Thursday, June 19, 2014

Abu Dhabi

Lena and Toni took us over to Abu Dhabi on our last full day in the U.A.E. so we could all check out the Emirates' seaside capital and its second largest city.

Our visit started at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, which is the largest mosque in the U.A.E. and one of the few open to non-Muslims. Toni and Lena had told us that we'd have to wear robes while on the mosque grounds due to modesty rules. I laughed when I saw this Mosque Manners sign that had as one of its examples of what not to wear...umm...the exact outfit I had on!!! Nice job, Dar.

No big deal. A short wait and we were set with mosque-provided gowns. Everyone's favorite world-traveling duo in the Sheikh Zayed main courtyard:

The mosque was giant. They say during the tour that 7,000 people can fit in the main hall and over 40,000 can worship on the grounds at the same time. It was also impressively decorated. Not a lot of furniture mind you, but decorative details everywhere you look. Another thing they point out is the over 60,000 square-foot hand-made carpet.

And, one last group selfie on the way out:

The mosque was very cool, of course, and we saw a lot of interesting stuff that day but, really, how could I go to Abu Dhabi and not visit the world-famous Formula1 track??? Toni was a sport about it and figured out how to get us over to the Yas Marina area, which is clear on the other side of town, so I could see it first hand. Woohoo! Thanks Toni!!!

Going to the U.A.E. was a great adventure and it was nice to be able to see and hang out with Toni and Lena again. Hopefully they'll realize their dream of opening up their own it-comes-packed-in-a-flat-box pet and pet-supply store here in Barcelona. Actually, I think that image came from a dream I had one night. Whatever, it'd be cool to have them around all the time.

One final random item from the trip. As I mentioned in the first U.A.E. story, we flew Emirates, which was worth the price of admission on its own. Each airplane seat back had an entertainment system that would have been unimaginable in your home just a bunch of years ago. Of course, one of the options was to be able to watch outside via one of the three cameras mounted around the plane. Cool, right?

At one point I noticed that we were flying over Iraq. IRAQ!!! I never in my life thought I'd be anywhere near Iraq and there I was. All because, again, saying yes to every opportunity possible. So, I'll leave you with this, a photo of Baghdad from 40,000 feet:

A superfabulogigantohuge hug to you, Lena and Toni!  Nos vemos pronto! And, by the way, where should we meet next time???

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