Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Abu Dhabi Pictures

Here are some of the photos from our trip. Just the photos below took over two hours to get on the blog. This system is a little bit difficult for me to navigate, and unfortunately, there's no such thing as a group photo download.

I wish I had the time and energy to tell the story of each photo, but it would take forever. I'll do a few captions to explain. We gained a lifetime of stories and obviously, that's impossible to share in just one blog post. I hope you enjoy!

In a traditional tent, at the Abu Dhabi cultural center. 

 Jess & Dre's front door

 Pikey, their dog

 At the cultural center, showing a traditional stone building
(or at least Danny's face in one of the windows)

 This guy was commissioned for the overlay for the prince's dish-dash. The stitching is made of gold thread. No big deal. 
 Traditional well

 A beautiful beach (I love explaining the obvious)

 Inside the palace looking out
 Elevator buttons in Arabic

Architecture inside the palace.
Everything in the UAE when you see gold color, is real gold.
They don't exactly skimp on the details.

 Stick your credit card in and a gold bar comes out. 
A gold bar ATM machine if you will. You may also notice that the gold bar ATM is covered in gold leaf.

 We brought with us a sand storm

 The Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world

 Looking down from the top of the Burj Khalifa. It's 2,716.5 feet tall.

 Two little horned frogs at the top of the world

 You can see all of the sand in the air - it's the storm, not pollution.
Well, maybe some of it's pollution, considering the UAE has the largest per capita carbon footprint in the world. 

 Typical local attire. 
I tried to sneakily get this photo without getting in trouble or be rude.

 This photo was just us trying to get the guy in the background. We were at the base of the Burj Khalifa reading about the building process.

 A multi story waterfall inside a mall. Everything is unbelievable. Everything is over the top. It's beautiful.

 An aquarium in a mall.
Huge fish, sharks, coral, everything the sea has to offer.

Check out the huge fish next to Jess...not me, on the other side of Jess (cheesy joke but I couldn't help myself)

 Just a great white shark swimming above my head...click on the photo to get a better view.

 A guy cleaning the massive aquarium. You can also dive in there with the fish and the friendly great white shark. Your choice. I prefer to stay in air. 

A tunnel underneath the aquarium.

 If I have to explain why this is funny I'm concerned

 Breaking the law in Dubai. We then hopped in the car and got out of there. I always want to be a little bit bad.

 Just another interesting building

 Non alcoholic beer in the grocery store. It's the only beer a local will get...unless you're western and you pay for a license. You then have to prove how much money you make and you can only spend a percentage of your earnings on alcohol. You have to go to special location to get the booze, it feels like a speakeasy. It's pretty crazy.
 A sheik's driveway. He's obsessed with France.

 The low building in the far background is the Abu Dhabi palace
 The background is downtown Abu Dhabi

 In the background is Lulu island, it's where the cultural center is located. It also has the tallest flagpole in the world.

 Jess's friends Angie & Robyn

 Millions of little sea shells in the sand

 I don't know why this bathroom door was so interesting to me

 Jess and I at Angie's 40th birthday brunch. It was the first time we drank champagne together since the shaving of our heads.

 Abu Dhabi and Dubai have more cranes than I've ever seen in my life. This photo is taken in Jess's neighborhood.

Kayaking to the mangroves


 Dre (Jess's husband), Danny, and Jess in the background. 

Abu Dhabi skyline in the background. 
This area of water used to be mangroves but the prince dragged a route to his house so he could have water access. The guide also said that the prince has the desalination plants dump the extra salt into his cove to deter sharks. Apparently sharks don't like extra salty water. By the looks of it, neither do crabs because all seven of them that I saw were floating upside down in the water. Zero live ones.

 Just one of the billions of mosques. You see them like Starbucks in Seattle. Everywhere.

 If you click on the photo you'll see, "Beware of road surprises." In the middle of nowhere, all of a sudden people will be running across the freeway. Almost like deer, only they don't panic. Drivers not only don't slow down, they actually speed up. I almost had a coronary on three occasions.

 Over in Al Ain on top of Hafeet Mountain. 
On the border of the UAE and Oman.

