cruisin the mall, takin' in the culture

Abu Dhabi Travel Blog

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Abu Dhabi has not forgotten its heritage.

Today Eisa took us to the Heritage Center where we got to see the traditional markets from many years ago.  The set-up was almost like the markets of Puerto Vallarta, but the difference is that the people running the booths here are obviously salaried employees--not trying to make a living selling their goods so no one is pushing you to buy anything (in fact, they don't get off their seats).  There were a lot of trinkets that really intrigued the kids (knives, statues of camels, fabric) and I purchased a Pashmina, which Eisa immediately told me Huda would think was cheap and would show me where to get a good one.  Personally, I was quite proud of my $5 purchase and don't imagine I'll be wearing the thing out very soon.  We ate lobster and grouper prepared in the traditional way (no heavy spices and served in a huge wooden boat platter) at a restaurant by the sea.

Kids being kids
  The vision of the contemporary architecture across the bay with the old wooden boats in the foreground is breathtaking.

After the Heritage Center Eisa dropped Sean, Mianna, and me off at the Marina Mall while he took Kyle to work with him and had fun telling everyone that Kyle was his son.  Then we all went back to Eisa's house to play and wait for dinner time.  We made a reservation at Bice for 8:00 P.M. and finally made it there at 9:00 P.M.  I enjoyed their Risotto with wild Mushrooms and Sean (of course) had the gnocci.  After a fight over who would pay the bill (Sean won), Eisa drove us around the "Beverly Hills" of Abu Dhabi where we got to see the President's house and the neighborhood where the Royal Family and government advisors live.

Kyle with Emirates Santa
  The ruler's son even had Christmas lights up on the trees outside his house and we saw one of the most famous Mosques in UAE.  Since the government funds all of the building of the Mosques here, we were surprised to learn that they also paid for the building of a beautiful church with intricately-etched glass right next to the Mosque we saw.  We were told this is a symbol of the cooperation of people in Abu Dhabi--it reminded me of the COEXIST bumper stickers I see around OKC.  Exhausted, we finally arrived home at midnight, and I'm coming to terms with throwing "bedtime" out the window and just accepting the late-night socializing.

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Santa and Mianna at the mall.

The pool at The Emirates Palace offers two slides, several waterfalls, and a lazy river where the bridges rain on you as you pass under them.  As the kids and Sean went to enjoy the "noisy" part of the pool, Kimberli stayed on the adult side reading Shadow of the Wind (I highly recommend this book and have promised myself to read every book recommended to me by Kim Jameson, OCCC English professor, from now on).  The culture here does not allow for "Octavio" to offer pool drinks, but they do bring these delicious skewers of fruit while one is soaking up the rays (skewer doubles as a bookmark).  After a nap--a required part of any Brownlee vacation--Eisa and Huda took us shopping where we found Santa (though a bit more tan than the Santa we are accustomed to).

Kyle and Eisa's "little secret" could not be held through Kyle's beaming face. The PSP is very much appreciated.
  We found the mall to be a place where the men socialize as the women shop; Eisa's friend, Jamal, a developer from Dubai, came to meet Sean, along with several other friends of Eisa's.  Meanwhile, Huda proceeded to buy matching outfits for Kyle and Harib and an adorable outfit for Mianna.  When enough spoiling had been done, we headed back to Eisa's.  Mohammed arrived tonight and showered Eisa's family with gifts (itouchs, iPod nanos, Gobstoppers, and perfumes).  Indian food was delivered at around midnight and we were up until 2:00 A.M.  We're realizing that we are adjusting to jetlag AND Emirates-lag (the tradition of staying up very late and sleeping through breakfast).

Abu Dhabi has not forgotten its he…
Abu Dhabi has not forgotten its h…
Kids being kids
Kids being kids
Kyle with Emirates Santa
Kyle with Emirates Santa
Santa and Mianna at the mall.
Santa and Mianna at the mall.
Kyle and Eisas little secret co…
Kyle and Eisa's "little secret" c…
Mianna with her new Barbie (Indian…
Mianna with her new Barbie (India…
Abu Dhabi
photo by: JP-NED