Some preliminary thoughts after moving to Abu Dhabi:
- Flights of thirteen hours aren’t quite as bad as I expected, but also cakewalks. I could really use a sedative next time, though, so that I get some decent sleep.
- Apparently the immigration computer said that I’d already been in the country before, even though I’ve never crossed the ocean in my life until now. Thankfully it didn’t really cause any problems.
- As expected, it’s hot. Really freaking hot. And humid. And did I mention hot?
- This hotel that I’m staying at is gorgeous. As is my hotel room. So gorgeous that I took lots of pictures before I messed anything up.
- There are lots of malls here. Way too many, in fact. And they’re all super gorgeous and decadent, or at least the ones I’ve seen so far are. (And I’ve been to … 4 so far, I think?)
- It takes a bit to get used to so many men in white robes and women in black abayas. They’re everywhere. Including in the tourist gift shops as salt shakers.
- Hearing the call to prayer is beautiful. It can also be a little disorienting, depending on where you hear it. For example, it was playing inside Chili’s (the restaurant) this evening when we showed up there for iftar.
- There’s seriously a mosque on every block almost everywhere I went today, except along stretches of desert between cities.
- People are super helpful, but even more helpful (and useful) if you speak Arabic. And aren’t a white blonde girl who’s obviously new. I’m very, very thankful to have Zaid here to help me out with things so that I actually get what I’m looking for and don’t get ripped off (or simply get better service).
- There are far too many ways to dress up dates for my waistline to stay where it is.
- Oh, and far too many chocolate shops. Seriously. I counted more than 15 in the last 24 hours, and probably missed a whole lot along the way.
But you know what? There are lots of interesting and intriguing things here to see, and I’ve barely scratched the surface. For example, this guy was at the airport in the arrivals section:
And besides … this is who I got to see for the first time in 6 months!