Friday, June 2, 2017

[ABU DHABI] No Food, No Ferrari


I've always considered the UAE as a good transit point from Asia to Europe. This time around, though, it was also a good candidate as a stopover before flying to Central Asia. FlyDubai flies to several Central Asian capitals. The thing is, they do so from Dubai International’s Terminal 2, which is always a hassle because you have to take a cab to go there from either Terminal 1 or 3. Still, the savings you get from the cheapo fare is worth it in my opinion. Having been to Dubai the last time, I decided that I’m visiting Abu Dhabi now.


The initial plan was to book a flight on Cebu Pacific. Searching for fares early this year, I was able to find some really cheap ones at just around PHP4,500 without baggage and meals. That IS cheap, even if you add a thousand pesos or two for the 15kg check-in. Unfortunately, I didn’t book it soon enough. Looking for flight tickets at around May, the price, for some fucked up reason, ended up almost the same as a one-stop flight via Singapore Airlines. No brainer, bruh. I booked the SQ flight.


At least there was inflight entertainment and complete meals to boot. Arriving at Dubai at around 7:30 PM, I claimed my baggage and hopped on the red line of the MRT. There are two bus stations in Dubai that play host to buses plying the route to Abu Dhabi. Ibn Battuta is almost at the end of the red metro line, which means you’ll be staying on the bus half an hour less as opposed to taking the other one from Al Ghubaiba. I can only speculate. The trip lasted for more than 2 hours. I guess it was the traffic?


Just buy a Nol Card if you plan to transfer to Abu Dhabi. You can recharge it and use it for the Dubai – Abu Dhabi leg. The price for the one-way trip was around AED25 (~PHP300) if I’m not mistaken. Getting off at the main bus terminal in Abu Dhabi, I then had a south Asian guy posing as a taxi driver cheat me instead of taking a legit taxi, many of which were present that night. Sometimes I think that I have this subconscious desire to be scammed by taxi drivers all over the world so I can rant about it later on.


Bottom line: ride a legit taxi. They use their meters anyway. Reaching my Airbnb place, I took advantage of the downtime and slept. The original plan for the one-day stopover was to go to Ferrari World. I’m not a fan of racing cars. AT ALL. I am a big fan of roller coasters, though, and riding the Formula Rossa is on my bucket list. It pays to check the website in advance, you know. There they said that the roller coaster would be under maintenance until the second week of June. Oh well. Fuck Ferrari World. I’ll just take a stroll.


Checking out at around noon the next morning, I had around 8 hours to spare, which was plenty of time. I left my luggage back at my Airbnb place so I was free from any heavy burden. I decided to take the bus to Marina Mall. I thought you could use the effing Nol Card for that. Newsflash: This is NOT Dubai. The good thing about the United Arab Emirates is that the possibility of finding a Filipino anywhere is way way way way way higher than running into an Arabic speaker. No transport card? No problem.


I asked one of the ladies if I can just give them the AED2 (~PHP25) in exchange for them beeping their card for me. One of them volunteered but refused to accept my coins. Why thank you for your hospitality. It’s good to experience being helped by fellow Filipinos abroad instead of being pulled down no thanks to the prevalent crab mentality that we have. You will get a good view of the corniche before arriving at Marina Mall. And as it was all sunny, I was excited to take pictures.


Marina Mall was the surprise. Not a lot of people were there and the curious thing was that all of the food establishments including the food court were closed. And so I wondered why. I came here for one purpose: EAT. And then I realized that it was Ramadan. The Muslims have to fast and can’t eat until 7 PM. Walking around trying to find food, my feet eventually led me to  the only food establishment open that day. Finally, food! NOT.


The cashier told me that I can only purchase food for take-away. I asked her if eating at the corniche would be a good idea. She warned me that I can’t consume any food or drink in the open because I would be fined if caught. Oh. A lot of things were running in my mind then that I would like to put into writing now. But let’s not? Better if we move on, no? In the end, I just did a rushed photo and video session of the side of the corniche close to Marina Mall. I surrendered halfway through the bridge and flagged a taxi.


I ate my take-away in the privacy of my Airbnb place. I was planning to visit the mosque in the south, but I no longer had the drive for sightseeing. Instead, I went back to the main bus station and boarded the E1 back to Dubai. I spent the remaining hours at the airport. The corniche was nice. Ferrari World would have been nice too. Maybe next time I will get to see more of Abu Dhabi. Besides, the UAE will always be my stopover of choice for these long-distance flights. Better luck next time, Alfred.

http://s208.photobucket.com/user/ihcahieh/library/ABU%20DHABI%20-%20Abu%20Dhabi
[ABU DHABI] No Food, No Ferrari
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLgi5HWxAmombvrWok5Ls7Wv6Ap1d-o6zX

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