On the night of Wednesday, February 6th, Rebecca and I went to the airport to greet my dad, Doug, who had just arrived from Calgary via Toronto. That night we went for a relaxing dip in the pool to refresh after a long flight. I took the next day off work and had lined up a tee time at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club. We had a great round and it was the first time I ever beat him on the course. On Friday, we went down to the Dhow Harbor and stopped at the vegetable and fish market. Needless to say, we had a big seafood dinner of shrimp, scallops, and hammour (a local fish) that night. On Saturday, we had arranged a kayak tour of the Eastern Mangroves with some friends.
Rebecca and I headed back to work on Sunday, but that didn’t mean dad didn’t keep busy. He quickly discovered the gym and would ride the bike, lift weights, and swim lengths in the pool. Once he finished his workout he worked seriously on his tan. Dad also discovered how to get himself to the local grocery store and often had dinner ready for us when we got home from work. He prepared such things like qofta with tzatziki sauce, lemon garlic chicken, and Wagyu striploins with giant prawns.On Tuesday night, Dad and I met Rebecca at the Yas Marina Circuit where we rented bikes and raced around the F1 track. On Wednesday, Dad and I met Rebecca at the Yas Links Golf Club and played the floodlit 9 hole par 3 while Rebecca took her golf lesson.
On Friday morning we drove up to Dubai for the day. We visited the Mall of the Emirates, home of the indoor Ski Dubai, then the Dubai Mall which is located at the base of the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa. Later, we headed to Bur (Old) Dubai to see the old souk (market). We first stopped at the textile souk then took the water taxi across Dubai Creek to the spice and gold souk. On the way back to Abu Dhabi, we made a detour to the Jumeirah Palm Island.
On Saturday, we had a relaxing morning at the gym and pool. At 2 pm, we ventured out for our first desert safari. We arrived at the camp which is set up like a desert oasis and were quickly loaded into a Toyota Landcruiser. Soon after, we were “dune bashing” up and down the sand dunes. I don’t think I’ll ever get Rebecca into another Landcruiser again! Once that was finished, we rode camels, visited the goats and sheep, and watched a falcon show. We were served a traditional Arabic meal followed by a fireside tea.
During his time here, Dad also managed to visit the Heritage Village and Museum, the Palace Hotel, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, and took a dip in the Gulf. When we weren’t out trying to see all the sites of Abu Dhabi, we enjoyed numerous cribbage matches, good conversation, and a few drinks in our apartment.
On Dad’s last night, we took part in a Gourmet Abu Dhabi event by attending a Chateau Dinner at the Beach Rotana Hotel. The dinner was inspired by Chef Michel Rostang and the wine pairings were done by Chateau Rothschild of Bordeaux. A wonderful way to end Dad’s trip.
On Tuesday morning, we said our goodbyes and Dad started his journey back to Calgary. Thanks for coming to see us Dad!