Day of Contrasts

18 Jan

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It can be a bit difficult sometimes to know what to do with guests in Abu Dhabi. Sure there’s the Grand Mosque, the theme parks on Yas, the Corniche and its beaches as well as the beach clubs but when it’s a second visit, well, I thought we might struggle a bit. There were some things we knew would be welcome repeats but anything new deserved a bit of research. Added to this, the weather this January has been a bit temperamental. We’ve had several days of rain, for a start, and 21°C can feel a bit cool in the shade.

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I needn’t have worried, though. Alex is a pretty easy going bloke, happy to go along with suggestions and we seemed to feel the cold far more than he did. I guess when you’re leaving a soggy UK January maybe 21° isn’t so bad. It probably wasn’t the best week for sunbathing but there was still plenty of scope. A rainy day had us nosing around and drinking coffee, complete with gold leaf, at the Emirates Palace. Oh yes, and chocolate lava cake (rolls eyes in rapture at the memory). The same day saw us in Dubai’s Global Village (aka Dubailand according to the road signs) which was, I suspect, a rather different experience in the rain.

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The day that will stay in my memory, though, was a day of complete contrasts. I’d booked a morning “desert safari” after seeing a money off voucher and though it didn’t entirely go to plan (long story complete with missed pick-ups and vehicles stuck in the sand) I finally got to spend some time in the actual desert. OK, so maybe dune bashing isn’t my thing but just to be out in this wilderness, complete with camels, was extraordinary. 

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Another voucher led us to the Donut Boats. These are solar powered, round, yes round, motor boats that meander along at little faster than drifting. After tearing across sand dunes at whiplash-inducing speeds, floating on the flattest of seas among the mangroves couldn’t be more different. We’d bought ourselves a bit of a packed lunch and just put the boat into first gear to eat it as we watched gulls diving into the water for theirs. A gentle sun warmed the skin and herons called to each other from the banks. What could be nicer? You don’t get far but rounding the bend was enough. Just the thing to set you up for a night on the town. And a return to snow and minus 10°.

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