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Long day

Yesterday was a long day. I worked from 10 a.m.-10 p.m., with a break to run on the treadmill. Darren worked out with me. When we were done, we did “third-world laundry” by jumping in the pool in our workout clothes. It felt great. We made our way over to the swim-up bar and had a Perrier. Now that’s how you finish a workout. 

We came back up to the lounge for dinner after the workout. I absolutely scarfed my food. I didn’t have lunch really, so I was quite hungry. The food on the buffet was smoked salmon, marinated scallops, beef skewers, crab cake balls, gorgonzola-stuffed new potatoes, and of course an array of desserts. I chose a tiny cheesecake and a chocolate panna cotta. 

Tonight is our last night in Abu Dhabi. I’m sad about that, but I’m looking forward to seeing where Darren lives in Bahrain. It will help me to have a visual on his surroundings so I can picture his daily life better. And we’ll be able to cook our own meals and live in a place with more than two rooms. 

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Aloe yogurt

Has anyone ever seen or heard of aloe vera yogurt? It was on the breakfast buffet this morning. I didn’t realize you could eat aloe. I almost tried it, but I just couldn’t do it. The yogurt brand here is called Slim-O. That makes me chuckle. I think it’s from Switzerland. My favorite flavor is peach-apricot. The yogurt is thinner than in the states, but I’m used to it now. I do miss my Greek yogurt, though. 

Look at that, a whole post about yogurt. Food. I can’t help it.

Dining in good company

Who exactly do I think I am these days? Last night I had a fantastic dinner with five men—four Navy SEALs and the general manager of 30 five-star hotels. In my head I kept hearing the song, “One of these things is not like the other, one of these things does not belong.” How does a freelance graphic designer from the midwest end up at a dinner table in Abu Dhabi, UAE in that kind of company? It was awesome. Believe me, I soaked in that moment for quite a while. It’s uniqueness was not lost on me.

The restaurant is called Rodeo Grill and it’s known for making all of its food from scratch and for having great USA and Australian beef. The service was out of this world, though it did take a very long time for our food to arrive. The restaurant was completely booked. The food was worth the wait. We had a selection of fresh dinner rolls with French butter. The chef sent a little appetizer of salmon mousse on a slice of cucumber served over a drizzle of aged balsamic vingear. Tiny and delicious. For dinner I think we all had steak except one of the SEALs who took the opportunity to try quail for the first time. I had a filet, which was served with onion rings, a baked tomato, and a side of sauteed forest mushrooms. I also tried some of Darren’s mashed potatoes, which were heavenly. 

After dinner we were served a little palette cleanser—a tiny ball of sorbet surrounded by a dark chocolate shell. We didn’t even get dessert. The little sorbet ball was too perfect to follow up with anything else. 

It was another wonderful dinner with great company and conversation that lingered for a couple of hours. We had three bottles of Merlot and we made two toasts – one to good company and one to doing the right thing.

I’d better leave Abu Dhabi and this five-star hotel soon or I am going to turn into the most spoiled woman on the planet. We head to Bahrain on Friday. I’m going to be exited and sad at the same time. 

Darren’s gorgeous mosque photos

I had to share these photos Darren took of the mosque. He’s a ridiculously talented photographer. Enjoy.

Ice cold milk and a…

…oreo cookie-shaped building. I’m so in love with the architecture here. This building is called HQ. It’s in a development whose name translates to “the pearl” and this building is the clam. Or so I read. I believe it and it makes a good story. It’s another great example of the incredible buildings we are seeing here in Abu Dhabi. I promise one of these times I’ll have Darren in the photo with me. 

Repeating pattern

I’m inspired by a pattern in my hotel. Where the buffet is located, there is the same intricate repeating pattern used in the interior design. It’s made into privacy screens, room dividers, fountain accents, and wall accents. My favorite use is this one, where the pattern is made of bronze and put over wood paneling. Gorgeous. 

The leaning tower of UAE

We made it closer to the leaning building, Capital Gate, today (see original post). This photo is from the top of the parking garage next door. The leaning building is really impressive closeup. Notice the sign? How could I not stand next to it? Ha!

Emirates Palace Hotel

We visited the Emirates Palace Hotel today. My God, it’s enormous. I need to piece together some photos I took and post it. The photos won’t do it justice. 

We drove up to the hotel and were told we’d have to circle around and drive back out. But we managed to stop and hop out for a couple of quick photos. Despite how it looks in these photos, there were actually quite a few people walking around and taking photos. 

Ahh, the food

So I’ve been talking a lot about the food. Here is a look at some of the beautiful treats we’ve been eating. Click on any image for a larger view.

 

Friday feast

I learned yesterday that Friday in Abu Dhabi is all about eating. It’s the first day of the weekend and I think it’s all about gluttony. The Friday brunch is famous. In the hotel yesterday I saw this in full force. Where the grand buffet is, tables were reserved well in advance. We were able to sit in one of the nearby restaurants. Here’s how this worked. The buffet was available as usual, but all the restaurants also had buffets set up. So we could go from restaurant to restaurant and out into the main buffet and eat whatever we wanted for the price of admission. We were sitting in the Japanese restaurant, so we started with some sushi. I went next door to the German restaurant for my next plate of food. 

Dad, this one’s for you. I thought about you immediately in the German restaurant. It was all food you would just love. Clearly I love it, too, because I filled up a plate. At the far end was a whole suckling pig. Then were was a long row of warm foods – sausages, mashed potatoes, green and red sauerkrauts, German potato salad, lentil soup…on and on. I wish you had been there, Dad. We would have had a great feast. 

So apparently the Friday brunch goes on for hours, followed by napping. I say we start this tradition in America. Sleep in on Saturday, get up and lazily eat brunch for two hours, then take a nap. That sure beats my normal routine of cramming as many errands into the weekend as I can, then feeling like I’ve had no down time. 

After our brunch extravaganza, we took a little nap. Then we went to a sports bar at a nearby hotel and watched rugby. What a tough sport. It’s the NFL without helmets or pads. After rugby we went to the pool at our hotel. They have a swim up bar, so we had a pina colada and soaked in the atmosphere. Before we knew it, it was time to eat again. See, I said I couldn’t go a day without talking about food. We kept it simple last night and split a pizza at the Italian restaurant. Tomato, basil, and buffalo mozzarella. Mmmm. Mmmm.

Today we are taking a tour around Abu Dhabi. Darren is the tour guide. He’s finishing his workout and I’m finishing being spoiled in the lounge. Then we are off. I’ll report later.