10 October 2010

Grand Mosque and Emirates Palace

Yesterday evening we visited the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, built as a monument to Baba Zayed, the sheikh that pulled the country out of the desert and into the western world. And it is so huge, just goes to show what can be done with oil money. It is rather beautiful, very large and smooth and white, and very different to cathedrals. Which is why there now follows a whole pile of images, because I just couldn't choose.

So there you have a brief glimpse of the mosque. To go in we had to put on the black abaya and a headscarf. My headscarf kept slipping off. And the abaya is so long, you have to lift it as you walk. No wonder the ladies here wear such ridiculously high heels.

Today first we visited the heritage village in Abu Dhabi. I have been before and it was very hot. Still, not bad. The museum was interesting, it had authentic clothing from before the westernisation began, old jewellery, and photos of the city and people back when it was still small and nomadic.

And there were ducks.

There were a couple of cute cats too but I didn't include photos of those, I probably put enough cat pictures up here. Next stop was a brief visit to the marina mall, where it turns out their stimulated thunder storm is under maintainence. So no thunderstorm today. Instead it was on to the Palace hotel, where we intended to have afternoon tea. This is apparently a 7-star hotel but it's hard to be sure if that is correct. The inside was not really what I expected, it was very marble and golden and sofly lit. I expected more colour and sumptuousness.

The Palace is aimed entirely at very rich people. It houses the world's first gold vending machine, where for cash you can purchase bars of solid 24 carat gold.

Understandable we decided that 'an unforgettable high tea experience' was just a bit too pricey. Sure it would be unforgettable, but it is just afternoon tea, scones and cakes and such. 40 Euro for afternoon tea! That's like 80 NZ dollars. And I have heard that there are places where afternoon tea will cost you a lot more than that but on this occassion at least 40 euro is way past my budget for afternoon tea.

So instead it was off down to the corniche (waterfront) for an ice-cream and finally back to the bus stop to come back to Dubai. Which took for-freaking-ever. Not only is public transport slow but Dubai is crazy big and the traffic is terrible. Plus it is so hot. Eventually though the trip was over, we were back, here is a photo of the Dubai marina at night and now I intend to spend the rest of the evening on the couch with book, tv and air-conditioning.

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