So we’re here. The flight was good, despite Olivia’s fury that we were not “in the best bit” of the aircraft. Having prepared myself for seven hours in the air with my children by drinking a glass of Barolo at the Rhubarb Cafe in Terminal 3 I fell asleep as soon as we took off. I woke up three hours later to find the girls happily eating, Rupert ordering Whisky and Leo snoring away with his bear, Connaught.
So far so good. Then we arrived. I have to admit that so far I am not overwhelmed. Abu Dhabi seems a little like living in an oven, but possibly less attractive. Actually that may be unfair, we are in a total dump of a hotel apartment but drive ten minutes to The Corniche as it is called and things get better, greener, more elegant. Sadly there is no way we will be able to live there as apartments rarely come up for rent and when they do you need to be an investment banker to afford them.
We looked at a villa this morning on the other “new” Corniche. When they say “new”, they mean not yet constructed, so apart from a little bit where you could walk, the rest was a building site.
This is as far away from any place I would ever choose to live; there are no walks, no nature, no little side streets with designer clothes shops tucked away, no charming Italian bistros. It is a little like Florida, although the people are a lot thinner and I have to say universally charming.
But here’s my hope. I am hoping that after a long flight and being stuck in the worst part of town and getting used to living in steam room conditions (my glasses actually steam up when I go outside – it’s not a good look) that things can only get better. My hope is that in a week or even a few days I will be writing to tell you how marvellous it all is. How many friends I have made and how much I love the highways and impersonal shopping malls and how I never want to drink fine French wines again.
But for now it all feels a bit grim. Although I am encouraged by one fact I read in my guide book. There is an M&S. It could be my salvation.
Copyright: Helena Frith Powell 2008