Winter Break in Abu Dhabi, Part Two

So I’m a pretty awful person and I didn’t update this like I said I would. My only excuse is that I’ve been having a blast. Well, not exactly a blast: more like a chill, nice getaway from school and work, and getting to relax with my family. It was actually pretty fun for me so I guess that makes me boring but gosh it felt so good not having anything to do. Anyway, I’m ranting.

I return to the States tomorrow, and it’s bittersweet. This trip is why I was so okay with my parents moving so far away, because I had a time I could look forward to seeing them. But August turned into December, and now my trip is over. The normal drag of life is already starting to appear, starting with my work schedule next week. I’m not ready to go back to the OG but is anyone ever? Then after that is school, which hopefully is not as grueling as last semester was.

I’ve enjoyed my stay and had my first taste of the foreign nether lands of Arabia. The UAE is relatively a pretty young country, less than 50 years old, and the result of the economical boom of oil. Abu Dhabi comprises of many islands along the coast of UAE. It is the big toe of Saudi Arabia’s peninsula, facing the Persian Gulf across from Iran. Abu Dhabi is the capital of this country, along as the financial district.You’re probably more familiar with Dubai, which is the tourist spot of UAE and an hour north of Abu Dhabi. I don’t know how other people define cities but for me, a city is a city if you can see a skyline (the silhouette of skyscrapers) in the distance. Abu Dhabi has plenty of skylines and is perhaps the cleanest city I’ve ever been in.

Here’s What I Learned About Abu Dhabi

1.There are no homeless people/peddlers here. Not one. I know that’s a weird observation but it’s something I’ve noticed in every place I’ve visited so their absence was noted. Not that it’s a bad thing. I just didn’t know that was a real thing. Everyone has a job/home.

2. The work week is from Sunday to Thursday. The weekend is Friday and Saturday. UAE is primarily a Muslim country and their day of worship is Friday. That being said, no one wakes up till about noon on Friday or Saturday. And people greet Friday with a massive brunch.

3. It doesn’t rain here.. it fogs.

4. Some people do not know how to drive and it’s illegal to flip them off. Even if they stop in the middle of the road with no warning.

5. Malls are a part of their culture here. It’s too hot to walk around and shop so everything is consolidated into a mall. Toy stores, restaurants, Carrefour (which is their own version of Walmart but much more intense). And the sales people here like to grab on to your arm and usher you towards to their product to sell it to you.

6. There is an array of people here and they are very nice. They range from the local citizens to tourists to ex-pats to workers. A lot of people immigrate here from countries such as Pakistan and the Philippines to find jobs. A lot of the jobs also offer housing allowance and provide bus transportation.

7. Everyone smells really good. Smell is an important part of their culture and a part of how you present yourself. It is important to smell good. That being said, there are perfume kiosks all over the mall with sales ladies who spray you for a living.

8. Number facts! Their currency is in dirhams. One dollar is equivalent to 3.65 dirhams. Everything is in the metric system here so I had no idea what the temperature ever was. And Abu Dhabi is ten hours ahead of Central Time Zone so while everyone is falling asleep back home, I’m waking up!

9. I wasn’t a huge fan of the malls because they were so massive, it would take me days to figure out what store I really liked. I was, however, a fan of the soukhs. A soukh is a much smaller mall that sells jewelry, scarves, rugs, and other random oddities. And the best part? You can haggle with them, so whatever they’re selling it for, you try and cut a cheaper deal.

I hate to end on an odd number but that’s all I can think of right now. I’ll be flying out tomorrow and I’m excited to see my cats but I’m sad to leave my parents. Post pictures later. Bye!

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