Our friend Neil arrived on the evening of Wednesday, April 17, 2013. Neil and I worked together at WestJet and he also visited us in London when we first moved overseas in September 2010. He loves to travel as much as we do and he is a big runner so we made sure to do some races while he was here.
We picked him up from the airport and got him settled into his bedroom. (Last time he visited us in London he had to sleep on an air mattress on the floor so we thought this was a step up). The next day we both worked and Neil ventured out on the Big Bus Tour of Abu Dhabi. That night we went out for drinks at Ray’s Bar and then over to the Belgian Café for a patio dinner.
On Friday we took a road trip to the Liwa Desert. We set out in the morning and arrived just in time for lunch at the Liwa hotel where Neil tried his first camel burger. After lunch we went to the Liwa Fort and then made our way to Moreeb Dune, the tallest dune in the UAE. It was a pretty hot day but the boys made a quick hike up the side of a dune.We then made the drive back to Abu Dhabi.
The next morning we were up bright and early because we had to drive to Dubai Sevens Stadium for our 10km race. The race started at 7:00am and by the end it was getting pretty hot outside.
We showered up there and then hit the road to Hatta. Hatta is located in the Hajar mountains along the border to Oman. We drove around the town, stopped for some views at the dam, and walked around Hatta Hill Park. It was a scorcher by that time (38-40) so we didn’t want to spend too much time outside. We hopped back in the car to make our way back to Dubai where we had a late lunch and saw Neil off at his hotel.
Neil stayed up in Dubai for the week and toured around on his own. He went up the Burj Khalifa, did a bus tour of the Sharjah and Ajman Emirates, walked around Dubai Mall, did some runs at Ski Dubai, rode the Big Bus tour around Dubai, and visited Bur Dubai. It really cooled off during the week and we think Neil prayed for rain. On Thursday afternoon he came back to Abu Dhabi to spend the weekend with us.
On Thursday night Dan made an Arabic feast with lamb kofta, falafel, tzakiki, pita, tabbouleh and hummus. The next morning we took a drive out to Saadiyat and Yas Island. In the afternoon, we ran the Etihad fun run 5km race along the Corniche. That evening we went out to Souk Qaryat Al Beri for a delicious Indian dinner at Ushna overlooking the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. Saturday was another cool and cloudy day so we decided to walk over to the Palace Hotel then had tea and cake on the 73rd floor observation deck in our building. There was a football match on that afternoon so we took in the game at Hemmingway’s pub.
Neil kept himself busy on Sunday by taking a guided tour of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and on Monday he visited the Falcon Hospital. On our last night Neil took us out for a nice Italian dinner.
Now that summer is approaching we don’t anticipate any further visitors till the fall. It is slowly heating up and soon will be unbearable. Thanks to Neil for coming all the way to visit us and braving the heat!