterday).
Having only just started my blog I notice
Bethany and Nick have woken up and knowing I only have 2 days left to savour the delights of Abu Dhabi away from the F1 circuit I head out to the local Mall to do some shopping for the kids and Yuliya. Bethany and Nick would be joining me once they were ready. I head to the Japanese shop (not Chinese as previously quoted) and find some tacky gifts. The kids each have a cat pillow and Yuliya a spray that you attach to a lemon to spray on food. I am just leaving the shop when the feelings I encountered on Friday take hold. I silently run with my knees together through the mall, the sweat starts to run down my forehead as I pray my innards don’t run down the back of my shorts. At last a toilet sign….. bastard….. ladies only. I continue on my quest. Another sign and I dart towards it…… shit….. ladies only. What is going on?? Just as I am about to dart into the changing room of a designer boutique I notice a male toilet. I can categorically state that it would have been just as bad… if not worse than Friday
if the toilet had been 2 foot further on. I run past the cleaning attendant and forgo my terrible affliction. The relief is immense. After 10 minutes I stagger out of the cubicle to be confronted by the toilet attendant suited up, gloved, brush in hand, wearing a face mask. I said he would need more protection than that, before making a hasty retreat into the mall.
I meet up with Nick and Bethany and we looked around the shops. We have a coffee and donut, which was lovely apart from the coffee was so hot that I could have bought it…. Walked the 20 minutes back to the flat, had a 2 hour sleep and it would be still too hot to drink. The fucking thing never cooled. It really was a remarkable feat of witchcraft. We pushed through and it took us an hour to drink ensuring that we burnt ourselves on every occasion we took a sip. Relieved and with blistered skin hanging from the insides of our mouths I bade the other two a farewell as I had told Lisa I would meet her after work.
I walked out into the afternoon heat
and through the city. Crossing over one of the main bridges to the man made island that Lisa’s hospital stood on I marvelled at the engineering that the city had accomplished. Moving sand to construct the main body of the island, then firming it with concrete structures to stop it receding back into the ocean where it has been harnessed in the first place. On top tall skyscrapers were sprouting up everywhere that I looked. The prices of the apartments in Abu Dhabi were decreasing due to the number of high rises being constructed. And they go up at an alarming rate. Lisa’s building was constructed from first footing to completion in 9 months. For a 20odd story building it was a truly remarkable feat. I wonder up to the glass structure that is the Cleveland Clinic that Lisa works. The building is a high megalith of a structure. Approaching the entrance there are signs that the car parking is free (take note NHS) although there was a valet service for a few pounds. The interior of the entrance (the only bit I saw) was a large open expanse clad in fine stone. There were people offering free drinks although
there were several high end coffee shops as well. The main hall had a grand piano in it that I heard is played for periods through the day. The hospital is stunning. It offers a lecture auditorium, 2 ballrooms and the most current state of the art medical equipment which would put any surgical/ nursing unit to shame. The pressures of the job are high, as the management expect gold standard care to be utilised and designed. Next time I hope to be able to be shown around the site, maybe we would have more time tomorrow.
I meet up with Lisa and we slowly make our way across the bridge to her apartment. She points out the private beach area that she has access to and other sites in the local visible area. Once back, and after a brief discussion we decide to head to Yas Island and to the largest of Abu Dhabi’s malls. We get into the taxi and burst into laughter as the combined weight of all 5 occupants of the taxi result in the taxi bottoming out every time it went over a speed bump. The driver thought this was hilarious, Lisa on the
other hand jarred her back on the last speed hump and appeared to be in quite some pain. The taxi driver ignored this as he drove away in fits of laughter.
We head straight to a steak house. Lisa wanted to take us out for a nice meal as tomorrow night would be rushed with me having to get to the airport for a 2 am flight. Lisa has planned to take us to the emirates Palace but the tables were all booked up. The steak house, a favourite of Nicks, was exactly what I was looking for. The service was impeccable and the 16oz ribeye I had was out of this world. Lisa again showing her hospitality treated us to the meal. I have promised to extend the same hospitality to her when she visits Stockport with a visit to Bertha butty shop and the local kebab house. I thank you again Lisa as you have been over generous on our visit.
We all separate as we make a mad dash to buy presents for family. I buy Jamie and Maia some sweets and had to tear myself away from the Lego store which was immense and
I could have quite easily remortgaged the house to have some of the kits on offer. They offered a life sized F1 car for £25,000. We met up and taxied our way back to the flat. Once home I arranged to met up with Lisa after work tomorrow, when we would go and visit the Grand Mosque, a sight that I had been told not to miss and is the number one attraction of the United emirates. Lisa heads off for bed. I settle into my room whilst Nick and Bethany watch television and finish the blog. Once posted I wonder into the living area, plonk myself on the sofa to catch some tv before I had a shower and took myself to bed for a very well deserved sleep….
Or that was the plan….
As I settled down on the sofa my new Apple Watch rang up a message along the lines of “why the fuck are you sitting in Abu Dhabi when you should be at the airport as your flight leaves in 3 hours!!!!!” I laugh at the stupidity of my watch. And just to make sure I go on my e-mail to ensure that
I haven’t make a complete fucktard error….
The panic could not keep up with my running body, as screaming and accelerated to my maids quarters with the speed of an F1 launch. Nick and Bethany follow realising my massive mistake and ask what they can do. Lisa emerges from bed to help with a “working in mental health has had a detrimental effect on you” type look on her face. The suitcase fills with bags of clean clothes, dirty clothes, rubbish bags, old newspapers. Sweat is spraying from my panicked face. 10 minutes after the panic starts I kiss my goodbyes and jog along the corridor to the lift.
Once in the taxi I phone Yuliya with the new surprise. Her plans of her week off become unravelled as she panics and says “I’ve not cleaned the bloody house yet!!!!!” Honestly one week away and the house is ruined lol don’t worry darling the ironing/dish fairy is on his way home!!
I get to the airport and to cut a short story shorter. I make it to my flight and the return to Manchester a day prematurely took place. I am gutted that I have missed out
on some of the sites that Lisa desperately wanted to take me to but I have fallen in love with Abu Dhabi and will be bringing my family one day. The flight was uneventful catching fitful moments of sleep. I arrive back in the Manchester which is basking in 0 c temperatures, and arrive home before the kids leave for school. The kids like their presents and let me tell you Yuliya, who thought she wanted a lovely piece of jewellery, changed her mind when she saw the lemon spraying device. She was so happy I can tell you.
An amazing trip. The main reason for the journey was to see the F1 and that experience was immense. The best thing for me though about this trip was the closer friendships I made with Lisa, Nick and Bethany. I have always been friends with Nick but only really casually passing at events and I have seen him develop into a kind spirited, very amusing and friendly young man. With his girlfriend Bethany complementing him into a loving couple. They have both been so generous with their time on this holiday and made me feel a part of their holiday.
I hope our close friendship continues and can’t wait for our next taxi ride ménage a tois!! Lisa, our amazing host, went so far to make this a special occasion for me, she surpassed anything I had expected. I know she was worried if I was enjoying myself but I can ensure her I thought it was all amazing, even the weird early morning wake up calls. I will have to go and buy myself a coffee machine now. Thank you from the bottom of my heart and don’t forget Berthas butty shop is waiting for your visit to Stockport.
So that’s it. Sat here in my bath (that’s an image) I am home. It’s lovely to be with my family again but sad I have left my other family behind. But there will be other adventures to be had. For now I need to catch up with some sleep
Steve 27th November 2018 xx
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