Dashing in dishdashas

Abu Dhabi Travel Blog

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Abbu Dhabi in background.

On checking with Gulf Air we find that our flight has been brought forwards by two hours so we reluctantly forego our planned leisurely sun bathe around the pool in Giza and re-organise our pick up with Travel Talk.  I would really recommed this group for travel in Egypt as their pick up and delivery service before and after the tour is superb and there is no stress on our part.

We also find that instead of a through flight we are now stopping in Bahrain and changing planes with a 1 1/2 hour wait which is fine. A couple of Saudi Arabian men in dishdashas with the red and white checked head cloths strike up a conversation with us in the departure lounge, enquire about how we found our Egypt trip and give us some tips on the Emirates.

More and more skyscrapers going up
 At the airport we wait for our luggage at the carousel and my telescopic pole is missing so we tell someone who dashes off and seems to be looking after another gentleman as well as us.  Wander over to the lost luggage and start to describe the package to the guy when he begins to point us towards another place for odd sized packages, but he sees a guy coming across the airport with my pole! All is well. 

Catch a cab via the organiser of cabs at the airport and pre-pay the fixed price of 65 Dirams.  A very plush car picks us up as we are blasted by the humid wall of heat which instantly fogs up our glasses leaving us temporarily blinded!  Every bit of luggage is whisked out of the car at the Hilton Corniche and taken inside by a bunch of hotel employees.

AD through the haze of heat
 Our fourth floor room is wonderful and nicely chilled too and the bed is so enormous that I will have to send out a search party later to see if Andrew is in bed!  We have a leisurely shower and open the curtains of the huge window on this 4th floor room to check the view and go to bed.

We have organised the buffet breakfast each day of our stay and it proves to be wonderful.  With plenty of time on our hands and no frantic tour pace to maintain,  Andrew sits down and seriously works out the conversion price of my booking at this hotel and is mortified when he finds that although it was the cheapest accomodation I could find, it is the dearest of the whole 10 month trip!   Returning to our room after breakfast I glimpse the window cleaner in the suspended box scaling down past our window and are thankful that we went to breakfast and didn't sleep in as these middle eastern nations are very conservative and would probably be mortified if they had found us in bed with the curtains open!!!!

Having had our schedule changed by Gulf Air into Abu Dhabi we decide to check our departure times are correct 3 days in advance and leave the hotel desk with the task.

A construction of village life
  We set off for a walk to the ocean that we can see from our hotel room and get three quarters of the way when I know that I can't go any further in the heat. As I scuttle through the lobby the staff at the desk call out to me that they think that it is snowing outside!  I didn't think that I looked so obviously outdone by the weather but, maybe I did but they had a sense of humour!  Shortly after our return the desk rings to tell us that our departure flight on the 14th will not be going until the 16th.  I ask for them to get me Gulf Air on the phone so I can explain to them that the 16th will just not be good enough as we have accomodation booked and a tour to join based on our dates and we don't have extra accomodation booked in the very expensive Abbu Dhabi.
one of the amazing hotels
  The airline patiently explain to me that the hotel had given us the information correctly and that our flight had been cancelled and they have found another one two days later.  They also told us to contact our travel agents is that was not suitable.  Through gritted teeth I told them that we had booked this flight over a year ago in Australia and it was just not possibel to find enough money to ring them and sort this out.  Then they suggested that we went to the office of Gulf Air.  I checked their hours and found that they were closed from about 12.30pm until 4pm so we booked a taxi for the 4pm opening time and went to the office which was quite nearby.

A very patient Indian woman listened to our story, checked her screen and confirmed we indeed had been put on a flight some 36 hours later that the original.

This will be the 3rd largest mosque in the world
  I told her that we were due to start a tour in India with a group on the day they had us arriving in Delhi and we had accomodation booked for the night before in India and nothing in Abbu Dhabi.  She consulted her computer for an age then asked us if we minded a flight back to Bahrain where we would have an 11 hour wait but then a flight into Delhi which would arrive 30 minutes before our original arrival flight time.  That was fine with us and she said that she also requested accommodation in Bahrain for us for the 11 hour wait!  What a treasure and we told her so!.

We then walked back towards the hotel via a shopping mall that we had spotted from the taxi and peeked into a ladies dress shop and I ended up getting a lovely linen full length kaftan with beautiful embroidery on the front.  We browsed through the shops in the mall and always find supermarkets tend to tell you how people live and what they eat so spent some time there getting a few things to nibble on and some pens and notebooks for the kids in India.  Back at the hotel Andrew organised a 3 hour tour of the city next day which they initially weren't going to do as they only had us as takers but called back to say that they would do it.  Dinner was at a nearby Vietnamese-Arabic place where I had the most delicious lemon mint juice drink and too much food to eat so we had the rest packed up in foil trays, put it in the hotel mini bar fridge and it became lunch next day.  Everything smelt of garlic everytime I opened the fridge and there was a little kitchenette in the room but no pots, pans or crockery!

At the appointed time a guy in an airconditioned 4WD pulled up and whisked us off.  First stop was the pet market and we see all the usual puppies, kittens, fish and birds.  A shopkeeper who learns we are Australian shows us a sulphur crested galah that he has for sale for 5,000 dirams which is the equivilant of about $AUS 1,670.  Many struggling Aussie farmers in drought devastated areas who are inundated with flocks of the screeching galahs and are vey destructive to crops and sometimes buildings would be very interested in doing some exporting if it were legal, I'm sure!  Off to the fish markets which I always love to visit to see the varieties.  Here so much of the stock is alive and flapping.  All fruit and vegetables are imported as it is too scorching and arid to support agriculture.  We pass several gigantic palaces and their surrounding grounds.  What will be the third biggest mosque in the world which is under construction and is having a huge single carpet made for this vast building.  Our guide explains that there is no tax in his country, there is no need as they are such a wealthy nation.  The houses close to the city centre are for those who have families to allow easy access to the shops and schools.  Batchelors have to live on the outskirts while single women would live with their families.  The only religion allowed is Muslim.  He and I discuss tyres suitable for sand driving as that was my career for nearly 20 years.

Back at the hotel I use the business room at the top of the hotel to make use of the free internet service.  Next day after breakfast we depart for the airport in the most luxurious taxi yet on this trip.  It is a very new roomy vehicle with plush deep blue velour seats.  At the airport we wait for the flight which is late, all our luggage is checked through to Delhi and we head off to Bahrain and a long wait.

 

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Abbu Dhabi in background.
Abbu Dhabi in background.
More and more skyscrapers going up
More and more skyscrapers going up
AD through the haze of heat
AD through the haze of heat
A construction of village life
A construction of village life
one of the amazing hotels
one of the amazing hotels
This will be the 3rd largest mosqu…
This will be the 3rd largest mosq…
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Abu Dhabi
photo by: JP-NED