Monday, January 17, 2011

More Kuwait, Then to Abu Dhabi - Finally, Home for the Holidays!!

Photo: Jumeirah Emirates Tower Hotel
Dubai, UAE
Finishing Up in Kuwait -
First: My sincere apologies to all my Loyal Followers for the loooooong absence!! There were several reasons for my not blogging regularly over the past two months: (a) too much work (!!); (b) an injury (I encountered some barbed wire in the desert outside Abu Dhabi); and (c) 32 days of blessed vacation at home in Houston for the Christmas and New Year Holidays.

Herewith I present some highlights of the last half of my stay in Kuwait (I flew in from Dubai on October 28 and departed Kuwait on November 27). Then some pictures from my first ever visit to Abu Dhabi (one of the seven Emirates in the UAE - a short 1-1/2 drive overland from Dubai).


About mid-way into my stay in Kuwait, I visited the new "360 Mall". The mall is located at the intersection of Highway 60 and the 6th Ring Road. There are plenty of 'high-end' or luxury stores!!!


Life With Cacao: Located inside the 360 Mall, this cafe was a real find!! I spent 2 KD for a heavenly hot chocolate (ca. $7.00 USD!).


The skyline of downtown Kuwait City .... note the distinctive telecommunications tower near the left side of the photo.


GREAT NEWS: The Starbucks in Al Zour is reopening!!! Followers of my blog may recall when this place opened - then shut after a short two-month run. Something about a licensing issue?? Anyway, they were cleaning the store and restocking the place. It should be open by now!!! .


MY TRIP TO ABU DHABI (from November 27 to December 2):


I flew to Abu Dhabi from Kuwait International Airport on November 27 (only a 1-1/2 hour flight). My first 'tourist attraction' was Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. A 'must-see' for any tourist!!! And it's free - no admission fee!

I took a desert 'safari' on November 29. One problem: I stumbled on a strand of barbed wire while viewing some camels, tore up my pants and received two cuts to my legs. (I visited a local clinic later that night for cleaning the wounds and a tetanus shot!!)


Once my work in Abu Dhabi was concluded and the 3-day conference ended (at which yours truly was a speaker), I managed to play 'tourist' and visited the Emirates Palace Hotel. Clearly this hotel is THE place to be in Abu Dhabi! Friends told me this hotel was where they filmed Sex and the City 2. However, that fact turns out NOT to be true - the film was in fact shot in Morocco. Nevertheless, this place is definitely worth a visit. In fact so many folks were wondering through the hotel and shooting pictures that I felt at ease. Too bad I could not stay at this place (the rate is a tad too rich for my company's expense account limit!). Just take a look at these photos:


The front entrance to the Emirates Palace Hotel ...........


The lobby of the Emirates Palace Hotel ....


The grand staircase ...................


I decided to indulge in a hot chocolate at the lobby cafe and watch the passers-by imagining myself as being one of the local sheikhs!!


I kid you not! This photo is no fake - there is actually a vending machine for gold bars of varying size and value to suit one's budget!! I suppose this convenience is aimed at all those sheikhs with 'disposable income'!! You would never know there is a world-wide recession going on .....


And this was my humble abode during my 5-day stay in Abu Dhabi. The Rotana Beach Hotel, located in the middle of waht I'd call the city center. Nice enough - although a tad lower on the economic food chain that the Emirates Palace Hotel!


An interesting building under construction - whatever it is for I know not!


I spotted this at a supermarket in the Abu Dhabi Mall adjacent to my hotel. Can you imagine anyone needing to purchase a 5 kg (11 pound) sack of tea???!!!

This aptly summarizes how I was feeling on December 2! I contracted with a driver who drove me from Abu Dhabi to Dubai. Turns out December 2 was a national holiday - it was the 39th anniversary of statehood for the UAE!
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After the 1-1/2 hour drive, I checked into the Emirates Tower Hotel (see the picture at the top of this posting) and enjoyed my final night in the UAE. The following morning, December 3, I flew Emirates 211 from Dubai to Houston! Only 14 hours of flight time!

I arrived home in Houston on December 3 and after three days of work the following week, I took off 32 days of vacation for Christmas and New Years Day! And I am pleased to report there was absolutely no travel at all during my time off!!

To all my followers/readers: Happy New Year!!!

Your comments are most welcome:

3 comments:

martin said...

Charlie, can I get a job like yours? Malongo Martin

chemist said...

Malongo Martin:

Sure!! Name your price!!

TC

fender said...

How lucky of you to be employed on that company!
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