I’ve landed

After over 17 hours of travel through 3 different continents, I have finally arrived in Abu Dhabi.

First Impressions: The airport smells like real tobacco (not cigarettes entirely, but tobacco itself) and human bodies. Also, as soon as you walk away from the gate, you walk into a huge circle shaped room and it’s a slight challenge on how to orient yourself on where to go because there doesn’t seem to be anyone really in charge. (Not to mention that everything is written in English and Arabic.)

Needless to say, Justin (another guy from my office who I traveled with) and I paused for a minute or two to get our bearings, and then we hit up what many of our colleagues would claim to be the most important place: Duty Free Alcohol. Since alcohol is illegal for many of the residents of the UAE (Muslim residents), there is an incredible tax on alcohol.

Once we made it through passport control and “customs” (which was in actuality just walking through a door…however Justin did manage to get stopped), we located our cars and made it back to the hotel fairly uneventfully.

Since I arrived after dark, it was hard to see some of the architecture. However, much of the construction is being completed round the clock so there was plenty of artificial light. The light just hangs in the air since there is so much humidity and dust from the construction. I’m excited for tomorrow to be able to see more of the buildings and architecture in the daylight. There are so many domes and arches in the architecture here; it’s quite striking.

As for right now, I’m relaxing in my hotel room on the 16th floor in the center-ish (because to be quite honest, I’m not entirely sure where I am) of the city. The room is very nice and really relaxing, so hopefully I’ll adjust well to the time change (which is 9 hours for Central Time at the moment, but will move to 10 hours on Sunday thanks to Daylight Savings Time)

I am going to try and answer everyone’s questions about life here, but if you have one that I haven’t answered, let me know and I’ll make sure I get to it.

Already missing you lots, but loving this new adventure 🙂

– A

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