After 3 days of ‘not doing much’, it’s a welcome change to arrive back in a ‘city’ again. There’s probably only so long anyone could stay in the middle of a desert, before getting sick of it. Having said that, arriving in Abu Dhabi, didn’t quite have the same effect as when we arrived in Dubai. Being the capital, it certainly does not have the ‘luxury’ feel of its cousin. The buildings are older, the city centre not as well maintained and the streets a bit more ‘chaotic’. It is the financial powerhouse of UAE however, given it assisted with the financially struggling Dubai, with the buy-out of the Bur Khalifa. Apparently Abu Dhabi have about 100+ years worth of oil reserve to keep it ahead of the other 6 sheikdom (or states). It’s obvious that the city is busy building new ‘stuff’ to catchup to Dubai. We only spent 2 days here, and most of our time was spent at the ‘new’ stuff that the city has to offer, which included:
1. Ferrari World
The thought of ‘Ferrari World’ conjures a venue that allows me to drive one (at least for me). That is unfortunately not the case, and is primarily a theme park for the kids. The most exciting ride, so called ‘Formula Rossa’, was the only highlight and gives you a feel what 4.8G , and 240km/h feels like at the same time. It’s fast, it hurts your chest with the G-force applied on you, but it’s really not that scary.
Perhaps the only other ‘interesting’ ride for me was the F1 simulator. It lasted a total of 10 minutes and gave me motion sickness after that…
Apart from that, it was a venue that allowed us to learn some history about Ferrari, its factories, and a few educational videos of its Formula 1 racing. There are plenty of family rides of little interest to me and my wife. Nevertheless, it was good fun that lasted almost a whole day. Of course, there’s plenty of real Ferrari lying around that few of us could ever afford.
2. Yas Marina Go Kart
Any Formula 1 fan would probably be aware of the Yas Marina circuit and the Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix event. Too bad Formula 1 Grand Prix isn’t until November. I am a semi petrol head who would have jumped at the opportunity of driving the Formula 3000 Driver Experience on offer, except it wasn’t available the week that we were there. So, I had to settle for go-karts. Mind you, the facility on offer is definitely one of the better ones I’ve been to, yet cheaper than any that I’ve been to in Australia and Singapore. I guess the price of petrol probably have something to do with it. The track was definitely good fun, with plenty of corners.
We only went for a single 15 minutes session. Thinking back, we should have gone for a few more sessions. I pulled off a 57.542 seconds, for my fastest lap for the session, which is pretty crap compared to the fastest time set there of 50.882 seconds. Definitely need to come back here one day for a few more sessions to improve that time!!
On a side note, my wife noticed this ‘special’ locker dedicated to ‘A. Kwok Fu Shing’ in the ladies change room:
Well, for Asians that grew up in the 90s listening to mandopop, you would have undoubtedly come across the name Aaron Kwok (郭富城), who is one of the 4 mega stars of Hong Kong (四大天王). He is definitely well known for his passion for cars and racing. With a dedicated circuit like this, it’s probably of little surprise that he is a regular here. It’s an accidental discovery by my wife. Now, it can only be one of 2 things:
A – It’s a totally different A. Kwok that is a lady/female
B – Aaron Kwok is a female
I know when I grew up, heaps of guys at school thought he was either gay or a lady. Perhaps the second one above is true?? 🙂
3. Emirates Palace Hotel
This hotel would be equivalent and a competitor to ‘The Sail’ / Burj Al Arab of Dubai, except it is lesser known to the world. We didn’t stay here, but I can only assume that this is a regular with the super rich. We did come here for a couple of ‘odd’ things on offer, which included
A – Cappuccino with real 24k gold flakes on top.
It’s definitely the most expensive coffee I’ve had! And frankly I have no idea if eating gold flakes is good for you or harm you in any way.
B – Camel Burger
.. and yes it came topped with 24k flakes on the bun as well. Camel meat isn’t that delicious, but it’s definitely interesting.
C – Gold Vending Machine
To top it all off, there’s even a vending machine that sells gold coins/bars! It looked genuine, but I did not buy anything from it.
So there you have it.. Abu Dhabi in 2 days. Apart from the above, the malls on offer doesn’t quite compare to the ones offered in Dubai just yet. If I get myself better organised next time, I would definitely come back for Formula 3000 driver experience and Yas Marina Formula 1 Grand Prix.