I recently found myself in Abu Dhabi for a week. This was my first trip to the region, and I was excited to see the differences in culture, tastes, scents, the quality of light... On the plane, I was giddy when I saw on my seat's screen that we were flying over Mesopotamia and the Arabian Peninsula.
Abu Dhabi is rich in intense flavors, natural and urban beauty, and extravagance. But what stood out to me most were the simple and sensual pleasures.
Al Ain Oasis
We wandered the pathways between the palm trees at sunset, with the quality of light changing by the minute. This oasis is watered by an ancient irrigation system.
Fresh mint and lime juice
I ordered this drink at least once a day. I've never experienced anything as refreshing as this combination of ridiculously fresh mint and lime on a hot day.
Abu Dhabi is a city in the midst of creation. The buildings that are springing up are impressive in scale and design.
I felt very conflicted about this meal. Camels are adorable, but this burger was amazing. I did not expect to love camel meat as ardently as I did.
Louvre Abu Dhabi construction
The Louvre Abu Dhabi's construction is underway! When completed, Jean Nouvel's enormous dome will let through a 'rain of light' that changes as the sun moves across the sky.
The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, one of the largest mosques in the world, is built on an astonishing scale. It features the largest carpet in the world and seven German chandeliers with millions of Swarovski crystals.
Cool baths after hot days
My dearest memory of my time in Abu Dhabi is the time logged in the luxurious bathtub in my hotel room. Every night, I would draw myself a bath in my air-conditioned room, turn down the lights, put on Billie Holiday love songs and sip mint tea.