Sunday morning rolled around before I had the chance to rest enough. I was woken early by my mom as Sunday is a weekday there and I was going to be tagging along on her school visits. I had a quick breakfast and shower (and managed to break the shower rail with barely a tug) and we were out of the house by 07h30.
Our first stop was ADEC (Abu Dhabi Education Council). And then it was off to the first of the five schools my mom advises.
There were a few things I found really interesting about the schools in general. Firstly, each student is given a cardboard lunchbox daily which contains a juice, a water, fruit, a yoghurt and a sandwich of sorts. So there is no need to bring your own food to school, and no “tuck shops” I could see. Secondly, the schools are a square building with the central area being the play area. This play area is usually under cover because of the year-round heat. And all the windows have guards on them. I’m still not sure if these guards are there to keep the kids in…
As Abu Dhabians are keen “feeders”, they will offer you copious amounts of tea and coffee and juice and water at every opportunity. I got so used to it that if I wasn’t offered something at a school we were visiting, I felt robbed. We stayed at the first school for a few hours allowing my mom time to catch up after being on home rest for 10 days as she had hurt her ankle. At 11h00 I was called in to the Social Worker’s office as he’d arranged a pizza party in honour of my arrival. Their pizzas are the size of a normal side plate and feature rich cheeses (not the normal mozzarella). They were quite yummy and I felt very special to have had a little party organised for me.
We then went off to the second school, the only girls school on my mom’s list of schools. And while we were waiting for the principal (my mom wanted to introduce me), we spotted a lady who wore the tell-tale signs of having attended a wedding over the weekend – henna tattoos on her hands and feet. Isn’t the design absolutely gorgeous?!
After we’d finished at the second school, we called it a day and went past Khalidya Shopping Centre so I could buy an appropriate swimming costume for our trip to Khasab (because a bikini is not appropriate, especially not my itsy-bitsy bikinis).
Next we went to Marina Mall as my mom said I just had to see the spice section at a shop called Carrefour. And while my mom paid for our purchases I went to exchange some Rands for Dirhams. Who knew that there are so many places available to exchange money?! There are literally a handful of places in each shopping centre.
After our brief shopping expedition my mom put on her Tour Guide hat and began to show me some of the sights. We went to the Emirates Palace Hotel first and it really was a sight to behold. It was built for the Sheik, but apparently once it was finished, he decided it should be turned into a hotel and another palace should be built for him. (Prepare for a multitude of pics…)
This is the view of the palace as you drive in. One of my favourite shots in this group is of the water. Love how it came out… In the top pics you can just see my mom standing at the top of the stairs – that gives an indication of the enormity of the palace.
The inside of the palace is spectacular! All luxurious and spacious and filled with gold! Top left pic is of the many levels seen from the central atrium. Top right pic is of the ceiling in the central atrium. Bottom left pic is of one of the lounge areas in the foyer. And bottom right pic is of one of the staircases (love the lines).
From there we headed off to Spinneys which is a shop perfect for all ex-pats! It sells South African magazines, jams, teas, etc. So if I felt a little home-sick, this was definitely the place to visit. What’s more, they even have a Mugg & Bean above them! We bought a few things and then made our way to The Noodle House for an early dinner and so I could watch the sun set behind the largest Mosque. (Let me just tell you that I have a ton of pictures of this sunset but chose only to share one to ensure I don’t bore you with pics…)
Once dinner was finished we headed home so I could have a bath, some tea, and an early-ish night (was in bed by 22h00).
*Day 3′s adventure to come soon…
Hugs & Kisses