It is Saturday, December 6, 2008 and it has rained for the third time in one week here in Abu Dhabi. I’m betting some record is about to get set. The clouds are dark and ominous to the Northwest and we can hear thunder moving in closer. Rain is such a big deal here that when it lightly rained on Wednesday the power shut down in my husbands 20 story office building for a few minutes.
We are settling in fairly well here and met some great people from the church yesterday. I already have phone numbers to two women who have said that I can call anytime about anything, especially if I can’t get to where I want to go. Getting to where you need to go isn’t as easy as jumping in a taxi and telling the driver the name of the place you need to be (unless it’s the mall.) There are no street addresses here and half of the taxi drivers can’t speak a lick of English.
Directions go like this: “Go to the Al Mariah Cinema. We are on the ground floor.” You need to get to KN Property Group. You hop in a taxi and say “take me to the Al Mariah Cinema.” He says “jiberish jiberish jiberish” in Urdu and you say “uh… Yes. Sure. Whatever,” and pray you make it to the Cinema and then pray you find the Property Group. Once your dropped off at the Cinema you walk around the building a couple of times before you notice the KN Property Group sign on a building BEHIND the Cinema.
The address to Joel’s company building is “the Starbucks on Hamdan Street.”
The above should have been posted on Saturday or at least Sunday but… we got busy. Here is a quick run down of what we’ve done over the last week. Check facebook for more photos.
We viewed our first apartments on Sunday. The assistant to the real estate agent picked us up in front of our hotel and took us to a neighborhood several blocks from the high rises. These first apartments are owned by an Emirati and are located not only in a predominantly Emirati neighborhood but 20 feet away from the nearest mosque. The price is okay but the place is nice and clean. We are still debating…
Sunday evening had us eating dinner again with Tony, Mike and Jim at a nice Japanese restaurant before we headed off to the Emirates Palace for drinks with Nick, Gavin and Gavins girlfriend. There is gold everywhere in this place. The recesses in the ceiling are covered in gold leaflets. We got this awesome picture of the stain glass dome and amazingly enough we were not kicked out for lying on the floor to get it. I ended up ordering a pink girly drink and Joel… well… I’ll let him tell that story.
Monday took us to a couple of tourist places in Al Ain. The zoo came first. It only cost us $15 AED a piece to get in which equates to $4.11 USD. Needless to say the zoo was not spectacular. I was however, pleasantly surprised by several exhibits. The penguins’ joint was larger and better than the one at the Indianapolis zoo. The penguins where very nice and would even walk up or swim up to the glass to check you out. The lion’s den was amazing! There was no glass enclosure or big rocks to block your view and the male lion was VERY active. After he got it on with the lioness he swaggered around the pit roaring before climbing up the rocks to pose for the people.
The second place we visited in Al Ain was Jebel Hafeet a mountain that is just on the outskirts of town. The road up to the top is incredible with all of its twists and turns. It’s especially fun to drive when you are following a crazy English driver who doesn’t know what a speed limit is. (Thanks for the fun time Chris!) We tried to get up to the top before sunset but there were just waaay to many locals for that to happen. Coming down the mountain wasn’t as much fun. When craziness goes up, craziness must come down.
That brings us to today, our day on the beach. Tony, Mike, Joel and I, headed out early this morning to meet up with Chris and Ann Marie at Spinney’s grocery. We get food and drinks for lunch and then headed up to the marina to hop on a boat to Lulu Island. It was a perfect day with not a cloud in the sky. It wasn’t to cool and it wasn’t to warm. The water warmed up enough early in the afternoon for seashell hunting and for us to go swimming. Everyone got just a little burnt but we all had a really nice relaxing day at the beach.
We will be heading back over to the apartments tomorrow to check it out one more time before deciding to take it or not. The one we are looking at is only a one bedroom but the living area is big enough for a futon. Pray for us!
Future blog posts will be shorter and more in depth. These last few days are unique as they have been like a vacation, thanks to the Muslim holiday of Little Eid and the leadership of Tony, Mike, Chris and Nick.