It’s not the largest or the roughest city, but it’s my first real experience away from the comfort of family or friends, and I am trying every day to learn a little bit more – some discoveries, some accidents.
1. We have no addresses here. If you’re lucky you might have a PO box where you may be able to receive mail. Otherwise landmarks define your location. It took me a few days to figure why property listings had “view of landmark” as a feature.
2. It may be adjacent to the desert, but Abu Dhabi does have a winter of its own. I have experienced the chill even through a sweater.
3. An unmarried couple living together is illegal. And so is the prostitution that goes on outside Le Meridien every night. Yes, I was shocked to see it happening.
4. No surprises – a litre of oil is cheaper than a litre of water.
5. A stem of rose costs seven times more than one in Delhi. This, by far, has been the hardest to come to terms with.
|Photo Courtesy – Nat Geo|
6. Many expats who have been here long enough own private boats. You can see them parked outside their villas the way you’d see a good ol’ Santro in the neighbourhood. Funnily enough, banks provide Boat Finance options too if you’re eager to buy one without saving up any money.
7. Did you know, if you fall asleep in a cab, your driver can be pulled over and fined for up to AED 200? And to think that I sleep in the cab to work every morning!
8. My locally configured BlackBerry notifies me of all six prayer times through a day.
9. Sure there are a lot of Indians here, but seeing Marie Gold biscuits or Amul butter at the grocery store is a definite delight.
10. Camels participate in beauty pageants and have dedicated race tracks where robots ride the beauties which are too fast (and bumpy) for a human to do the honours.