Last weekend was my first National Day in UAE, and one that I am surely not likely to forget anytime soon. Being that we had a four day weekend, I figured I should pack up the bags and get out of Al-Ain for a little while. So, Kassandra and I headed off to Abu Dhabi on Friday, where I had booked us two nights at the Beach Rotana. We didn’t go there with a huge to-do list of things. In fact, I really just wanted to see Abu Dhabi for the first time, maybe get a little Christmas shopping done, and visit with a few friends also staying there.
As I typically do when I go on vacation, I brought the rain with me. This was the first time I have ever seen my weather app say that there is anything more than a 0-1% chance of rain since being in UAE. It didn’t exactly RAIN. It just sprinkled a little. However, this didn’t really have the impact that I expected. If you recall my previous post about the weather, then you can guess that I half expected people to be running out into the streets to enjoy the rain, but really all it did was make my car muddy and force Christine’s biking trip to be cancelled. I didn’t notice any crazy reactions, but apparently the one or two days of light rain is how one knows that winter has arrived. Although keep in mind that even though I am telling you that winter has started, I still have my air conditioning on and I am wearing sandals and short sleeved shirts. Okay enough about the weather. I am a Portlander at heart – a few sprinkles isn’t going to ruin a vacation.
Our first afternoon in Abu Dhabi, we splurged on the most expensive and fancy buffet that I have ever been to (and this is coming from a lady that has been to Vegas ten times). I would like to say this was in celebration of the holiday, but the reality is that I was just too hungry to go searching for a restaurant. There was an amazing assortment of food. Was it worth the money? Probably not. Kassandra is a picky eater, and neither of us can eat enough food to make it feel justified.
After we ate an uncomfortable amount of food, we took a stroll down the “beach” with our friends Christine and Rick (Happy birthday Christine!). It wasn’t exactly the beach that I had in mind, but it was still lovely all the same.
Despite what some people may think, we were not plotting a jump in this picture, but we were plotting. My actual words to Kassandra were, “Stand just like this and I bet Rick will take our picture”. We spent the rest of the evening getting pedicures, manicures, and walking through the Abu Dhabi mall.
We spent Saturday afternoon at the “Fake Souk” and Marina mall with Christine and Rick. I was able to get Kassandra’s Christmas present with their covert help. Saturday evening was spent at Trader Vic’s with Gina, which was slightly silly considering there is a Trader Vic’s in Al-Ain, but at least this Rotana didn’t lead to Drama like it does in Al-Ain. I met a few new people like the Palestinians (that have never been to Palestine), a man from Arizona (who actually lives near me in Al-Ain), some guys that I think I offended because I said they look 16, and a guy from GRESHAM. It was pretty cool to be able to talk Portland lingo and have someone understand what I am talking about. All the while, Kassandra was up in our hotel room playing with my iPad. This is just one of 30 the amusing pictures I found later.
So all of this sounds pretty average, right? You might be asking yourself “Why is this a trip Tori will never forget?” Well, that’s because it all got crazy exciting the next day. National Day. Stayed tuned for the story involving a dirty massage, being stranded, singing the T-A-X-I song, fireworks, a stolen shopping cart, spray snow, and the police.