I am writing you today from the desert oasis city of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE). This beautiful city is filled with very friendly people, many of who have traveled here from all over the globe to find jobs and work here as the UAE has exploded with growth since oil was found here a short 70 years ago. Now the landscape is filled in every direction with huge construction cranes as hundreds and hundreds of new skyscrapers. Temperatures during my trip have been a perfect 70 degrees during the day as this is the high tourist season between October and April. While the weather is perfect now you probably want to avoid this region in the summer as temps soar above 120 degrees.
Is it safe to travel here? –
When people found out I was traveling to UAE the first question out of their mouth was, “Is it safe to travel there”? The answer is a resounding yes. The UAE is one of our (USA) biggest friends in the Middle East. There is zero crime plus the people are as friendly as they come. Everyone speaks English and all signs, menus and maps include English so not only is it safe it is easy to roam around. I feel completely safe walking the streets at night here ( probably not what you could say when traveling to parts of Chicago, Detroit and even Omaha right now).
Dubai is a must see city on your bucket list –
My trip this week also included a two night stop in Dubai. Some people compare the two cities of Abu Dhabi to Dubai by saying Abu Dhabi is like Washington D.C. while Dubai is like New York City. In Dubai I was able to visit the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa. This architecture wonder took over 7 years to build. I also was able to visit the famous Formula One race track and actually drive a race car. My favorite experience was a night in the desert with an off-road sand-dune experience that was better than any roller coaster ride. This was followed by a falcon hunting demonstration, camel ride, belly dancing and an amazing sunset dinner. Please add Dubai to your bucket list.
Etihad Airways may be the best airline in the sky –
My trip this week was sponsored by Etihad Airways which is based in Abu Dhabi. I flew directly there from JFK airport on the double-decker Airbus 380. This is an amazing bird that has the smoothest and quietest ride ever. Etihad offers first class seats that have a private wall with individual seating plus a lay flat bed. Business and first class passengers also have a private lounge onboard. The cherry-on-top however is the private area they call the “Residence” with private bedroom, private shower and a butler. What really sets Etihad Airways apart however is their amazing service. Their staff is impeccably dressed with a smile as warm as the sun. I wish all airlines where as amazing as Etihad Airways.
U.S. Pre-clearance at Abu Dhabi airport should be duplicated at other airports –
On all flights to the U.S. passengers can pre-clear US Customs and immigration before they enter their flights so when they arrive in the U.S. they don’t have the hassle of standing in the long lines when arriving back to the U.S. This is a great idea that should be duplicated at other airports.
I’m flying over Moscow, Stockholm, Iceland and Greenland to get home –
Many people don’t realize that when you fly to/from the Middle East or even Asia you often fly toward the North Pole as it is the fastest and shortest flight. Looking at a flat map and many would think you would fly directly west to east and travel through Africa to get to the Middle East. The shortest route however travels toward the North Pole.
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