Before I left for Abu Dhabi, my girlfriends and I talked about and imagined celebrating a New Years Eve in Dubai. As well as all of the desert sight seeing activities that come along with visiting your friend living in the Middle East. Plans changed as the year went on. Caitlin moved to Denmark, Cyd was in Toronto and the cost of flights to Abu Dhabi increased exponentially. We texted ideas about coming to Abu Dhabi back and forth, and it was finally decided that visiting some time in early 2017 would be the best option. This decision came when I was extremely homesick and decided that I would go home for Christmas.
One at a time the girls booked their flights, with Caitlin confirming her arrival only about a month before coming (typical Caitlin 😉 ). Even though I live here, it was like a vacation for me to have the time off work and do touristy things here around the UAE.
The first four girls arrived Thursday February 2 evening into Abu Dhabi into my open arms holding a pink handmade poster. From there we jumped into the gigantic 7-seater SUV we had to get us around for the next 10 days. Right back to my apartment we stayed up talking and eating until the girls faded and went to sleep after their long journey over! We woke early the next morning and made breakfast and got ready to head to the beach. Side note here : We had just had the start of a few weeks of bad weather the day they arrived, with strong winds and RAIN (it was raining when we left the airport).
We had two failed days of beach attempts, due to bad weather we weren’t able to enjoy the beaches. We went to a movie on the Friday and shopped at the mall. Saturday was the same, so instead we laid outside at the Al Rayyana Beach club 😉 We went for dinner – a few of us with skin pinker than we had expected – then headed to the airport to get Chelsea, to complete the 6-girl take over of Abu Dhabi!
**CUE SEX AND THE CITY THEME SONG**
Our third beach attempt the next morning was nearly a miss again. We made it to Yas Beach, but it was a little cool for a beach day. Still we enjoyed the sun and the beers for the afternoon, then headed home to get ready and head to Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. It was my third time at the mosque, and like every time before, it was just amazing as the first.
Our mornings started the same way every day, mainly by Laura playing the Sex and the City theme song over and over waking us up. Homemade breakfast and then deciding what the days plans would be. On Monday, I had another day off work, we went for breakfast at Tawa Bakery and then got ready for the desert safari. Something everyone must experience while in Abu Dhabi, the desert safari. Dune bashing, camel riding, watching the sunset on the top of a dune and Arabic entertainment and food.
The next three days I had to get up for work, leaving the girls to their own devices. Either going to the pool or headed to the beach on their own, they always made it back together and without a grand de-tour of the city. We went for a ladies night (another must-do) with free drinks and half priced shisha at a Lebanese restaurant, Byblos sur Mer, on the marina with live Arabic music one evening. Another evening, we simply got wine, ordered take out and sat up talking in our pajamas, like we would at home.
WEEKEND!! DUBAI!! BRUNCH!! Finished work on Thursday and headed to Dubai for two nights! Thursday night we went to Dubai mall for dinner and to watch the fountains at the Burj Khalifa.
Friday morning we woke up early with plenty of time to spare before having to get ready for brunch. We walked to JBR for Starbucks and then to JBR beach.
We got ready to head to the Bubbalicious Brunch at the Westin. Where we sat outside and had our free flowing bubbles, unlimited buffet food and an assortment of different cocktail stations to choose from. To date, it is the best brunch I have been to since living in Abu Dhabi. Obviously, the highlight was the shots in the syringes… and the company 😛
The afternoon blended into the evening, where we were sent to the after party at the wine bar in the hotel. From there we left and went to JBR, ate more food (because we hadn’t had enough earlier). We went into Mahiki bar – the highlight there obviously being the smoking gigantic rum bowl (lol). Finally, decided to call it a day/night and head home around midnight.
Saturday, some of us were feeling worse than others. Still, up and out of bed to check out of our apartment. We went to Madinat Jumeriah for breakfast at Rouge cafe, with views of the Burj Al Arab. Shopped around at the souk there. Headed back to Abu Dhabi around 2 to get back and have the girls pack 🙁 Ordered take out and watched movies, just relaxed until the girls headed to the airport after midnight. I said my goodbyes from my apartment door, the girls said their goodbyes to each other at the Amsterdam airport – until we would all be reunited again this summer for Caitlin & Kodie’s wedding!