Thursday, February 17, 2011

Tourism 101

During their five days as our guests in Abu Dhabi, we took Marcel and Anina to many of the popular tourist stops (Emirates Palace, Grand Mosque, Yas Island, Qasr al Sarab, Dubai Museum, Burj Khalifa, etc, etc.). They explored each place with energy and enthusiasm, but they were also content to venture out on walks around our neighborhood, pop into a local bakery, see where we work and where we buy groceries, or just hang out in our apartment, observing what it feels like to live here. 

We appreciate this kind of tourism, the kind that doesn't merely seek to be comfortable and entertained but is willing to spend the effort to go beyond the facade of a place, to ask questions about the culture, history and philosophies of local inhabitants, and seek to understand them rather than pass judgment. Sam and I agreed that our Swiss visitors cared more, and thereby came to know more, about this place we currently call home than do many expatriate residents.

The following photos are courtesy of Marcel and Anina. Most are taken in places we've seen countless times but are now able to view through the eyes of our intellectually curious friends. 

Men dispersing after Friday prayers as seen from our apartment balcony

Shop closed for prayer, near our apartment in Al Dhafra neighborhood

These advertisements are so common around town I barely noticed them anymore; the meaning implicit in these kinds of signs is a discussion for another post (note to self).

Marcel and Anina agreed that dinner and shisha, plus the show provided by the waiters and managers seating, serving, and schmoozing customers on the patio at Lebanese Flower, was one of their favorite activities of the week. 

February 4th, 2011 gave us the most perfect weather we've had since moving to Abu Dhabi - made even better by strolling the Corniche with good friends

Towering 30 feet over the road way, this sign a testament to the power that the late Sheikh Zayed, the "George Washington of the UAE," had in fostering a national identity, where only 40 years ago, one didn't exist at all

Sam and me, sharing a moment at the fountains in front of the Emirates Palace

Anina, donning the abaya for the first time

Deserted shoes at Sheikh Zayed Mosque

13 years in the making, the newly-completed Sheikh Zayed bridge, designed by renowned architect Zaha Hadid 

Here's something you don't see every day - a sunken dhow in the Dubai Creek

Quiet, shaded walkways of the seemingly under-utilized-for-a-Saturday Bastakia Quarter of Old Dubai

New Dubai through the rear window


  1. A very interesting post. I loved seeing Abu Dhabi and Dubai through your guests view. We're having guests from tomorrow, and although they've visited Dubai several times before, it'll be interesting to see their impression of the new area we live in.

  2. Really beautiful pictures...the one of you and Sam ought to be hung somewhere in your place.

  3. Simply Amazing photography ,Bed-space in UAE especially in Abu Dhabi is a great prob for outsiders because of low income and high rent so that's why outsider does that for living 16 people in a room to spent the night,

  4. A very amazing and interesting have shared several beautiful photos.You have done great work in your blog.Thanks for sharing.