BootsnAll Travel Network

July 2nd, 2008 Abu Dhabi, UAE

I woke up at 1035 am still feeling tired.  I had probably overslept and was feeling drowsy and groggy from the benedryl I took last night.  I hung out in my room for a little while and then decided to head off with the hotel’s free shuttle to Marina mall.  Apparently this was the tourist mall, but I was burnt, hot and wanted just to be inside and kept cool.  The mall was really nice, brand new, and had a ton of shops.  I was really hungry since I hadn’t really ate much the past few days.  I have lost approximately 15 pounds since I have left, which just tells everyone how much weight I gained this past year in law school.  I have about 10-15 pounds left which I expect to lose over the next 6 months hopefully.

Anyway after hitting up Burger King which wasn’t that cheap, I then bought a movie ticket for a 1pm movie to see Incredible Hulk.  I love seeing movies when I travel.  I find it exotic watching movies in other countries.  Generally the theaters are quite nice, the one in Bangkok is still the nicest theater I have been too probably period.  I walked around, updated my paper journal to keep my memories in order for the next time I had a chance to update my blog.  I got some candy at a stand and went to the movie.  It was open I got a great seat and was able to put my feet up.  The movie was a little long, but action packed and I enjoyed it.

The movie got out at around 3pm and now I had to decide what I wanted to do.  I jumped on a free government bus and luckily it took me back to the side entrance of my hotel!  Before I took the free shuttle to the mall a worker there told me about this free government bus that had just started several days prior to my arrival, so I took advantage of it considering this country and city is so damn expensive!

I got back to the hotel and immediately grabbed a cab to the downtown area.  I picked a random place on the map that was suggested to me.  The cab dropped me off basically near nothing so I took the liberty upon myself to walk around and see what I could find.  I eventually stumbled across an internet cafe and spent an hour there emailing and stuff.  I couldn’t update my blog as for some reason it was blocked just like how it was blocked using my friend’s internet in Mumbai.  Anyway at around 425pm I left the internet cafe and just started walking around.  I was in the mood for two things.  Shawarma and Shisha both native to the Middle East.  It was really hot out and I had my back pack with me and I walked around for about an hour or so and actually picked up a nice nike watch along the way.  It was only 10 dhirams.  The guy wanted 20 and I got him down to 10 probably should have paid 5-7 but I needed a watch.  The watch I had traveled with since last year broke in the pool.  It was supposed to be water resistant for several meters but not the case.  It was a good watch and will be missed.  After walking around, and basically seeing that there was nothing to do in downtown Abu Dhabi I got a cab and told him I wanted to go to a cafe that had Shisha.  He took me to this place called “Special Cafe.”  The guy kept saying that the place was a “special cafe,” which could imply that it had marajuana or something.  I kept saying “I don’t want a special cafe,” and the guy finally said “no that is the name,” I responded with “oh ok thanks.”  He dropped me off and it was perfect.  It was airconditioned, I got some water and a sprite with ice, and a mixed cocktail of Shisha.  I sat, updated my blog, then read my book and smoked some shisha.  It is just something you have to do in the Middle East.  It is thousands of years old and was a must.

After about 2 hours or so I left the cafe and found myself along the beach.  I noticed that there were a lot of people hanging along the boundary of the beach so I went to check it out.  Apparently this was the inagural day of the Abu Dhabi Beach.  They produced the world’s longest ribbon banner ceremony which I was apart of technically.  I touched it and it went passed me!  I walked up the beach, I got handed a nice small wooden flag of the UAE and some drink.  I snapped several photos and just enjoyed the sunset overlooking the breakwater of Abu Dhabi.

I had to be at the airport for my 255am flight about 3 hours before, so I only had time to do a little bit more.  I went back to the hotel and hung out for about 1.5 hours and at around 9pm or so I took a taxi to this place called Lebonese Flower.  I wanted some local food that had sharwama and other local dishes.  It was recommended to me by the hotel and it actually turned out to be quite expensive but really good.  I got a grilled kebab and then took a hummos and meat sharwama plate back with me to take on the plane.  The flight from Abu Dhabi to Jo’burg south africa would be about 8.5 hours so I wanted some decent food on the plane.

I left the restaurant and was back home around 10pm.  I watched a movie till my watch alarm struck 11pm.  This was time to tie up loose ends and make sure I hadn’t forgotten anything around the room.  I brought my stuff down to the reception area, paid for my incidentals which was basically one drink at the pool and lunch, and it was certainly not cheap.  I think I was ripped off but I didn’t have receipts and didn’t have time to argue so I paid it.  All in all in one sleepnig night and two travel nights I spent quite a bit in this city.  It is definitely made for people who work there similar to how expensive sweden and the scandanavian countries are for tourists vs. how affordable it is for locals.

I got a taxi to the airport and had a little issue.  I forgot to make sure he would turn the meter on and as we pull away I said put the meter on.  He said no meter and then I said well how much will it be.  He said however much you like.  That is a basic trap and a scheme to guilt someone into paying a lot. Eventually he said 75 dhirams which is more than I paid coming.  He said 75 plus my tips you know for cigarettes and sharwama and stuff.  I was not happy, but had no choice.  I also only had about 110 dhirams on me so money was getting tight and was not about to take out more money.  When we got to the airport I tipped him 10 which was fine considering the bastard deserved nothing for ripping me off.  Using the meter it should be less I think for the ride.  It is decently far but not that far.

I arrived at the airport just before midnight and it was straight up pandamonium.


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