After spending some wonderful time in Al Ain, I took my family to Abu Dhabi for the weekend to see a bit more of the UAE.
Our first stop was to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. This was my first time to go, so it was a new experience for all of us. Although we were wearing fairly conservative clothing to begin with, we decided to get the hooded abayas as part of the experience. – Except Kassandra, she came prepared. I felt very uncomfortable wearing it. I wish that I had just brought my own head scarf to wear. The hood of the abaya kept trying to blow down, so I had to continually hold it to keep my hair from being exposed. Plus with the abaya, in addition to my already conservative clothing, it left me quite hot and sweaty. I know, I know, that wasn’t the point of this experience, but still….
After the mosque, we went to our hotel to freshen up, and then decided to have lunch at Abu Dhabi mall. We had PF Chang’s. I only mention this because it was quite delicious and made me all that much more excited that they have now just opened a location in Al Ain mall. Yes, life in Al Ain is simple. We get excited about new restaurants because we have so few of them. Anyway…. after lunch we checked out the Corniche area. My mom was quite excited to put her feet into the waters of the Arabian Gulf (Persian Gulf) as we watched the sun set.
Then we took a nice walk down the Corniche. Each time we debated on if it was time to turn around, we decided to walk just a little farther. I was on a quest for dessert. They were just following me, or maybe it was that they were just too nervous to catch a taxi on their own. As the Emirates Palace and Marina Mall came into view, I decided it was time to catch a taxi back. I didn’t want to have a repeat of anything even slightly like the great National Day debacle of 2012.
Still without having found any dessert, Jake (my brother) and I ventured to the local shop down the street from our hotel. With mob mentality on our side, we recklessly crossed the streets instead of using the overhead pedestrian bridges. Luckily the risk to our lives paid off as we found delicious desserts for a fraction of the price we would have paid at the hotel. *As a side note* those rickety pedestrian bridges are almost as scary as crossing the street, but I still don’t recommend crossing through traffic. Don’t be another statistic – use the bridge.
The next day, we went to Yas Mall for a light breakfast and then went to Yas Waterworld. I have written about the water park previously, so there are only a couple of things that I want to add about it. First, I would recommend checking the official website before going. They will list rides that are closed for repairs and occasionally offer discounted tickets. I was able to purchase my tickets online for a get “4 for the price of 3” deal. Second, I really wasn’t sure what to expect going during spring break. I didn’t know if the park would be empty because a lot of the expats are away, or if the park would be crowded because people are off work and tourists are visiting. It was crowded. Very very crowded. I do not plan on going during a holiday break again. We were able to get in a few rides without much of wait early in the morning, but by 11 or 12, wait times were unbearable. We ended up waiting for 90 minutes in the scorching sun just to go down the family ride “Dawwama”. It takes the fun out of the park if you have to spend all your time in line, hoping not to get sunburned.
At that was Abu Dhabi. I actually quite like Abu Dhabi, so I wish we could have spent more time there. Unfortunately, I wasn’t having much luck finding hotel rooms to accommodate all of us, and I didn’t bring my family all the way here just to spend all my time away from them in different hotel rooms. Time to head north.