“Dense fog that engulfed the capital and caused travel disruption at airports on Friday morning has lifted.Dozens of flights were delayed or diverted due to poor visibility.Abu Dhabi Airport officials released a statement saying this morning’s heavy fog had an impact on aircraft movement at Abu Dhabi International Airport”. – THE NATIONAL
This was a “highlight” for us on Day 2. A very scary “highlight”. It took us over 3 hours to get to our hotel from the city. This drive usually takes 20 minutes. Our “speed”? 10/15kmph!
The day started out great. We had planned all our activities the night before and decided to do the city tour today. Emirates Towers, Etihad Palace, Sheikh Zayed Mosque and a bunch of other beautiful attractions Abu Dhabi has to offer. Right after breakfast, we jumped into it without wasting any time. But of course if you have a toddler you should begin your prep 2 hours before your schedule.
Our intention was to start at noon but we left the hotel at 2.00pm to start the day. We grabbed a map at the concierge of the hotel and the staff there helped us navigate our way into the city. Their suggestion was to start off at the Lourve Museum, which was South West of the map, head to the Emirates Palace, Heritage Museum and Etihad Towers (South East of the Map) then back to the Hotel.
The car rental procedure set us back another hour, which seriously ate into our time. If you intend to rent a car while on vacation, figure it out the day before or start out early. It’s not a breeze in and out situation. You’ll have to sign some paper work, your visa will need to be verified, passport scanned, international drivers license scanned, credit card details obtained and a bunch of other things, which might take an additional hour.
At this point, I wanted to stay back in Yas Island and enjoy the attractions there. We decided to go ahead with our original plan and head to the Lourve. The Thrifty rep set up the GPS and took records of the dents and damages on the vehicle (another time consumer). We were finally out of Yas Island at 3.10pm
First of all, do not go to a museum with your toddler. You’ll end up running through the exhibitions without appreciating anything. It started off really good; she was quiet in her stroller, “soaking in” the experience. Till she needed water…and juice…and a diaper change…and “get down”…and a host of other things. Good enough, the Louvre Abu Dhabi has a Children’s Museum where kids can express themselves and play. It’s a very lovely creative space. Older kids will surely appreciate this more and you can leave them there while you enjoy the museum.
The Lourve Abu Dhabi has a vast gallery of pieces from all over the world and I was excited to see our very own, Nok Terracotta, an original. Before you come at me with “they have stolen all our history”, sit back and think about where this history will be if it was back in Nigeria. I can tell you Mr. Nok is happy to be in Abu Dhabi and he’s well preserved. He’s having a good time with all the others.
As we stepped out of the Museum, we were consumed by a thick fog. However we did not think anything of it. There’s still a lot of construction going on around the lourve and we assumed this was the reason for all the fog. I was still dancing around happy that I finally had my white Christmas. We had no clue what we’ll face a couple of hours later.
This experience was so unplanned but we loved it! The plan was to grab lunch at the mall and head out to a few other attractions and back to Yas Island. But we got to the Marina mall at dinner time. Opposite the mall was the food festival. Right after dinner, we decided to scout around. The festival was simple yet functional. I think they were going for the rustic chic theme. I particularly loved their make shift tables; painted metal drums were used as legs for the tables. A nice array of play structures for the kids, arcade games, a rodeo and a some food trucks. We spent longer than expected as the Little Nomad would not to get off carousel. She was having such a blast. We finally rounded up at 9.30pm and set out to our hotel.
Our drive home was fun until yet another fog came down on us. It was such a scary and daunting 3 hours. As we approached the famous Sheikh Zayed mosque, we could only see a few domes. It’s such a gigantic structure and when you can only see some domes, then that’s trouble. Big trouble. The fog covered the entire mosque. People that couldn’t risk driving in the fog parked at the side of the road. We contemplated doing that but decided to keep pushing on.
We could not see past 10 meters which is literally two road markings per view. Those huge direction signs usually on highways were almost invisible. We could only see them when we were directly under it. I was terrified but had to put on a brave face. I became the vision of the drive, looking for every sign that said “Yas Island”. We had a GPS but you know how they are. It kept taking us via closed roads as it was not up to date. Thankfully the little Nomad was such a good sport. She was just playing with her nanny at the back. Till she pooped in the car! We almost passed out. That definitely eased the tension lightened up the mood.
We finally found someone who directed us to our hotel and got back safely.