Tale of Two Cities

Tale of Two Cities

Abu Dhabi is the other large city in the UAE, and often times westerners lump it together with Dubai. But having gone to each city for back to back weekends, I will attest that they are very different.

Flag of Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi means “Father of the Gazelle.” When I applied to work in Abu Dhabi before I got the JHAH contract, I began researching the city. Everything I read was amazing. They have the tall buildings; they have the sights to see, but they are also humble and gracious. The landscape was beautiful and had historical relevance.

I will recommend, make sure to get a marked taxi from the airport. We were ripped off by an unmarked driver. To make matters worse, he didn’t even know where he was going. We finally made it to the hotel. The Courtyard was a great choice. The location was perfect.


My friend Jeff told me about the Dave Matthews Band concert that was going to be there, and I knew I had to go. DMB was my favorite band all growing up. Since 1994, I have been stuck on his music. Even though he hit a rough patch of cheesy commercial songs, I feel the band has returned to their roots.

The stage is nestled in one of the legs in Ferrari World.

 I decided to spend the day on Yas island. The mall was surprisingly fun. I have become burned out on malls, but they are one of the big attractions in most all Middle Eastern cities that I have visited. I found an amazing tea shop and sampled teas from all over the world.

Inside the TWG Shop in Yas Mall

 Finally, it was time for the show. I met up with my friend Ilze, and then Jeff and his Epic crew showed up. We opted for the front VIP General Admission pit.  It was a great decision. We were 20 feet from the stage.

Dave bringing the heat on stage

The night seemed to get hotter and hotter. I don’t think Dave had experienced this kind of heat in a while. But he did not let it deter him from putting on one hell of a show. They even came out and crushed Watchtower for an encore.

We had a fantastic time. Even with the heat, it was hands down one of the best DMB shows I have been to.


The next day, I explored the city a little. I found the Marina Mall and this wonderful restaurant Tiara. Tiara is at the top of a tower, and the restaurant offers a rotating 360 view of Abu Dhabi. From the top, there are perfect views of the Emirates Palace and Presidential Palace as well as the corniche.

View from Tiara. That is the palace in the top

After lunch, I headed over to The Drawing Room at the St Regis. This hotel was immaculate and palatial. I was impressed with the tea selection. The furniture and setting were perfect for tea.

View from the table at St Regis


Grand Mosque

On my last day, I went to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. I had heard amazing stories and seen great pictures. The guided tours are free and very informative. I won’t spoil the wonder for you, but here are some pictures. The chandeliers and the carpet alone are reasons to visit. Make sure to dress conservatively.

View from the courtyard
The chandeliers were inspiring

I also made sure to see the Aldar Headquarters. It is the Circular building in Abu Dhabi skylines.

It’s a circle


Overall, it was a pleasant trip. I am hoping to go back to Abu Dhabi again. I was very impressed. Abu Dhabi rivals Doha as my favorite city in the Middle East. Just look at the pictures.

Until next time.

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