Another pinpoint on the map of Arabic world. Neither as much fun and tourist oriented as Dubai, nor as fundamental as Riyadh, yet something else to discover. One of newest mosques, world fastest roller-coaster or beautiful Corniche coastline, just to mention few, and actually to mention all I could see deployed shortly in the capitol of UAE.
Abu Dhabi, city on T-shaped island, is not as famous as Dubai, for sure. Great alternative for snowy February in Europe. Staying two blocks from Corniche avenue, full of green parks, path-walks and modern-shaped skyscrapers I felt more like in western country if not to count arabic traditional garbs in every place. Heading to Zayed Mosque and Ferrari World first I left local area as a desert.
Big Mosque is located 15-17km from Corniche. Taking taxi to uncertain place was suboptimal solution for me. I did my homework and check bus public transportation routes discovering at least two lines directly connecting my place with the mosque location. This way I managed to save 30 times! if you compare taxi that would cost around 30 Dirhams one way while bus ticket is just one Dirham. Actually I saved 60 times because for one way ride passenger has to drop one Dirham coin to the deposit box next to the driver who is not issuing a ticket anyway; due to full bus I skipped this tiny donation saving one Dirham on my way back to hotel :]
While public transportation is heavily donated and tickets are really cheap, it is overcrowded by construction workers who are saving too, on hygienic equipment this time. What is more publicly available information like bus routes or timetables are very rough and do not match reality. Far away from western precise style of information delivery.
(Find also Grand Mosque high resolution panoramic pictures)
Half day I spent in Ferrari world, located 30km from Abu Dhabi on Yas Island. Looking nearly 45 minutes to find suburbian bus, line 190, from Corniche to Yas, finally I gave up and catch a taxi. What I saved on Grand Mosque visit I spent the other day. 20 minutes later and 50 Dirhams poorer, I was inside Ferrari world getting a ticket for nearly 200 AED. I was already excited on most famous attraction of this facility – 16 human car accelerating to 100km/h under 2 seconds and to 240km/h in a bit more less than 5 seconds, serving g-force reaching 5G in most narrow serpent of its under-one-minute total ride. Firstly I spent 30 minutes in line of people waiting to be catapulted, then watching the queue growing fast I decided to upgrade to VIP ticket for another 100AED and use fast lanes when you had only a handful of guests waiting for their turn, no longer than 5-10minutes. Dozen rides later, feeling a little dizzy I gave up and took a round-trip to discover other attraction. To get back to hotel I found 190 bus stop right next to main entrance; it cost me only 2AED while was running only a bit slower comparing to taxi.
Abu Dhabi initiated my new custom: skating over the world. I was mentally prepared for a long time to take pair of skates for business travel’s afterwork. Recently I bought hard-shell suitcase bigger enough to fit boots next to all necessary stuff. The first time was double freaking because not only I was in strange place, it was also arabic culture desert place, where I could not expect any urban skater. It was fun watching people jawing at me while sliding sidewalks, streets and valleys. Since it was after dawn I took an easy route along the coastline. To my surprise I have seen some skaters learning on pathwalks; we had a short chat about skating skills (hey guys, greatings again!) and I moved on. Due to extreme humidity two hours later I was drying my completely wet dress and boots preparing for night flight back home. My boots are waiting for next deployment.