Lovey dovey in Abu Dhabi? Well, not quite, but anyway just had a great couple of days there. It's interesting to compare it to Dubai, its illustrous neighbour. Abu Dhabi is much more like a normal town than Dubai. For example, it actually has high streets with shops, and lots of them, whole blocks in fact. That's not to say that Abu Dhabi hasn't been hit by shopping mall mania too, but it's much less at the forefront. Interestingly, I also stumbled across some quite slummy areas, where a lot of the immigrant population live. Most seem to be Filipinos. In fact, almost every shop assistant or cashier seems to be Filipina.
From a touristic point of view, the real highlight was the fabulous Sheik Zayed mosque, which is almost on a par with the Taj Mahal (see pic). There's also a park all along the "beach" front, which is great for jogging and cycling. The beach is mostly corniche, though, i.e. reclaimed land. And, unfortunately almost everywhere in the Gulf, there's a distinct lack of surf, probably because the water here is so shallow.
I was also surprised to find that the Emirates is actually cheaper than Bahrain. I did an experimental shopping run and it came out cheaper than the equivalent in Manama. The Emirates General Store is the place! Abu Dhabi would definitely be a nice place to live. Just a pity about the heat and absence of rain in this region!