As always (because perhaps 2 weeks is now a long enough period to make that blanket statement), it was an incredibly busy week. I’m still enjoying it though because I would always rather be more busy than less.
On Thursday night, we celebrated “Go-Live” with some champagne as I mentioned last week. But then a couple of us went to a roof-top club/lounge at the Crowne Hotel. It was much more chill than we expected, with everyone sitting on white beanbags and low couches around the roof pool. But the weather was gorgeous, so we grabbed a table and gazed at the stars and just got to know everyone a little bit better.
On Friday, several of us went to LuLu island. It’s an island just off the coast of Abu Dhabi. It’s part of the city. It’s just an island that is all sand and beach with some sand dunes. The most wonderful surprise about the experience was that the beach was not crowded at all. There are huts and cabanas scattered across the coast of the island and everyone has their own space. We cooked out and overall just relaxed. I swam in the Persian Gulf and the water was great. It was very warm, but not like I’ve heard it gets in the summer here (hotter than a bath).
Friday night I went to Dubai with some others. The drive wasn’t too bad. It took about the same amount of time it would take to get to Milwaukee from Chicago (1.5-ish). Driving into the city was so radically different from Abu Dhabi because Dubai is further ahead in development. Dubai felt more like a “real” city. It felt like you were driving into a city, whereas in Abu Dhabi it’s more like you are driving to a city and all of the sudden you are in residential areas, and then bam! you are in a city. Needless to say, it was very cool.
We went to Le Meridian. As I’ve told many of you, the club/bar scene is completely within the hotels in the UAE. We went to a beach-side restaurant bar and then hung out on some lounge chairs on the beach looking out to the Atlantis on the Palm Jumeriah. Le Meridian is next to the Westin Hotel at the base of the Palm Jumeriah, so it was a really cool experience thinking, “wow, I’m at the Palm Jumeriah in Dubai”. It was definitely a moment for me.
We were all so tired and not entirely feeling the bar because it was SO crowded that we decided to head back to Abu Dhabi. One of the guys I was with however wanted to drive to the Burj Dubai since I hadn’t been to Dubai yet. Its crazy how tall the building is. You can see it from miles away. We got close to it, not as close as we would have been able to during the day however since we work with some clients who are working on the building.
After we got this photo of the tower (which you will notice can’t even capture the entire height of the tower. You have to look almost straight up to see all of it.), we headed back to Abu Dhabi for a much needed rest.
On Saturday, I went for a walk around the city. The weather has really gotten gorgeous here. It’s in the 80s during the day and 70s at night. It’s really lovely. I know that a lot of you have asked to see photos of the city and such. I promise I am trying to post those photos, but the internet is so shoddy here that I can’t upload the photos in batches and I have to load one at a time. Once I have a block of time to do so, I will (Rachel…).
As for last night, we went to Royal Meridian in Abu Dhabi to 2 different clubs. It was a really interesting experience because I leaned over to one of the woman I was with at point and said “where are all the women?”, to which she responded “welcome to abu dhabi”. Most everywhere you will go there are tons of men, and not nearly as many women. Now for me, it’s great because I never have to pay cover to get into a bar/club and I can just walk to the front of the line (like I did last night. It was a great feeling 🙂 ) But it’s a bummer since I work with a bunch of guys and we all want to go out together.
Additionally, the clubs are always smoky, so I feel like it’s freshman year of college again when we would go to the bars before the smoking ban was passed in Oxford. But we had a great time dancing to A LOT of house music (another completely different thing that I will need to touch on at a different time). After all the dancing, we sat outside lounging and smoking hookah. It’s really been a surreal experience.
Today, I am going on a desert safari with my boss, my boss’s boss, and 2 other people from work. It should be a really great time because rumor has it that will be going dune-buggy-ing and perhaps sandboarding (snowboarding on sand). And perhaps some camel riding and definitely a “local meal”. I’ll make sure to let you know how it goes 🙂