Sunday, 4 March 2012

Beth's Big Adventure Day 2: Dubai to Abu Dhabi

I did consider renaming today's entry "Pool to Pool" but didn't on account of the fact I haven't actually been in the pool here, yet.

The day kicked off with a dip in the rooftop pool in Dubai - and let me tell you there are far worse ways of starting your day than a refreshing dip in a pool 20 storeys up with breathtaking views across Dubai. It was a wee bit parky though and *very* windy - so much so that whilst I was there one of the substantial pool side chairs blew right across the decking and into the water. I was the only one mad/ brave enough to take an early morning dip but years of family holidays in Whitby & Rhyl had prepared me well - Dubai pools hold no fear for me after the North Sea in August.
The Burj & the moon

After that it was down to brekkie and whenever I'm somewhere abroad I go out of my way to eat as local as I can, so at the buffet breakfast I loaded my plate with things I didn't recognise, which explains why a few minutes later I found myself eating curry for breakfast. It was very tasty & I'm assuming packs much the same punch as prunes do. Luckily I have Imodium on standby just in case.

Although this is a wonderful & undeniably exotic trip it is a working trip so I spent all day delivering courses - but the groups were utterly charming which makes things a lot easier.

At 5:30pm I was collected from the offices for my 2 hour drive through the desert to Abu Dhabi. The driver maintained a steady 150kph throughout, weaving through traffic like Ayrton Senna and with at least 3 engine warning lights flashing on the dashboard, whilst I cowered in the back taking the odd blurry pic.

Mars & Venus over Abu Dhabi
I arrived at the alarmingly posh Intercontinental hotel just after 7pm and after dumping my bag in the room I scooted off to explore. To be honest I didn't go beyond the grounds as it was dark & there's no town near the hotel, just huge dual carriageways and a beach - it's probably very safe but when I'm travelling alone I prefer not to take chances. That said I still managed to get lost in the grounds and somehow ended up back in the hotel by coming in through the fire door of a posh restaurant. What the hell, I'm English & the whole world knows we're all a little eccentric.

Freshly carved & divine!
My embarrassment was complete about 10 minutes later when, realising it was the only place to eat, I returned to the same restaurant for dinner. And what a dinner! It was an eat as much as you want mega salad bar with fresh BBQ meat carved at your table. Each diner is issued with a beer mat style token which is red on one side & green in the other. If you want more meat you turn the token so it shows green & one of the many waiters soon stops by your table with a large skewer holding some wonderful freshly cooked meaty delicacy and carves you off a chunk. Then you just flip the token to red until you want more meat. Sorry veggies but I have never in all my born days eaten lamb as good as I did tonight. I am now "Christmas Dinner" full - and that's only meant to happen once a year. Still, it's the only night I'll have chance to eat so I'm glad I made the most of it.
Largest Mosque in the Middle East

Tomorrow I shall check out the pool before spending the day working in the Abu Dhabi offices and then a short flight to Bahrain ready for Day 3, country 3 and a whole new time zone.