I’ve moved from the Ramada Downtown and I’m now ensconced at the Mercure City Centre, Abu Dhabi.
As this is an Accor Hotel, I’m on more familiar turf here. The hotel — one of the oldest in the Abu Dhabi CBD (and, I believe, originally The Novotel), is showing a bit of wear and tear, but the experience so far has been very pleasant.
Although I’ve been living in Abu Dhabi for five years — and I’m about to leave — there are bits I’ve missed.
The other day, I had a wander around the side streets near the corner of Hamdan and Salam (Sheikh Zayed) Streets in the CBD, and I found some thriving small shops and restaurants that had previously been off my radar.
Christmas markets, Christmas lunches, Christmas shopping … it’s all happening, and not just in traditionally Christian countries.
Not long after I moved to Abu Dhabi, somebody sneered on social media about “politically correct” Britain, where some councils had (allegedly) banned Christmas, and then added for good measure: “I bet you’re not allowed to celebrate it in the UAE, either.”
The northern winter really is a good time to visit the United Arab Emirates. Few people may think of greenery and flowers when they think about the desert, but — thanks to the hard work of dedicated gardeners — it really does bloom at this time of year.
Here are some pictures I’ve taken in Abu Dhabi over the past few days.
Those of us who like to travel sometimes forget about the delights of where we live. While researching the next exotic destination, we are sometimes oblivious to changes in our own neighbourhood.
It pays to have a look around; to go somewhere new but nearby. I did this today with my first proper visit to Al Maryah Island, which has been designed to be the new central business district of Abu Dhabi (which, in case you don’t know is where I live).