Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Visitor Adventures: Lost in Abu Dhabi

If you follow my blog regularly, you know that Brian and I have a knack for getting lost while on vacation. Now, one would think that since we live in Abu Dhabi and it's not technically our vacation, that we would be spared the 'getting lost adventure', but alas, no.

Brian was in Dubai for work for the day so I had charge of the visitors and a great plan to take a tour of the Falcon hospital where they care for and operate on falcons. I rented a car big enough for the 5 of us, looked up directions on Google Maps and left in plenty of time to make our 10:00 tour.

And all was going well ... until the Yas Island interchange. Where I took a wrong turn - and as you know, a wrong turn in Abu Dhabi means at least 15-20 minutes to get back to where you started. I laughed it off and made the best of it by pointing out Ferrari world, the Yas Viceroy hotel and the IKEA on Yas Island.

Back on track and the correct turn this time. But then things went awry again and the road we were on didn't seem to be listed on the map I had printed. Things didn't look good and I didn't have a phone number for the hospital. So, we tried to flag a taxi, which didn't work and stopped alongside an accident to ask for help ... which didn't help. More driving around and I decided to 'phone a friend'.

A few embarrassing phone calls to Brian, friends and a co-worker later and I got a phone number for the Falcon hospital ... it was now almost 11:00 (our tour was supposed to start at 10). They kindly suggested we re-schedule for the next day after having no clue where I was or how far I was from the hospital. I knew it was bad when they offered to pick us up at the Airport terminal so we could follow them to the hospital the next day. To heck with that, I was turning in the rental car and calling a reliable taxi driver!

So, the Falcon hospital tour had to wait for Monday, and since I had to go back to work, we sent the visitors with our taxi driver, Mohamed (who found the place with no trouble whatsoever). And good thing too as the tour was one of their favorites of the whole visit.

Now, what to do with the rest of our Sunday? We tried to go back to Emirate's Palace, but were again turned away since we didn't have reservations. They found out later on one of their bus tours that Emirate's Palace hotel no longer lets tourists just wander around - the only way to get in is to make reservations for lunch, dinner or high tea (more on that in another post).

It was way past time for lunch so we headed for The One, which is a furniture store with a wonderful restaurant. Yes, you read that right, we had lunch in a furniture store, and it was delicious. Then, we stopped at Zadina to buy some fancy dates, then to the Central Market to do a little souvenir shopping and then back to the apartment.

Not quite the day we had planned, but everyone said they really enjoyed the almost 3 hour drive to nowhere as it gave them a chance to see the scenery. ... I'm pretty sure they were just being kind. :)

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