Sunday, April 08, 2007

Weekend to Abu Dhabi

Last weekend, friends and I decided on a road trip to AUH. We set off from SHJ around noon made a few stops in Dubai and en-route to AUH.

I haven’t visited AUH in a decade, hence was sort of excited and sort of anxious – especially after having seen the changes in DXB the past 5 years or so.

The drive was beautiful – it was a bright sunny day – nice breeze and zero traffic. There were lots of traffic cameras and my friend got clicked just once : ) The entire drive took us about 2 hours, including all stops. The plan was to drive into AUH and sort of have plans impromptu.

As we got into AUH we drove thru the city, taking pictures – asking for directions and looking for a place to lunch. Whilst driving across the city, I couldn’t help but feel an intangible aspect, which sort of caught my sentiments off guard – the city reminded me of hometown SHJ – in the 1980's and mid 1990’s (before the traffic jams, high rises and crowds). I noticed the roads were simple, the city had that amazing "homely" UAE ambience, which we had in hometown SHJ a long time ago. Not sure if this was the weather or some sort of effect after driving in from DXB/SHJ – however I sort of felt I was walking across SHJ as child - m
ost corners of the city reminded me of SHJ and my growing years – the street lights, gardens, quite ambience etc all - the simple life, the simple city, the melancholy & peaceful home I just about took for granted then.

For the most part the AUH city was made of average to a few high rise residential buildings with parking available (at least the spots we visited). A friend suggested lunch at the Emirates Palace (EP) – the rest of us agreed, as it’d be a neat opportunity to check out this 7 star hotel.

We drove into the front gate of EP, towards security – who inquired on purpose of our visit and if we had reservations (there was a royal wedding that day at the Emirates Palace). Given our impromptu weekend state of mind, we hadn’t made reservations! So we drove around for another 10 minutes, whilst I called Diwan L’Auberge – a Lebanese restaurant at the Emirates Palace for reservations. Fortunately they were kind enough to accommodate us. We drove back to EP – the guard cleared us on confirming with Diwan L’Auberge.

Parked at the valet – walked thru the hotel to the restaurant. Needless to say, the hotel is a majestic piece of Arab Architecture – it felt like a Palace, the ambience, the staff, the staff uniforms etc all – very well done and with much attention to detail. Personally I liked EP lots more - than Burj Al Arab’s interiors & concierge.

Since we walked in a little past lunch hour, Diwan L’Auberge was sort of quite. We were seated by huge Bay windows overlooking the pristine beach. The beach had lots of western tourists – (almost the entire hotel guests seemed western tourists). Ordered a few appetizers and drinks – followed by main course, dessert etc. The food was yummy, I had a grilled hummour which was quite tender and tasty. The desserts were slices of heaven, and more – all lovely!

After lunch we walked around the interiors of the hotel, took a few pictures whilst simultaneously letting out lotsa "Oooo’s" and "aaaaaa’s" at every detail of the architecture, the interior designing and just about everything – here is a hotel which was 7 star and beyond and very Arab.

We walked back to the entrance, valet brought up our car and as we drove out to the main gate, we took some more pictures and admired the rich detail given to each piece of the exterior – all lovely stuff.

We drove around for 10 minutes or so and parked at the AUH Corniche to walk across the beach – the weather was cool and beautiful with lots of sunshine. After about an hour we got back to our car, drove around for some nice tea (with rainbow milk : )

Whilst we had tea at a small Indian cafeteria– each of us could not help but feel the ambience in the city. It was quite, peaceful – very homely – just very UAE. We reminisced the growing up years in SHJ and shared experiences and memories. I have to say, it felt like I was in my old SHJ – it almost felt so real - I wish I could have just sat there hoping time would move back 15 years or so : )

The entire visit to AUH was lovely – not sure why I didn’t visit sooner? As we drove back to SHJ, I took a final look of the city streets, the city cabs – the ambience – all of which reminded me of the UAE I grew up, something I miss so much.

I am sure I shall visit AUH again, prior to returning to New York. My sister in law was raised in the AUH and her parents live in AUH – am going to call her mom for some home cooking and an opportunity to go back to AUH.

20 comments:

Hot Lemon& Honey said...

Glad you had a good time Rosh, and I know exactly what you mean. I worry though this will change very soon as AD is catching up.
I went to the Canadian embassy last time I was there, mom came with me and we both had a really good time.
But I have bad associations with AD and therefor avoid it the best I can.

Enjoy your time Rosh. Where do you go next?

INSPIRE YOUR MIND said...

