Trip Start Aug 01, 2009
10Trip End Sep 21, 2009
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
Where I stayed
After being stranded for four days in Toronto thanks to incompetent travel agents (see "Toronto: Worthy of a Stop?"), we finally made it to Abu Dhabi on the eve of August 5th. All 90 of us new teachers stayed the night at the Abu Dhabi Hilton—very beautiful, right along the coast of the Persian Gulf.
August 6th, still jet lagged and recovering from the heat, Chad and I were whisked off to a hotel in Liwa; a small city in the middle of the desert just a short drive from the Saudi border. At the time, we had no car, and no taxis dared wander into the lonely red sand dunes of Liwa, a far distance from roads, towns, and people
Following our pointless Liwa expedition, Chad and I were taken back to Abu Dhabi city to rejoin the other teachers for training, training, and more training. Meanwhile, we were placed back at the Hilton, where we have lived for the past FIVE weeks. No word yet on our accommodations or when they will be ready.
Abu Dhabi is a city trying to find peace between sprawling modernization and the practices of Islamic culture so inherent to the surrounding region. Brand new glittering shopping malls stand beside mosques; tourists in sundresses share sidewalks with women wearing abeyas and burkas. Chad and I have had a chance to explore the city and see Emirates Palace, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque (the 3rd largest mosque in the world), and souks where buyers can barter for anything from Persian rugs to gold.
It’s hot here. The average temperature has been 115º F with 90% humidity! Lately, the temperature has been dropping to the low hundreds. To make matters more difficult, we’ve arrived during Ramadan—and no public eating or drinking is allowed from sunrise to sunset
On September 4th Chad celebrated his 27th birthday. The staff at the Hilton know us by name and have been very sweet. After all, we've been living in their hotel for over a month. At breakfast, the staff brought Chad a cake and later put a red rose and towels wrapped in ribbons in his room! There is no decent Mexican food in this country, so for a birthday celebration we gathered at a friend’s place to make our own Mexican fiesta, followed by card games and arm wrestling. Awesome.
We don’t have a camera yet, but will try to post as many pictures as we can!