Dubai and The Grand Mosque - Day 3

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Middle East » United Arab Emirates » Abu Dhabi
December 22nd 2015
Published: January 4th 2016
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This log is posted out of chronological order.

The dilemma was, Dubai or not Dubai, it was only an hour and a half away and taxis here are cheap, is it worth going or not? The trouble was someone had told me that it was the place to go for a little shopping - added to which a fellow traveller had recommended a place to us. My mother's gene kicked in and I was hooked but I have been left feeling guilty about wasting the time on a little retail rather than a Dubai experience. Oh well perhaps another time and we did at least see Dubai from the taxi!

Determined not to miss the Grand Mosque experience in Abu Dhabi, we stopped off on the way home and then remember that my naked shoulders and Martin's shorts were not suitable attire for a walk around a mosque. Help was at hand in the form of an abaya for me and a kandoora for Martin. It felet like fancy dress but added to the occasion and Martin was glad for another photo opportunity with Joey and Faye's wedding card. The mosque really was as fabulous as Mum said it would be. It was only built in the 1970s and was intentionally created to provide a historical architectural building of beauty. I suspect it has been influenced by the Taj Mahal and of course much of the Abu Dhabi trade comes from India. Apparently the Grand Mosque can take up to 7000 worshippers at any time and the carpet alone weighs 35 tonnes! It was hand made on site and is every inch the beauty of the inlaid marble and incredible chandeliers that can take a whole human body inside to replace bulbs. The only thing missing was the story of a man's love for his woman that inspired it's creation although some might say that it was the love of Sheik Zayed of the Islamic world that inspired it's creation. I visited the Taj with Jackie, Karen and Tony and wished they you could have seen it to get their thoughts.

The story of the Taj Mahal always seems incomplete since I learned that the creators son orchestrated a coup because he was worried his father was wasting the family fortune on a replica of the Taj in black. Such a shame, but as Abu Dhabi seems so flush with money perhaps it won't be long before they create a black building of equal beauty. Nonetheless we enjoy the tales of religious rituals and religions.

We arrive back at the hotel full of appreciation for the tradition of their religion only to find a note that it was the Prophet Mohammed's birthday and the most important day of the year, consequently they would not be selling alcohol in the hotel?! What, this is a hotel for goodness sake I complain to Martin as very quickly my appreciation takes a dip. Nonetheless I get a grip (it is for one day after all) maintain my respect and resort to pretending sparkling water is champagne!

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