After spending five glorious days in Dubai, we were back in Ginny and Sern’s home ground. Interestingly enough despite its prominence Dubai is not the administrative capital of the United Arab Emirates. For all its attractions Dubai felt impersonal somehow, while Abu Dhabi feels homely.
The Emirate of Abu Dhabi is one of seven emirates that constitute the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It is the largest emirate by area accounting for approximately 87 percent of the total land area of the federation and also has the largest population of the seven emirates.
Abu Dhabi is the capital city of the emirate, after which it is named, as well as the capital of the federation. Also playing a part of Abu Dhabi’s prominence among the emirates is the fact that Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan who was the principal driving force behind the formation of the UAE and its first President hails from Abu Dhabi.
Okay, enough with the banter. It was way past ten in the morning when we awoke after last night’s thrill-a-minute adventure in the desert, and by the time we got ready it was almost lunchtime.
Ginny and Sern took us to a Korean restaurant situated in an area called Al Nahyan in downtown Abu Dhabi. It was a case of killing two birds with one stone as Sern needed to dart into his office for a little while.
While waiting for Sern to clear his work we walked into Manna Land Korean Restaurant
which was celebrating over 15 years of offering the finest Korean and Japanese cuisine for brunch.
|specialising in Korean and Japanese cuisine|
|in the heart of downtown Abu Dhabi|
|as we sat and waited for Sern|
|Ginny proceeded to order|
|delicious side dishes|
|many variants to offer|
|the cuttlefish dish|
|Ginny booked a private room|
|as more dishes arrived|
|can't recall what this was|
|Brendan's kimchi stew?|
After brunch, we headed out to
(or Zayed Port) area but not before posting a few photos of the
area where Sern worked. Apparently the complex that housed Sern’s office is off
limits to cameras, so sneaking a few photos was something I could not resist.
|but an adrenaline rush just the same|
|ciao Al Mamoura|
We arrived at Mina Zayed
mindful of the fact that as an active government port, taking pictures in this
area can attract unwanted attention. When taking photos we tried to stay away
from sweeping landscapes for fear of taking photos of sensitive things.
We first paid a visit to the
local flower market here.
|the Reihan, or Raihan|
|known as Heavens' Flower|
|ideal for indoors|
|bigger shrubs as well|
|even a lemon tree?|
|it was a soothing walk|
|along the flower market|
|that invigorated our senses|
|there was many nurseries in neat pretty row|
Next up, we walked a few metres
due north east towards what can best be described as a home ware store that
sold all manner of everyday household items that looked so exotic. Also known
as the Iranian Souk this eclectic marketplace is filled with goods from Iran
and other countries in the region.
|you can even find a bird cage here|
|you can only have karak chai|
|served in its proper pot|
|ah, a good souvenir?|
|all that silver and gold|
|many items here|
|bore the UAE emblem|
|and all many of crockery|
|wishing I could have bought this|
|Cat and Brendan were enthralled!|
No visit to the Mina Port would
be complete without paying a visit to the Abu Dhabi Fishermen Cooperative Society's Fish Market
(phew, that was a mouthful!). Every morning, fishermen
load their catch on to the quayside and prepare for a day of haggling. It was
an incredible experience and we gained a fascinating insight into the way
traditional business is done. The market is also
very prominent and sells a wide selection of fresh fish and sea products.
|unlike what we're used to |
|this is the cleanest wet markets we've been to|
|species of fish?|
|noisy friendly bunch|
|fancy a baby shark?|
|we're no fish experts|
|so we can't name the species|
|but we know a crab when we see one (or two)|
the exhilarating fish market we stopped by the Dhow Harbour
to look at the boats,
called dhows that were docked here. The dhow is a traditional sailing vessel
used in the Red Sea and Indian Ocean region. Historians are divided as to
whether the dhow was invented by Arabs or Indians. Typically sporting long thin
hulls, dhows are trading vessels primarily used to carry heavy items, like
fruit, fresh water or merchandise, along the coasts of the Persian Gulf, East
Africa, Yemen and coastal South Asia coasts of Pakistan, India, Bangladesh.
|off in the distance|
|behind the fish market|
|perfect example of old meets new|
|our first dhow, in the 'flesh'|
|still a thriving industry|
|we should come here before dawn|
|to catch the excitement|
|although we were not supposed to, we couldn't resist|
|but capture images of actual middle eastern fishermen|
|mending his net|
leaving Mina Zayed Ginny and Sern took us to, in its own words, a cultural
space that encourages artistic expressions, and supports the perceptive
processes, in order to reinforce the UAE's creative community. Known as
and launched in 2015 it was transformed from an industrial
warehouse to a platform for art and culture, design and creativity, performance
and music, from regional, international and UAE-based artists, designers and
|an artistic impression of a dhow|
|just like the ones we saw at the harbour earlier|
|and taking a breather|
|while Ginny pottered around|
|Brendan put up his contribution|
|his version, of course|
A pity that this cafe has since closed down.
After a breather Ginny and Sern
took us for a drive along Corniche Road
to take in the sights of the namesake Corniche Beach
. We parked here and meant to make our way to a heritage village
run by the Emirates Heritage Club
which was a reconstruction of a traditional
oasis village providing a glimpse into the emirate’s past. Alas, when we got
there it was past four in the afternoon and the village was already closed for the day.
|we were not aware at the time|
|but the heritage village had limited visiting hours|
|and was closed by 4:00pm|
|we will back back some day|
|that is a promise|
Undeterred by the small setback,
Ginny and Sern then took us on another drive inland due east where we laid
sight on an Arabic architectural masterpiece, the Sheikh Zayed Mosque
. So as to do it all the
justice it deserved, we have a separate post for this magnificent mosque.
Almost two hours later, we headed
to Yas Mall
for a night cap (non-alcoholic, of course) at a coffee shop called the
. We later learnt that this café had closed down a few short
|a welcomed respite after a two hour tour|
|serving exquisite poison|
|latte all around|
|refreshing and relaxing|
|a shame that it closed, though|
Thus ends our first day of exploring Abu Dhabi, be sure to tune in for our posts of tomorrow’s gallivanting. Staying true to form, Ginny and Sern has promised us another day of fun, exhilaration and awe tomorrow!
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