You know, I used to think that the United Arab Emirates was a part of Saudi Arabia. Seriously. I thought it was a special part of Saudi Arabia set aside as a tourist destination, free from the Wahhabi influence from the main, uh, desert. I mean, who names a country UAE anyway? Then again, we are the USA, huh?
But the UAE is an actual country. The country consists of seven emirates [essentially states]. Abu Dhabi is the capital; Dubai is the juggernaut. The other five are Ajman, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm al-Quwain, but none are as flush with money as Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
Wanting to see more than just Dubai, we took a trip to Abu Dhabi. We planned on staying most of the day, catch up with someone I know out there and check out the Sheikh Zayed Mosque [absolute majestic], but something came up and our trip got cut short.
But we stopped by Marina Mall, yet another massive collection of western-influence stores. As usual, Najwa saw an elevator and went berserk. Is it every child that just has to ride every elevator they see? I mean, Najwa acts like Elmo is on the next floor and she just has to see him!
This elevator, though, took us higher than just a floor or two. It rose high above the mall to a coffee shop with an amazing view of Abu Dhabi. Even the elevator ride up was pretty cool, until I realized Najwa was pressing the alarm button.
Initially we planned to just take a peek, take a photo and be out. The view, though, was worth spending a little more time up there. We ordered some beverages and lounged for a moment before having to head back to Dubai.
Being in an Islamic country means it caters to Muslims. Where else will you find prayer rooms in gigantic malls?
As we were heading out, we drove past the Sheikh’s pad. It’s massive! They used to let people drove onto the grounds and take photos, but we were told you know have to schedule ahead. Kind of like how Americans used to be able to go to the White House back in the day.
And like Dubai, Abu Dhabi isn’t done spreading its wings. Buildings are being built as fast as construction projects are stopping in America.