Meeting at Emirates Palace

We touch down at Abu Dhabi Airport in the late afternoon. Our personal driver Ahmed is waiting for us at arrivals, dressed in an impeccable uniform and holding a sign with our names on it. “Welcome to Abu Dhabi,” he says. “Your car is waiting.” Two porters take our suitcases; all we have to do is follow Ahmed outside where a white Rolls Royce is waiting for us. This is a perfect start. Continue reading

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Sheikh Zayed Mosque

You can’t go to Abu Dhabi without paying a visit to the Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Mosque. We were in Abu Dhabi in 2006 when the Mosque was under construction, but now finally we can go in and see the result up close and personal. Continue reading

The Fast Lane

One of Abu Dhabi’s most exciting projects is the development of a multi-billion dollar cultural district like no other in the Arab world. Construction is in full swing and by 2012 visitors will be able to marvel at masterpieces from the Guggenheim and the Louvre in spaces designed by world-class architects like Frank Gehry and Jean Nouvel. Continue reading

Birdies and Bubbles

As we have breakfast overlooking the Arabian Gulf, we wonder what will be on the programme for today. It’s not our first time in Abu Dhabi, and we know from experience that there are always new things to discover in this rapidly growing metropolis. If your idea of Abu Dhabi is desert and a couple of lost camels, think again! Continue reading

Ajman Stud

We arrive in the emirate of Ajman to find that the prestigious Arabian Horse Show has just ended. However, Doaa, our friend at the Kempinski Hotel Ajman, tells us she knows the director of Ajman Stud, the stables of Ajman’s Crown Prince Sheikh Ammar bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, and that she will try to arrange a visit for us.

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Desert Road to Masfut

We could of course have stayed at the hotel and lounged around on the beach enjoying the mild winter sun and the warm waters of the Arabian Gulf, but you can’t really call that ‘discovering the UAE’.

We decide to take a trip to the oasis of Masfut, a small town in the mountainous southeast of the emirate of Ajman near the border with Oman. The road cuts straight through the emptiness of the orange sand dunes with only the occasional herd of wild camels to break the stillness. As we draw nearer to our destination the landscape changes: mountains loom in the distance and acacia trees dot the landscape. Continue reading

Dubai Superlative

Driving through Dubai is like leafing through The Guinness Book of World Records. The biggest shopping mall, the biggest dancing fountain, the biggest indoor ski slopes; if it ain’t larger than life, you’re probably not in Dubai. We decided to shoot for the stars: Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. Continue reading