Sheik Zayed Mosque

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21/09/2016 (Abu Dhabi)

This is quite one of the most remarkable buildings I have seen : European cathedrals point to a past sense of commitment, labour and worship: for me at least, this was about Now ; firstly a place of worship, (perhaps Solomon’s temple had this lavish feel to honour Yahweh) and then a place for visitors to marvel. We are invited in with no agenda, no charges, no conversions, free conversations, no topic is taboo – ‘they’ were remarkably amenable to discussing religion, politics, New and Old testaments. The only expectation was that you treated their place of worship with respect and to that end they are quite assertive.

Marble from Macedonia on the outside, Italy inside, pillars of ‘date palms’; semi precious inlays in detail to take your breath away : my amateur photos and words cannot begin to describe this place of worship – a special visit and humbling in a way

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Dubai/Abu Dhabi

 

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Excess:
bold: defiant: beautiful: daring – all words that came to mind as I was shown building after building and shopping mall after shopping mall and hotel after hotel

The modern golden calf came to mind

Massive displays of wealth and people spending vast sums of money:
jewels the likes of which I have never seen before:
magnificent dresses ( can one call them that?) with price tags of $27000 plus.

A population of 2mil I am told but thousand more visiting – either to spend
money or earn it

My taxi driver was Indian – his wife and children still in India – he has worked here for 7 years, 3 more and he can get a house

While the Princes have no shortage of homes – miles and miles of ornate walls behind which they live in opulence hard to imagine.

Politics is easy – what the prince decided is law so no need for elections

And so ended a long day/ night with me asleep on a pool bench on the roof of the hotel – asleep that is from 1.30-3 am when I awake with a bump having fallen off my bench
I have a whole new respect for park bench sleepers 😳

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Abu Dhabi chaos

21/09/2016

Abu Dhabi – so beautiful from the air
Curves – even the radio control tower is elegantly curved – like the dunes I remember from Namibia
The airport is large and beautiful but after standing in a crush (cannot call it a line) for more than 20 minutes to get through one gate and then 15 minutes of sweaty agitated bodies squeezing me as they jostled to get through 2 security checks – where Everyone had to take off shoes belts watches – (I wondered when someone would strip altogether as a protest – no one did! )
I am revising my opinion – the poor people who were trying to get on a USA connection – chaos is all I can say
And we haven’t arrived in Africa yet 😂😂😂
One poor old man lost his cool and began shouting in protest – he was quietly marched off – but interestingly the door was opened immediately for some of us – only some mind you 😜