DAY 21 - Abu Dhabi Part I
31 January 2023
Queen Mary 2 World Centenary Voyage
102 days, 31 ports, 18 countries.
NEXT PORT: 01 February DUBAI (Overnight)
Ellen Frazer-Jameson reporting live from Queen Mary 2
ABU DHABI is the capital and the second largest city of the United Arab Emirates in terms of population and the largest of the seven-member states of the United Arab Emirates. Abu Dhabi lies on a T-shaped island jutting into the Persian Gulf from the central Western coast of the Arabian Peninsula. According to historical accounts, the name Abu Dhabi was first used 300 years ago, its origin is uncertain, but it may mean, Father of Deer.
Abu Dhabi is a thriving metropolis of high-rise buildings with a futuristic skyline designed by world famous architects such as the internationally acclaimed, British designer, Sir Norman Foster. Thanks to the discovery of natural oil in the country in the 1960s, and the fact that 90% of the oil belongs to Abu Dhabi, the state is a global super power of wealth and influence. Neighbouring state Dubai, owns just 10% of the black gold and the three smallest states own none of the natural resources. The Ruler, Sheik Mansour is known to many sports fans, he owns Manchester City Football Club.
There are 200 islands in the land of Abu Dhabi, many are already developed in this high-density residential state, some have been turned into marinas or remain marsh homes to mangroves and date palms. Construction has started on a far reaching and ambitious creative vision to turn one whole island into a cultural village. The island proudly houses the Louvre Museum, the first Louvre ever curated outside of France, and this cultural icon is to be a show piece alongside a National museum, art galleries and a world class performing art centre. The Hollywood movie Fast & Furious was filmed at the five towers of residences and offices called the Etihad Towers.
Louvre Museum of Abu Dhabi (stock photo)
Flying high in a prominent position between islands, an UAE flag, one of the largest in the world, and raised 123 meters in the air, is in sight of landmark buildings, and draws attention to sky-scrapers that are home to arguably some of the most expensive hotels in the world : The Emirates Palace Hotel: Ritz Carlton; and corporate headquarters, the World Trade Centre of Abu Dhabi: and the National Oil Company of AD.
Abu Dhabi rejoices in the superlatives that describe their Sheikdom.
The tallest, the fastest, the biggest, the newest, the best residences, retail, entertainment and gigantic shopping malls.
The Corniche (stock photo above) is an 8km public promenade which showcases the ocean front. Construction has begun on elaborate bridges replicating the waves of red sand dunes - these will gradually link more islands together. An underground tunnel (below) has eased traffic congestion in the densely populated capital and in an island city celebrated for its wealth, imagination and innovation, development rapidly becomes reality.
Until the early 1970’s, the lands that became the UAE were British Protectorates. They gained Independence in 1971.
Abu Dhabi is a new country but has grown spectacularly and heritage is preserved and the modern and contemporary is incorporated. In a city of contrasts the majority of buildings s follow traditional structures made from mud and stone mixed with the desert coral dredged from the sea blending in a subtle pink colour of sandstone. The desert rose, like the huge vats of rose water that are depicted as huge copper monuments on one of the main roundabouts in the city. Rose water is the smell that welcomes all visitors and is also a refreshing drink. Everywhere you look in Abu Dhabi there are to wonder to behold.
At the Heritage Museum, Sheik Zayed Bin Sultan, the first President of the IUAE back in 1971, and a member of the ruling family who are still in power, has his memory respectfully preserved in a specially constructed craft village with displays of traditional Arabian desert life and the lifestyle of the family. Alongside photographs of visiting dignitaries including Queen Elixabeth2 !!, there are displays of tribal weaponry, traditional dress, desert culture, elaborate carving, falconry, small boats and a collection of still working artisans’ shops, including cooper, silver, leatherwork and carpentry.
Heritage Village (stock photo)
The drama and romance of the desert send out a siren song to adventure and passion. Abu Dhabi is a world unlike any other you will ever visit. A futuristic science fiction movie set in the Arabian desert.
A mystical landscape
STAY TUNED FOR ABU DHABI PART II + OVERNIGHT IN DUBAI !
Current position of Queen Mary 2: Under way from Abu Dhabi to Dubai
Departure was 8 hrs 26 min ago. (at 18:00 h local time)
Arrival will be in 3 hrs 34 min. (at 06:00 h local time)
Traveled distance since Abu Dhabi: 52.53 nm (97.29 km)
Remaining distance to Dubai: 21.44 nm (39.71 km)
Traveled distance since Southampton: 6,671.09 nm (12,354.85 km)
Happy Sailing ... The Journey continues... Ellen
COMING UP - PART 2 - ABU DHABI
+ Dubai, United Arab Emirates - 01/02 February
Photo of the day (from the archives of JD Schwartz)
Further updates will be posted as soon as we get them from Ellen onboard Queen Mary 2.