Things I love about Abu Dhabi …
Picnics in the park
Taking a stroll or a drive on a Friday afternoon and passing all the families out in the public parks. You see all the trappings of a great day out: the camper chairs set out with the portable braai (barbeque). It is so relaxing to see them out enjoying themselves. Khalidiya Park between 24th and 26th street is very popular spot. It has wifi, a lighthouse, play areas for the kids, walking paths and hillocks for people to have a picnic with a view of the sea.
Every time that I see an able-bodied person getting out of the car that they have just parked in a disabled bay I am so tempted to shout out loud “hallelujah, it’s a miracle they can walk!” Grrrhhh.
Before I came to the Middle East I never associated a feather duster with a car. Now that I have been here awhile, I can actually see a use for them. It certainly helps to keep them looking sparkly clean.
Actually it would be more correct to call it the “New, new Corniche”. Of course, if I were to call it the “New Corniche” then the cities ‘old timers’ (i.e. those who have been here 6+ years) will think that I mean the east coast road Corniche which faces the mangroves. The seafront promenade has had 2 major facelifts in my 5 years and is currently undergoing a 3rd extension to the beach. The public beach is proving very popular and it is wonderful to see the families off for a cooling dip. I can confess that I do find the use of the word Corniche in this part of the world rather quaint and almost has a hint of British colonial days to it.
The view from the breakwater near to the Marina Mall is quite simply spectacular. My favourite time of day would be at sunset when the city lights come on.
The flagpole on the breakwater is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as being the tallest in the world. It is a lovely sight to behold the national flag unfurling from this city landmark.
The architectural style of buildings in the UAE is certainly very varied both in look and age. It is not quite as dramatic as Dubai, but it does have some iconic ones. The buildings from the 1970s and the oil boom era abound on Hamdan and Elektra streets. The newer Aldar building and Buyanuna Tower are so tall that they serve as a useful guide to pinpoint where you are in the city. Some of the hotels are spectacular signs of Abu Dhabi’s coming of age – the Emirates Palace and Shangri La being two of my favourites.