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Published: March 7th 2014
Saturday, we slept in a little bit then headed down to Abu Dhabi for another fun day. I was just discussing with Jamie regarding activities here. There is a LOT to do in Dubai and this area in general, but it can get expensive. Look at Friday: Burj Khalifa - 125 AED, Lunch - 50 AED, Shopping (!?!?), Cooking class - 300AED, VIP Movie - 100AED. That's one day. However, aside from gas and a minimal park fee, and dinner, Saturday was almost free!
Jamie was kind enough to drive us all to Abu Dhabi for the Red Bull Air Race. We thought it started at 2pm, but it turns out that was the start time for Friday; on Saturday, the start time was 4:30. Emirates Palace - Free
So, we caught a cab and headed down the corniche to the Emirates Palace. This place is HUGE. However, I don't believe the Royal Family actually lives there. It is actually a fancy hotel, and where Jamie and Addi's school, Masdar Institute, held their graduations. It is an expensive hotel, but it also probably caters mostly to dignitaries or extended members of the royal family for Abu Dhabi functions.
The outside is beautiful, with a great view of the new Abu Dhabi skyline. The inside is nice and fancy. We wandered and eventually sat down to "tea" in one of the lounge areas of the cafe. Everyone ordered some package thing where you get a pastry and a drink, but I just had a white tea - there was a large selection of teas, and I always love to try new ones. Jamie wanted to see the rose garden, but apparently that is just for guests. So, we headed back. Red Bull Air Race - Free (+10 AED optional entry fee to private beach)
I had never really heard of this before, but i guess this was the semi finals and finals of an air race that includes small planes having to travel through 8 sets of pylons as fast possible. It was more interesting than I thought - Tina, who actually pilots gliders, loved it. The private beach viewing was totally worth it as we got to sit and hang out with no one obstructing our views. After about 2 hours though, we just figured we got the general idea and went for dinner. Dinner
- Italian Restaurant - ~50 AED
There was this very nice italian place very near to Addi's apartment - delicious. Ottavias? I got a goat cheese and caramelized onion pizza - YUM. Grand Mosque
Finally, the girls headed to the Grand Mosque. I personally love seeing this place at night (even though I haven't been during the day). The colors are just amazing and highlighted at night, plus it is cool and less busy. Unfortunately, unlike previously, when we got the mandatory abayas, they were more like capes with hoods - I said they seemed more like Lord of the Rings than Arabian Nights. It is part of the experience - if you're meant to be covered up at this mosque, why not do it right? They looked slightly better on me because I'm short (finally - a plus!!!). Recommendation: if you visit, bring at least your own head scarf.
Still, the place is just exquisite. For further information on the actual background of the Mosque, please see my blog from October 2012. Jamie was a good tour guide though; she's been here many times and actually on the tours, so she was able to explain
things that I didn't even know. Like the Persian carpet was made as one giant piece, but had to be cut in sections to transport to the mosque, where it was sewed back together. There are strips underneath the carpet that give it a slight raise, so that the worshipers know where to stand/kneel. The marble slabs in the courtyard are in square sections with large gaps between them, so that when they wash the courtyard from after the worshipers, there is a drain below.
Then, after the long day we headed back to Dubai for one final evening of rest...
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