Tuesday, May 15, 2012

2012 Trip #4 - Abu Dhabi

This week, I am travelling in the UAE for work. I don't think I knew what to expect going into it - a desert? An over the top city full of modern skyscrapers and wonders? The epitome of the Middle East?

In a way, it is all of these, but yet, it has still completely taken me by surprise. I am awed by the city itself, so many unique skyscrapers, unexpected offerings, embracing of their own culture and of visitors to it.

First stop on our UAE journey - Abu Dhabi. Most people think UAE = Dubai, but forget about the capital city an hour and a half from Dubai.  My coworker and I only had 24 hours to kill there, but between our meetings, we made sure to make the best of it.

Best place to grab lunch in Abu Dhabi? By the beach of course. That is if you don't mind the 100+ degree Fahrenheit weather. I did not realize it was possible to burn by sitting in the shade for 45 minutes.

View from my hotel window - so much construction going on everywhere!

On the way out of town, we stopped by the Grand Mosque, which had caught my eye driving into town. It's hard not to catch anyone's eye. From the highway, you can tell it's enormous, but even that doesn't prepare you for the sheer size of the place.

A few interesting statistics?
  • It can hold up to 40,000 worshippers at a time. Yes, all those zeros are correct.
  • It contains the worlds largest carpet. 
  • It also contains the third largest chandelier in the world (wonder how this compares to Dolmabahce?) and among all the chandeliers there are millions of Swavorski crystals.

View as you come up to the mosque 

 View from inside the courtyard

Inside the courtyard

Chandelier #1

Chandelier #2

View of the inner room - there are 4 of those chandeliers going across - it's ginormous

Close-up of the world's largest rug - 1,200 people worked on it to tie 2.2 billion knots!!

Decked out in our mosque gear - let me tell you those things are not so breezy at 48 degrees celsius


More to come on our explorations of Dubai! 

And P dot S - for those of you counting, I gave in and counted this as trip #4. Paul needs to start tagging along!

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