Abu Dhabi or should I say Abu Zabi as they say it, is the capital city of U.A.E. This place surprised me, I left a piece of my heart here. I personally think people don’t say much about it. As you approach Abu Dhabi you feel the culture, smell the Arab money, see some of the most beautiful humans on earth (God really did take His time on these ones). The air is different, less crowded and more crisp. The buildings look like they have just been build and painted yet so ancient.
Unfortunately, I had less than 15hours to explore this treasure. I took in as much as I could and it was definitely worth it. My ride there took about 1.5 hours from Dubai with my Ugandan brothers. These folks were nothing short of entertaining and what you call the ideal road trip gang. Our first stop was at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. Sheikh Zayed is the largest mosque in U.A.E it hosts both worshipers and visitors and wait for it ……. it’s free with free guided tours too. Visits start from 9:00am-22:00 Saturday-Thursday and 16:30-22:00 on Fridays. However, during Ramadhan the time is a bit different and it’s closed on Fridays. To get into the mosque you need to be decently dressed especially for women. All covered up – head to toe and they also give the abaya for the visit period. Yes, for free. The beauty is unspeakable with gold, crystal, marble and semi-precious stones all put together for the perfect structure. It houses one the world’s largest chandeliers. It’s also a perfect place for photography but be careful as some unconventional poses are not allowed, pictures where you hair is not covered are also not allowed and will be deleted on the spot. Trust me!
Next stop was the Emirates place on our way to the Heritage Village. The Heritage Village is a museum of sorts; where all the traditional to current artifacts are showcased. They have everything from the traditional Swahili home which is almost a replica of our Swahili homes at the coast of Kenya. My mind wondered to Lamu Museum with the Arab – Swahili tradition where you would think it’s the same things and person who put them together. After this we decided to have lunch. This was a restaurant with a typical Arab setting and all kinds of food I couldn’t pronounce. The ingredients blend made my taste buds dance with each taste. I tried almost everything to the point my stomach almost questioned its existence. Needless to say, it was my best meal from U.A.E.
Now it was time for the ultimate fun – Ferrari World. I had been to arcades and nothing compared to this mostly because it was indoors, which meant whatever the weather the fun still goes on. With little time on our hands we grabbed the map which has hundreds of activates and started with the most daring. Oh yah, the world’s fastest rollercoaster – Formula Rossa. It goes up to a top speed of 150 mph. This means the ride will cover a 2.2-kilometer long track in 1.32 minutes. The craziest ride I have been on so far. My mind literary got confused; a mix of fear and excitement and at some point the excitement had to win. Then a few more rides and ended up at the formula 1 race cars. Never thanked God for being a Nairobi driver all the crazy matatu tricks came into play here but even then there are psych drivers out there. I was nowhere on the top 3 list – ooh well I get to fight another day. After hours and hours of a rides, play, shows, photography and much more it was time to call it a day. They were almost closing and our 295AED (each) was put into good use. Their working hours are – Wed: from 11am – 8pm and Thur and Fri: from 11am – 10pm.
‘I feel like I have come to this city and hardly explored it,’ I thought to myself as we headed back to Dubai. ‘I wasn’t ready to go back. I am never ready but this felt like a bathroom pit stop and I didn’t get to use the bathroom and yes I did intend to use it. I will definitely be back to Abu Dhabi for the Saadiyat Island Beach Club where you need 20 – 100USD for unlimited spa, jacuzzi, pool, food and beach time with a U.A.E Caribbean feel; Mangrove Kayaking Tours; Fishing Safaris where you eat with the fishermen; Explore the rest of the Yas Island which includes Yas Marina Circuit ,the Yas Viceroy Hotel which looks more like a spaceship than like a hotel, Yas Water World – Being the largest waterpark in the whole country and the Warner Bros. theme park; dessert safaris where you can have picnics and sleepovers in the actual dessert – I didn’t have this option in Dubai. Plus I am also sure by then there will be so much more to do.