25th December 2015
Hooray to Etihad for the cheap flight from Kathmandu to Beijing with a stopover in Abu Dhabi. I was not letting the chance to set foot in the Middle East slip away. While many would go to Dubai, I was not interested as my love rests with Sheikh Zayed Mosque (Grand Mosque).
I like the idea of being lost in a foreign city since you always end up finding something more. However, one cannot get lost in Abu Dhabi.
The walk along the sweeping curve of the Corniche was pleasant. Many decades ago, the area used to be a beach and the Mina Zayed was yet to be constructed. It is now a place littered with skyscrapers, buildings, fancy restaurants and malls.
Although it offered a nice view and a pleasant stroll, Abu Dhabi (for me) is all about the Grand Mosque.
I had a flight to catch at 8pm which meant that I had to be quick to save time. However, I didn’t realise that it was packed with visitors and that made the wait longer than usual. Furthermore, having my luggage with me and not owning a driver’s license (needed to pick up the abaya) resulted in a further 30 minute delay.
The wait was worth it though……
Constructed from 1996 to 2007, the Sheikh Zayed Mosque is the largest mosque in UAE and a key place for worship. Non-Muslims must wait until 4:30pm on Fridays to enter and despite wanting to see her during daytime, night proved to be equally magical.
With her glistening white floor and a wonderful fusion of Arab, Persian, Moorish and Mughal architectural design, the mosque wooed me from every angle. Arches, reflections, mirror images, symmetries, ceilings, natural frames- if I’m that kid in the candy store then I just got completely wasted!
Abu Dhabi was where I ended my super December trip. UAE will forever remain the last country that I called home in 2015. Life is great because I’m still alive and although difficult (since I plunged rock bottom and was depressed for most of 2015), the experiences that I’ve gained made me realise that I’m capable of laughing so hard that I don’t even need to go to the gym to get a six-pack and above all – I sincerely love life, people and breathing.
So memo to myself- stay alive in 2016. Never cut off your own wings, fly, travel and keep on failing, making a comeback, piss a few bums off and laugh.
Until next time.
Note: For those wanting to get their hands on the temporary bus pass, you need to purchase it from the Abu Dhabi Bus Terminal. Anyone wishing to find a place to sleep for a night or two, contact Dale, my airbnb host .