 The best "yield for walkers" sign ever

 Al Jahili fort in Al Ain, built in 1898. 
Pretty much everything in the desert gets eroded by sand. Seeing this real fort was amazing. Many of the other old buildings and forts are replicas.

 At the Al Ain camel souk. This is where people go to buy camels.

 I can't believe these guys get a bad rap. They're so cute! You should see their eyelashes. And for the record, I didn't see a single one spit.

 This little guy was a day old. He was suckling my finger, looking for milk. I'm so mean, but I couldn't help myself! Look at that little guy!

 On the streets of Al Ain

 Al Ain

 Red sand dunes. That one is at least five stories tall.

 A better photo of the Burj Khalifa

 Building, building, building in Dubai. 
There is crazy growth for a country founded in 1971.

 This is a typical house in Dubai. This one is right next to the freeway. 
It's just crazy.

 I have never seen a culture more obsessed with having a clean car. This is a rolling water center to wash your car while you shop. It also comes with a man to do the dirty work.

 Jess and I about to do indoor sky diving. Danny and Dre joined us but didn't make the photo. There are pictures inside the air tunnel too but I have to get them from Jess later.

 At the Grand Mosque. The largest mosque in the world. 
It holds 40,000 worshipers.

 Women have to wear abayas & head scarfs

 Danny purposefully wore shorts so that he could put on a dish-dash. If he would have just worn pants he wouldn't have had to change clothes.

Don't forget, everywhere you see gold it's actual gold

The above photos are of the Men's worship area, with beautiful blown glass chandeliers, pure gold details, gorgeous engraving and unbelievable columns. It is also air conditioned. 

 This is the women's worship room.
No air conditioning and slightly lacking in grandeur.
In case you can't sense my sarcasm, I'm disgusted.  

 Jess and I in awe of the gorgeous mosque. Even though I don't appreciate the disparagement between the sexes, I still marvel at the unbelievable structure. It's absolutely beautiful. 

My mom likes to point out that there was a lot of touching in the photos, which was probably not the best choice. I told her that we were careful with our surroundings, making sure that there weren't too many eyes on us. We did, however, have a Muslim man come barreling toward us with a stern reprimand while inside the men's prayer room at the Grand Mosque. Danny and my shoulder touched during a photo. Bad, bad, bad.

For the record, Abu Dhabi is an amazing place. There are a lot of rules, but at the same time those same rules make for a very safe place to live and travel. You're not going to get mugged. You're not going to get raped. I'm sure there are instances where bad things happen, but overall the country is clean and safe. You have to be careful of your choices. You are more likely to get into trouble on your own accord than to be taken advantage of. There are occasions where the police have taken cameras if people take pictures of certain buildings. There are no warnings, and those same tourists have been taken to jail. You never know if you're going to get trouble, you just have to be careful and be on your best behavior. I don't want to paint a bad picture of the UAE. It's not a bad place. It's safe and clean, but there's a price for it.

I hope you enjoyed the photos. My writing and this whole blog is probably riddled with grammatical errors. I'm exhausted. Danny and I still have jet lag. We've been sleeping about 14-18 hours a day. When I got off work yesterday, I climbed into my pjs and fell into bed. I didn't wake up until 4:30am this morning. Hopefully we'll eventually get back on track. It's all worth it though! What a trip. Tomorrow I'll share the photos and stories from Paris. It was only 24 hours, but what an incredible 24 hours it was!


  1. Bravo! We can't believe you did all you did in, what was it, 10 days! The photos are wonderful, descriptive, cute, funny, and educational. Why is Jess and Dre there? It's SO different. Can hardly wait to read about Paris . . . xooxoxox

  2. Wow. Great pictures, looks like an amazing trip.

  3. Incredible! Keep adventuring. Love always, Kristin (of the old days)

  4. I am so glad you have the opportunity to travel. Andrea was 6 months old in her first passport picture and we lived in Asia and Europe before returning to Texas. Love your pictures. Please know you are in many prayers for health and well being. Love and peace, Kathy Luthringer

  5. I wish I had the time and energy to tell the story of each photo, but it would take forever. I'll do a few captions to explain.

    Abu Dhabi Gate Abu Dhabi


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