Click here to watch video recap.
I had a Delta PEARL Zoom call at 7:30 EST which was 3:30 a.m. my time. I really do not mind, it’s just that I have to be in the lobby at 7:45 a.m. We are traveling to Abu Dhabi to visit Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. I’m definitely going to be tired!!!!!!
The drive from Dubai to Abu Dhabi was about an hour and 15 minutes. It gave me a chance to nod on the bus and catch a few more zzzzzz. We visited the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Heritage Village, and Qasr Al Hosn.
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.
I believe our tour guide stated it was the 14th largest mosque in the world and the largest mosque in the U.A.E. One thing I have learned on this trip is that the U.A.E. is all about setting records! Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is a colossal place of worship; big enough to accommodate over 40,000 visitors.
To enter the mosque females have to have their arms covered all the way to their wrist. No skin should be showing on the lower body and the hair must be covered. Before I left the states, I actually bought two coverings to wear to the mosque; one being the traditional all-black abaya and niqāb (a face veil covering all but the eyes). During the visit to the Spice and Gold Markets, I saw a beautiful covering for a female and bought it. It is black and adorned with pearls. It has a hood, which means all I need to do is place a covering over my hair. I can definitely wear this again!
Once we stepped off the bus the heat met us with a fierceness. No warning. Just HOT! Thank goodness the entrance into the mosque is through an air-conditioned mall. The entire group looked spectacular in our attire. As we passed through the first checkpoint a few ladies were pulled to the side because skin was showing on their legs or their arms. I don’t understand because it was explained to us days prior that we had to be fully covered. Oh well. They are very strict on females being covered appropriately.
I wish I would have taken a picture of the rules. If a man and woman want to take a picture together, they cannot touch. No PDA. The should stand next to each with a little space between them. While taking pictures one should not through up hand signs/gestures, for example the peace sign. That is not allowed.
- No smoking
- No food / No drinks
- No overt display of affection
- Kindly no display and raising and embalms or symbols of any significance
The walking self-guided tour of the mosque has ended. I’m outside in the heat (wearing a black wardrobe) trying to get some good photos of myself. Soooooooo as I was walking to a taxi to take me back to the other side of the mosque, I tripped and fell. God don’t like ugly! I say this because some people have no concept of space (in my opinion). I’m trying to take a picture and this couple gets all up in my picture. Generally when taking a photo the rule of thumb is that you wait until the person taking their photo has finished. You just don’t walk into their shot! This is the second time the couple has jumped “the imaginary line” and inserted themselves into my background while I was trying to take a picture.
I’m looking at them like WTH? Can you not wait your turn to take a picture or a selfie? It’s hot and I got tired of waiting so I inched closer and closer into their picture hoping they would get the hint to MOVE! My picture zone is finally clear . . . snap, snap . . . the pictures are taken. I ask the security personnel standing outside guiding the visitors if I can take a certain taxi that is idling close by. He acknowledges that I can get into the taxi and as I turn to walk to the taxi I trip on something on the ground. (Side note, point of clarification: This was not a taxi in the sense of a car. It was an oversized golf cart but they called it a taxi at the mosque.)
There are these three plastic covers that slightly protrude from the ground. I guess it is a drainage cover or something. Well I didn’t see it. Plus I’m wearing flip flops with this long covering, which may be the reason why I didn’t see it. My flip flop nudges the top of one of the coverings and it was all over from there. I lost my balance and fell. My beautiful red camera went flying out of my hand and smashing to the ground while my phone flew out of my other hand and there I was on the ground. How embarrassing, right? The security personnel immediately got on his walkie talkie and radio that there had been an accident. He asked if I was okay, which I was just a little sore but nothing major (I think). He asked for my age and nationality. (Why he needed that info I don’t understand because he didn’t get my name). If I was injured I wonder what would have happened next? I was out a holy and sacred place. A place of worship. Surely as a visitor, aid would have been rendered? There was no need to make a fuss. I was assisted up to my feet and I hobbled to the taxi and scooched onto a seat for the quick ride back to the air-conditioned part of of the mosque.
Next stop: Heritage Village. Located in the Shindagha near the creek’s mouth, the Dubai Heritage Village (Hatta Village) provides a glimpse into Dubai’s traditional culture and lifestyle, including Emirate’s maritime history, pearl diving traditions and architecture.
Most of the group went behind Heritage Village to the creek. It was similar to a small sandy beach and a great photo op. The only thing . . . I was not prepared for sand today. I did not have the correct foot wear. I was wearing tennis shoes. I decided to test the sand to see if it was soft like the sand in the desert. I stepped gingerly onto the sand and did not sink. This sand was not as soft as the desert sand. I proceeded towards the water. I removed my shoes and socks and walked into the beautiful blue water. The water was warm and welcoming. Here’s another side note: I had on long flowing pants and held my pants up so that they would not get wet but it was worth spending that time in the water.
After taking a few photos, I got out of the water and proceeded to walk back up to Heritage Village. The sand as I got closer and closer to the village was HOT. It was like I was walking on flaming hot charcoal. Shit, I could not stop in my track . . . I had to continue moving. Why didn’t anybody warn me that the sand was EXTREMELY hot the closer you moved back to the village????? The soles of my feet were on fire. Remember, I didn’t have my shoes and socks on. I was trying to get back to the platform and out of the sand. What I call the platform was really stone and it was HOT! As I hopped through the burning sand, the other ladies warned me that the stone “platform” was hot. Either I stop and try to quickly slip on my shoes in the burning sand or keep going and burn my feet on the stone platform. I kept going! Lawd, my feet!
Once on the shady part of the stone platform, I sat down and grabbed some baby wipes out of my backpack to clean my feet before putting on my shoes and socks.
The return time to the bus was 1:00 p.m. It was 12:45 p.m. and I wanted to see the replica of the village. Everybody else was back on the bus but I needed to see as much as I could. There was a donkey, camel, and other animals in pens. I went over to talk to the animals and remained cognizant of the time. I made it quick and returned to the bus. Yep, they were waiting on me. I was standing between them and lunch . . . the next stop was the mall across the street to have lunch on our own.
(My phone overheated while visiting Heritage Village. I guess it was so HOT outside. While trying to take some video the screen went black. It looks like the recording was still happening . . . the screen on the phone just turned off. I stopped using my phone for the interim and pulled out my camera.) After lunch we went to Qasr Al Hosn, which is a historical landmark and the oldest stone building in the city of Abu Dhabi. This was an interesting tour. We learned a lot about Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan the founding father of Dubai. Dubai has come so far in 25, 50 years. From a fisherman community in the middle of desert to where it is today!
At this historical landmark you can visit the fortress which is the oldest structure in Abu Dhabi. The fortress is were the men kept watch to protect the city. The Emirates absolutely adore the founding father and the great strides of the ruling family.
This ended our day in Abu Dhabi. Back to Dubai and our hotel.