Yesterday ten of us did a roadtrip to UAE’s capital, and Brisbane’s latest sister city, Abu Dhabi. I can say, Abu Dhabi would be considered Brisbane’s richer, more confident sister. I took my Broncos jersey, but no one else there were wearing there’s. Perhaps they hadn’t got Campbell Newman’s press release yet.
The place was a nice break, and more different from Dubai than I had imagined. Dubai seems almost obscene with the height and number of its buildings in comparison. There seems to be a lot more planning behind Abu. They have far more space, and more green areas, and a nicer walk along the waterside. It is still in the desert like Dubai, but Abu Dhabi has cleverly put effort into making the pieces within sight green and covered, and all the sand is further out. With Dubai it seems to be everywhere they haven’t built a skyscraper yet. I’m probably talking prematurely, as I’ve yet to see half of what Dubai has to offer. But it is often said that the planning behind Dubai lacks a level of detail, or a level of foresight. It seems buildings change the roads, electricity, and water networks quite regularly. As one of our group aptly put it, if only they had played Sim City when they were younger.
We visited the Sheikh Zayed Mosque, which is impressive to say the least. One of the guys with us has visited the Taj Mahal several times, and says it was not nearly as grand, or nice. I’m sure other web sites can describe it so much better than I could, so I won’t bother – except to say, it was lovely, and a definite thing to see.
After viewing time finished, and the security chased everyone out, we made our way to the Emirates Palace – a huge notable five star hotel. Other people in our group failed previously to get in and see the place when they tried, as there was a VIP staying the night. This time, we weren’t allowed in without a reservation. Another from our group made it straight in a little while before us. Seems he just drove in confidently and wasn’t questioned. His comments – perhaps just to make us feel better – were, it was very flash, but if you’ve seen one fancy hotel you’ve seen them all.
Lunch was in a cafe in their Marina Mall, and we also visited the Heritage Village to do the full tourist thing. It was a nice place, although craving a bit more authentic ties to the area’s history for mine.
After many a photo, we decided to head back to Dubai. We saw many flash cars on the road on the way back to Dubai. One in particular that got our interest was a very flash Mercedes that a local guy was driving. The guy was driving like a real maniac, and obviously the hotted-up Mercedes had power to burn. Anyway, several minutes later as we were just cruising at the speed limit, we passed the very same red hotted up Mercedes pulled over by a police car. Justice, for once. Usually these cars own the road, and you just have to watch out.
I thoroughly recommend Abu Dhabi from the little I saw of it. It seemed to have quite a few green spaces – which I really don’t want my boys to miss. In Dubai, they do have dedicated green spaces for kids to play, etc, but you need to search them out. And to pay for the enormous amount of water and effort to maintain grass in a hot desert, you almost alwasys have to pay for the privilege.