I have bad associations with AD as well HLH.. LOL :)
However, I got offered a job there after finishing my training here with a never-dreamed of salary..
But I can't leave Dubai; I have many plans in mind for Dubai. Money is not my priority in this life.. :)
Yes Rosh; where do you go next?

ArabLady said...

Believe it or not I visited AD twice in my whole life..dunno but I don’t like it ..probably I have to explore it sometime..but it makes me feel like I am in Ajman

rosh said...

Hey now AJ is a nice quite Arab/Asian Suburbia - I like AJ : )

Thanks for dropping by AL.

BuJ said...

Ahh.. the lovely AD :)

I've not got much association with AD as being expected of a proper DXBian.. but having seen both cities now I think i'd much rather live in AD than in Dubai.. at least the traffic is more managable.. and it means i can keep a healthy layer of separation between me and la famiglia... one has to plan ahead!

120 km worth of separation :)

Jawahir Jewels said...

well it lookz like u had a good time ... thats nice .. I personaly like AD more that DXB but i go there when am visiting uae on my own when am with family (mom and dad... then its dxb .... its only becoz i have a better time in AD with my family and friends than i do in DXB...

Ash said...

Abu Dhabi is my home away from home, in more ways than one. Family ties, refreshing memories, my garage studio plus the many albums it produced and of course, the city. Ah, good times!

Rosh, since when did you take up blogging again? I didn't receive the memo, man. Catching up now :)

david santos said...

O dia 25 de Abril de 1974 foi o dia do derrube da ditadura fascista em Portugal, a chamada REVOLUÇÃO DOS CRAVOS, e a queda do (poder) dos inimigos do povo. 25 de Abril, sempre.

Day 25 of April of 1974 was the day of it knocks down of the dictatorship fascist in Portugal, the call REVOLUTION OF the flowers, and the fall of the power of the enemies of the people. 25 of April, forever!
يوم 25 نيسان 1974 كان يوم تقرع عليها من الديكتاتوريه الفاشيه في البرتغال والدعوة للثورة الزهور ، وسقوط سلطة أعداء الشعب. 25 نيسان ، الى الابد!


День 25 апреля 1974 года, в день он постучит в воздухе фашистской диктатуры в Португалии слово О РЕВОЛЮЦИИ цветы, и падение власти враги народа. 25 апреля, навсегда!
Le jour 25 d'avril de 1974 était le jour de lui frappe vers le bas du fasciste de dictature au Portugal, de la RÉVOLUTION d'appel des fleurs, et de la chute de la puissance des ennemis du peuple. 25 d'avril, pour toujours !
Tag 25 von April von 1974 war der Tag von ihm klopft unten vom Diktaturfaschisten in Portugal, von der Anruf REVOLUTION der Blumen und vom Fall der Energie der Feinde von den Leuten. 25 von April, für immer
25天41974年的一天,它拍下來的法西斯獨裁政權,葡萄牙 號召革命的鮮花,秋天的權力得到人民的敵人. 25日,永不停息

INSPIRE YOUR MIND said...

It looks like David Santos is leaving the same comment on all blogs ????!!!!!
Either he doesn't realize this (which I doubt); or he knows very well what's he's up to..

catwalq said...

Have u been to AUS?
do you know what the school is like?

BuJ said...

LOL he left a much shorter comment at mine.. i guess he thought i was full of myself so didn't wanna add to the misery... lol

INSPIRE YOUR MIND said...

DS comments sound like " I know what you've done last summer " movie.. ;)
I'm starting to freak out..

rosh said...

BuJ - I hear you and agree with you. I agree AD is so much more suburbia than DXB - these days even SHJ :) It was really nice to be there - not everwhelming at all.

JJ likewise I can sense why we have better times at AD :)

HLH- I saw one too many Hummners at AD - and assumed you'd love it there ;)

IYM - you should have taken that job man :)

And who is the DS guy - he looks like Alfred Hitchcock :)

rosh said...

Ash - sorry on the invite - will do once I kick start this very soon :)

I hear you on "family home" - it is so important to have that foundation.

INSPIRE YOUR MIND said...

I don't know who DS is.. to me Rosh he looks like >...!! hmmm.. I better keep my mouth shut..

BuJ said...

IYM.. come on open ur mouth for this one... ur too outspoken to be quiet now!!!

Lirun said...

cool blogging with you..

all the best..

Ahmed Shubbar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ahmed Shubbar said...

Great post; don't know if the "old Emirate feel" will last though. Great to see you enjoyed the 02!

kaya said...

Ofcourse you must come back to AbuDhabi. Now theres me too, and the best food in town. MY HOME!
ahlan wa sahlan.