Saturday, December 28, 2013

Abu Dhabi Day Two: The Corniche

Day two started out fantastically.  With the blackout curtains drawn in our hotel room, we had no idea of the time and slept in until 9:00.  Heavenly!  We woke up to the maid, since we hadn't set the privacy signal on the door, and then Carolyn and Steve a little later as we were finishing up getting ready for the day.  We ate fruit and cereal for breakfast, then had them drop us off at a bike rental shop along the Corniche - a major road right along the coast with bike trails and shops for tourists.  A lot like PCH in a lot of ways.

We rented two bikes for 30 DHS/hour each.  The bike guy picked out mountain bikes for us, but in retrospect, we should have gotten the cruisers.  Both of us had to hunch forward to reach the handlebars, but we wanted to be upright so we could look around. 

We still had a great time riding down and seeing the sights.  It was beautiful weather and great scenery.  One of the coolest things was the enormous sand castle with replicas of the Grand Mosque and a few other distinctive buildings.  There were also some smaller mounds carved into camels and other designs.

We got ice cream at ColdStone on the way back (very Arab, right?), and then dropped off our bikes and walked down to the Marina Mall.  It was really beautiful and had great views of the Weekend Palace and Emirates Palace Hotel.

For lunch we went to the French grocery store Carrefore in the basement level of the mall.  There were a lot of yummy fruits, breads, and cheeses, so we bought a baguette and cream cheese, some fruit and carrots.  We also bought a kids watch for 10 DHS (~$3) so we could be sure to meet up at the right time for the Safari - we were so excited!

We took our food up to the food court, and had fun people watching.  It was so weird to be in such a familiar place, and yet see and hear all the Arabic language and dress.  We made sure to be ready for Safari pickup in front of the mall at 3:00.  Carolyn and Steve showed up shortly thereafter, but the Safari driver never showed up!  Carolyn's phone had died, so we couldn't call to locate the driver.  At about 3:45, we finally saw a big vehicle with a small "Safari" written on it, but it didn't even stop to pick us up.

After another half hour, Steve managed to get the phone charged up somewhere in the mall.  We called the safari, and they said they decided to leave because they couldn't get ahold of us.  We were so annoyed!  We had been actively searching for them in the obvious pickup location, but they were nowhere around!

Oh well, we decided to make the most of it and do the next big thing on our bucket list - eat dinner at the 7-star Emirates Palace Hotel.  We stopped first at Carolyn and Steve's boat, which was really fun to see, and then went back to the Rosewood (our hotel) to change our clothes.  We also had an email exchange with the Safari group, and decided to rebook for the next day.  Here's hoping it works out on the 2nd try!

After we were all spruced up, we drove to the Emirates Palace Hotel, but we were turned away because we didn't have a reservation.  Strike Two!  We called to reserve another time, but they are completely booked the whole time we're here.  Bummer!

After some quick thinking, we decided to head back to the Marina Mall and have dinner in the rotating restaurant at the top of the tower.  This time we got right in.  It turned out to be a great backup.  The food was all fabulous, and the view was spectacular.  We made a full revolution just about the time we were finishing up our food.

Thank you Grandma Carver for treating us all to a delicious dinner and fabulous view. We had a great time be spoiled from the Christmas money you gave us, Carolyn and Steve. We love you!




Candice said...

It is so weird to see beautiful beaches without half naked people on them! Keep up the great work on your trip reports!! I want to go so bad I can hardly stand it!!

Sarah said...

Way to be on top of it with the trip report! It's so fun to see all your photos and read about your trip while you're there! What an interesting place to visit. Can't wait to read about the rest of your trip. Hope the return travel goes well.