Wednesday, August 17, 2011

First Week

   As the first week in Abu Dhabi is coming to a close, I am finally starting to adjust.
I started my journey at 4pm on Thursday August 11 from Boston, MA to JFK to Doha, Qatar and finally to Abu Dhabi, UAE.

   We were greeted and brought into a part of the airport where they handed us our visas and then proceeded to customs to get out eyes scanned and our passports checked... as we got our bags there were men from the travel agency there to welcome us and bring us to the busses and put our luggage on a truck. Everything was so organized. When we arrived at the hotel it was about 130am Sat. morning.. and there were about 40 men waiting for us to take our bags off the truck and we were escorted into the hotel where there were many more hotel staff there to greet us. They gave us our room keys, welcomed us in and our bags were delivered.

    So far, our obligations have consisted of an administrative orientation, medical testing, and a police check. Other than that I have been spending time making friends, exploring the city, shopping, eating, and lounging by the pool. There are so many great people here. Everyone is pretty much in the same boat- (coming to a foreign country by themselves not knowing anyone or anything...) I have made three really great friends- we are each other's family here. Its great to have this support system so far from home!

   The city is amazing! And the hotel isn't too shabby either! 5 star... Its like a vacation .. for now...

   The #1 store here, I think, is CarreFour- its a French store- like Wal-Mart but on steroids! There is a full grocery store with the largest produce department I think I have ever seen, a spice market, electronics, clothes, shoes, appliances... anything you could ever need! I probably could have come over with just a backpack and I would have been fine with this store around!

   There is so much to do here: the Marina Mall- which is an enormous mall with high end stores like Gucci and Louis Vitton and tons of cafe's and restaurants and a skating rink!.. the Abu Dhabi Mall- which has more affordable stores, is a bit smaller and is in the heart of the city. The cliental is more modern Arabic/Muslim where as the Marina Mall the cliental is many wealthy Arabs with the Abayas(women's dress) and Kandooras(men's dress). The Grand Mosque is one of the most beautiful buildings I have ever seen- to tour it women must wear abayas and completely cover their bodies and heads. The tour was great- I learned a lot about the Mosque itself as well as the Muslim religion. We did paddle boarding and kayaking.. and a desert safari is on the agenda.. as is Farari World!

  I just wanted to give a rundown of my first 5 days in Abu Dhabi... Im sorry if there weren't tons of details! If you would like details on anything- don't hesitate to ask!!

Abu Dhabi Airport

The view from my hotel room! #619

The Grand Mosque 
(from the side)

Downtown Abu Dhabi

The Fairmont Bab al Bahar hotel

In our outfits at the Grand Mosque

1 comment:

  1. Hi Shanny,
    I love it that you're having a great experience so far! It is so different being on the other side (being a foreigner) and I am really glad that in such a short time you are already able to find comfort with friends you can call family! How many people are in the program? Do you stay at the hotel the whole time you are there? Are you staying for two years? I would love to come visit! Please send me the address so I can send you some surprises in the mail!
    Love you
    Your roomie, Thais