Sunday, March 20, 2011

Visitors from Home!

Yesterday, I got to spend the day with one of our very best friends, Brad, and two other colleagues of Brian's. They were here for some work meetings in Dubai, Doha and Beruit, but had a free day yesterday so came to Abu Dhabi. Brian, unfortunately, had to work since it was a Sunday, so I was recruited to play tour guide.

We started at the Emirates Palace, which I've written about before. The only differences this time were that the day was clear and sunny (you'll see much brighter photos from this trip), the expensive shops were open and we weren't allowed to go out the back to the beach area - apparently, that's now only open for guests. Not sure if security was more lax a few months ago or if they've changed the rules or if it was the day of the week ... We did spend some time in front of the gold ATM, though, and I thought for while there someone was going to make a purchase! ;)

Next, we drove along the Corniche a bit and ended up at the Heritage Center, which I didn't even know existed (our driver suggested it). It's a nice area on the beach and a bit of a cultural center from what we could tell. We didn't spend much time there as we were starving and ready for lunch, but it's definitely a place I plan to return to.

For lunch, we headed to the Marina Mall because the girls wanted to do some shopping and Marina is the nicest mall in Abu Dhabi in my opinion (at least so far - sounds like there are a couple more in the works that hope to be bigger and better). We had a really nice lunch at a French cafe in the mall and then Brad and I had some time to catch up while the others went shopping. It was really wonderful to catch up, but made me homesick when he left later that afternoon. I don't regret this move even a tiny bit, I just wish all my family and friends could live here now too! ;)

We ended the day at the Grand Mosque, which you've also read about before. The tour this time was more than 1 hour so I picked up a few more tidbits about the place. For example, the lighting on the outside of the Mosque at night is designed to mimic the moon phases. During a full moon, the exterior lights are bright white and during the phases of the moon, the lights are varying shades of blue. I'll definitely be paying more attention now that I know that. Here are a few more photos of the mosque simply because it's just so gorgeous!

And then, unfortunately our time was up and the group had to head back to Dubai. I was really sad to see everyone go, especially since they took Brian with them and I was left home alone (well, not exactly alone, Rogue is now here with me, but spends the majority of her day hiding behind the bed as she's still getting used to things).  It was a great day, and one I'm willing to repeat at any time for any visitor ... hint hint. :)

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