Monday, July 21, 2014

Discovering the United Arab Emirates

We noticed an add for the world's fastest roller coaster at Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi and when Ty saw the look on Danielle's face, he booked plane tickets and off we went. A short 3 hour plane ride put us in the Middle East - a surreal concept to us.

Not sure what to expect, we were surprised to find both Dubai and Abu Dhabi cosmopolitan, beautiful, modern first world cities with exceptionally friendly people. Their English was far better than any I have heard in India - I could actually understand it! Striking architecture lined perfectly smooth, wide highways.

Thanks to "Mission Impossible", the Burj Khalifa topped our sight-seeing list. The night-time views are spectacular!

It was in a massive mall that appeared to be filled with stores, restaurants, and people from all over the world. It would have taken days to see the entire mall but what we did see was beautiful.

We all loved the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. It is absolutely stunning!

It was Ramadan which is their holy month. They fast from the first prayer at 4 am until sunset each day for a month. The mosque was preparing for about 40,000 worshipers to break their fast together that evening. They had prayers rugs, air conditioners (it was a balmy 110 degrees), racks of Korans, and complimentary water neatly arranged and ready.


A few pictures that show some of the grandeur and inlaid stonework.

Ramadan was the perfect time to go despite having to be very cautious because it's against the law to eat or drink in public during daylight. As a courtesy for non-Muslims, screens were placed around eating establishments at sight-seeing areas. Hotels and air tickets were very inexpensive and the tourist sights were empty. We felt like the only people at Ferrari World. The ride operators let us stay on and ride as many times as we wanted. It wasn't easy to get Ty & Danielle away from the cars, but  we eventually discovered even the man-made beach was deserted.

The United Emirates was a beautiful surprise. With camel riding, ATV dune racing, and many more adventures left undone, we clearly did not plan enough time to explore this part of the world! Good thing it is only a short plane ride away.

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