blog 33: In which I give the INSIDE STORY on my trip to ABU DHABI – with the aid of some never-seen-before photos!

From the 15 -19 of January this year I was very fortunate to be a writer in residence at the American Community School in Abu Dhabi. It was a wonderful experience for me thanks to the friendly, dedicated staff and the beautiful, enthusiastic kids there. An extra huge thanks especially to Steve, Dianne, Gertrude and Young in the Library who had to put up with me more than most.   

Here’s a brief and slightly warped view of my time there.

My flight from Brisbane left on FRIDAY the 13th. This was my hotel in Abu Dhabi. I was on the 13th floor. The 13th letter of the alphabet is  for Michael. My room number was 6. If you take that away from the date I left (19th Jan) you get 13! I’m not superstitious so I didn’t place any significance on the fact that I caught on fire and fell down the open lift shaft on my first day. 

 

Me in my hotel room waving at the spy camera. Sure the security was great but I worried just a little about the privacy.

 

Here’s me in my hotel bathroom trying to take a photo of myself that will show the infinite reflections caused by two facing mirrors. There’s six hours of my life I’ll never get back.

Every hotel room has a little arrow on the ceiling like this one pointing towards Mecca. This shouldn’t be confused with the little arrows they have on the ceilings of hotel rooms in America which of course point towards Maccas.

This is the front entrance to The American Community School. If you can’t quite read the fine print it says, ‘Approach with caution. Wanted for crimes against Literature.’

Yes ok, I must admit it. I was slightly disappointed by the turn out for my big assembly address.

                               

The Emirates Palace was very impressive. Wealth on a big scale. So handy to have all your coconut palms growing on the inside.

Emirates Palace again. Told you it was big. I found this parked in one of the back corridors!

On the other hand, I found the Emirates Palace Marina to be sadly under-whelming.

This is the view from the Emirates Palace. That Emirates flag you can see in the distance is possibly the biggest flag in the world. Reportedly it’s the size of a football field which I think must be terribly disheartening if you live in a country whose football fields are only the size of a flag. 

                      

The amazing and stunningly beautiful Grand Mosque where too much gold, marble, crystal and semi precious stones is never enough. In the first photo you can see the biggest chandelier in the world hanging over a section of the world’s biggest hand-woven carpet. It reminded me so much of our foyer at home.

                                  

Apparently it’s just a mirage caused by the desert sun. All the buildings in Abu Dhabi are actually straight.

Well that’s about it so I bid a fond farewell to ibahD ubA ! (This sign probably looks better and makes more sense from the other side.) I had a great time meeting everyone at the American Community School and getting a chance to see some of the amazing sights of the city. A big thanks to Esther and the Booked Out Speakers Agency for helping organise the visit for me.  

Cheers
Michael

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4 Responses to blog 33: In which I give the INSIDE STORY on my trip to ABU DHABI – with the aid of some never-seen-before photos!

  1. Fantastic pictures, Michael. What a great experience. Can’t wait to see you next and swap M.E stories!

  2. You must be so relievee to be back in your home in spite of the homely reminders like the Grand Mosque vis a vis your foyer. I can’t even see where their umbrella stand might be. Very unthoughtful. We passed through Dubai at a similar time to you Michael. There is a lot of sand and mirages in that city too. Welcome back.

  3. Kerri/Kaz says:

    OMG – SNAP! That foyer shot looks exactly like ours as well!!! Michael, this is the most amazing coincidence of all… wait for it… You and I must have used the same design company! TOTT Interiors? Those Tacky & Over the Top guys are just the best. Yes?
    Though now I’m thinking I should have taken their deluxe option. Those indoor coconut trees offer a much more homely welcome than the date palm option that I chose. Can’t believe I went for the el cheapo version when a mere extra billion would have made such a difference.

    Glad you had such a great time – I bet the kids did as well. Abu Dhabi will never be the same.

  4. Margaret says:

    I’d love to go to one of your slide nights, Michael. :)

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