Day 2: It’s my Birthday!

HAPPY HADDY DAY EVERYONE!

So, I’m going to keep this short because it’s been a long one and I am exhausted, but I just wanted to drop a line to say TODAY WAS AMAZING!

It all began last night with a knock on my door at 10pm. There stood a waiter with a surprise birthday mud cake – um yes please! Naturally, this morning we had some for breakfast and it was absolutely delicious. 

Birthday Cake!
Please only ever knock on my door if you have one of these from now on, thanks

After that nutritious morsel, we decided to venture out to visit the grand mosque of Abu Dhabi. It was built by Sheikh Zayed almost 30 years ago. Sheikh Zayed was the numero uno ruler of the land. He was responsible for much of its development, infrastructure and healthcare. He also had the brilliant idea of building a striking white, mammouth Mosque to rest in after death (the sort of thing I’d do if any of my zany ideas would only gain some traction). The structure is phenomenal and definitely fulfils its brief of showing the world just how exquisite middle eastern architecture really is. It is the site of Friday prayers and has fed close to 40 000 people daily during the Ramadan.

FullSizeRender_1
See what I’m talking about?!

On the topic of fulfilling basic needs, I must admit, the last place I expected to end up for my first coffee of 27 was at the Coffee Club, Sheikh Zayed Mosque (as an aside, I haven’t seen so many Coffee Clubs in one city since I was in Gladstone), but it did a top job of caffeinating me so I can’t complain.

coffee
Mmm, perplexing

We wandered into the mosque and it really was something. I have never seen anything so remarkable in all its grandeur. Here’s a few photos of me inside it.

mosque standing
Not sure why I’m looking so blue
closeup mosque
The HadMaids tale

The chandeliers, carpets, mosaics and gold gilded columns are beyond exquisite. I really think it’s a marvel and it’s worth visiting if ever you are in the UAE.

After lunch, we were picked up by a 4WD for our desert safari. I was really pumped for this as I’d heard it made for an amazing afternoon, and we were not disappointed. 

So, call me naive, but until now I thought an epic 4WD experience was driving around lake Mackenzie on Fraser Island (don’t get me wrong – it’s fun, but it’s tame). Four wheel driving here is a totally different kettle of fish. It is SCARY. If you read my entry from yesterday, boy did I harp on about how awful the rollercoasters were. I’m ashamed of what I said yesterday. I’m not that person anymore. I’m post-dune-bashing-twenty-seven-year-old-Haddy and nothing. Nothing. Is. More. Terrifying. Than. Desert. Dune. Bashing. 

Seriously.

Put me on Formula Rossa for an hour then vomit in my eye, I’d still prefer it…

pose
Halfway point, just holding my head onto my mangled neck

The fact that the driver decided to almost kill us to the sound of dubstep just made the whole thing more harrowing. I honestly thought I would do a Shakespeare and depart from planet Earth today. 

 

I’m glad we didn’t, because we somehow made it to a Bedouin camp which was stunning. I was treated to a birthday camel ride which was amazing! The camel was adorable, I loved its knobbly knees and immediately understood why its eyelashes were so long at an intimate level (the wind speed in this place rivals that of hurricane). 

camels
Get a guy who looks at you like these camels look at hay

We were dressed in hijabs, painted with henna, and given a mighty good feed. There was traditional belly dancing as entertainment and she really was an athlete. I never realised just how intense the dance is, and she was magnificent.

hijab
King Bin Chicken (left) and Hadhijabtou (right)

Dinner and a show was followed by a shisha sesh. Yum yum. I think the nicotine got to us because by the end we were a bit crazy.

 

We arrived safely back to the hotel and after the longest shower to wash away the mounds of sand from just about everywhere, I am well and truly ready for bed.

Today was incredible. I loved that it was a completely novel experience, and I hope to start the year of 27 as I mean to go on; to continue with more adventures, and to work on improving myself and my happiness. Thank you to everyone who wished me a happy birthday. I was overwhelmed by messages and I really appreciated you all taking time out of your day to touch base with me.

Sorry if this was a bit of a slapdash entry – I really wanted to get something down before bed but I am practically sleep typing.

Tomorrow we hit up Emirates Palace, and I can’t wait for that! 

Haddy x

PS – The company we went with for the safari was Extreme Tourism LLC (www.abudhabi-desert-safari.com) Highly recommend!

“The desert, when the sun comes up…I couldn’t tell where heaven stopped and the Earth began.”  ― Tom Hanks