The first part of my Fulbright grant is drawing to a close. I have what is called a serial grant so I will be returning to continue my work with Al Ain Universty in the autumn. The experience has been incredibly valuable and I look forward to sharing much more about the adventure on my home campus.
I have spent much of my free time roaming around the neighborhood JoAnn and I have called home for the past three weeks. We have discovered many interesting restaurants, coffee shops, dessert cafes and so much more. We have also noticed a number of things that we would not expect to see at home. Below are some of these:
#1 – A mosque in a zoo. Religion is a very important part of life in the UAE and as a result, you are never far from a mosque, even when visiting the zoo.
#2 – Water stations. Throughout the neighborhoods there are many water stations where anyone can get clean, cold, drinking water. Very important in this climate.
#3 – Typing Services. I still do not completely understand what these “stores” do, but there are a lot of them. Apparently you can take things in to be typed!
#4 – $10 Feasts. There are so many fantastic little restaurants that have incredible food for outrageously low prices. This was our $10 Indian Feast and did I mention that was $10 for two including bottled water!
#5 – Phone Booths. I am not really sure why there are so many phone booths as everyone seems to carry two cell phones, but the booths are everywhere!
#6 – Dates, dates, and more dates. There are more dates in the markets than I have ever experienced (and they have free samples). My local friends talk about dates the way we talk about apples … you know “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” … replace apple with seven dates 🙂
#7 – Incredible Fish Markets. I don’t think we even have a fish market in Macon. Even if we did, I am pretty sure it would not look anything like the one we visited here. Operated by the Abu Dhabi Fishermen Co-operative Society, the market was the cleanest fish market I have ever seen and the variety of fish was truly amazing.
#8 – Arab Bakery. We discovered a local Arab bakery with the most amazing desserts … all calorie free.
#9 McDelivery – The ultimate fast food. Order online and have McDonalds delivered to your hotel with 30 minutes … delivery cost $1! Not only McDonalds, it seems most restaurants deliver here.
#10 – Intriguing Architecture – Dubai may be famous for having the tallest building in the world, but Abu Dhabi has some very interesting designs. One that caught our attention is this circular building that is currently doubling as a Star Wars advertisement. There are many other interesting buildings in the area.