“Would you like an aisle seat or a window seat?” my colleague on the ground asks. “An aisle seat, please.” I board KL437 for a week’s holiday — a destination where I no longer fly to: Abu Dhabi. A dear friend of mine lives there with her family. We were friends as teenagers. We did crazy things together. We lost contact, but found each other again through social media. I visited her for the first time, last year, after twenty-some years, here in the United Arab Emirates.
The Sheikh Zayed Mosque is high on my “to-see” list. The largest mosque in the UAE and the eighth-largest in the world. Every day except Friday, they offer highly informative tours for free. An absolute must. The mosque is truly beautiful. Like the tale of A Thousand and One Nights. Marble, gold, amazing chandeliers. Walking barefoot on the world’s largest flowered carpet. Dazzling beauty.
Abu Dhabi continues to grow. One great new part is Saadiyat Island. Here is where you find the most beautiful beaches. I’m going to spend a long morning on the beach near the St. Regis. With a little luck, you’ll see dolphins and sea turtles here. It’s a small nature preserve. It’s also a true paradise on the Persian Gulf for golf lovers.
At lunch, the view over the azure sea is beautiful. The temperature is over 40 degrees (105° F). I’m going to look for some coolness under a parasol. Enjoy the relaxed atmosphere. Feel an oasis of rest.
Magic carpet ride
“Valerie, you look like a Princess!” That’s what my friend’s daughters, Mia and Sophie, age 5 and 3, say. I’m wearing a long summer dress. I have to laugh at their disarming honesty. Not so very long ago, someone called me “Princess of Arabia” after seeing my profile picture. And that’s how I felt during this break. My friends took perfect care of me. I saw magical culture. Enjoyed delicious Arab dishes. Slept near the beautiful blue Persian Gulf. I board KL438 headed for Amsterdam. A princess for a week.
Life can be a magic carpet ride. Climb on, fly away and enjoy the ride! (meanwhile listening to my Abu Dhabi playlist!)