Sheikh Zayed Mosque epitomises a lot of what is good about Abu Dhabi and in a way also unveils some of the challenges it faces as well. The namesake is basically the George Washington of the U.A.E. If you're curious what he looks like, just go anywhere outside in Abu Dhabi and you're sure to see his image on the side of a nearby billboard or large building.His favorite color was green, so naturally all the mosques are lit up in green all the time.
If you ask a local why the Sheikh was so great, you'll learn how he was in charge when the country discovered oil, bedouine tribalism spread through the desert and the British had an iron grip on the ports, which were mainly used by pirates.Zayed unified the region, declared that the oil riches belong to the entire people, and managed to rid the Emirates of pesky British control.From the limited research I've done, watching about 2 hours of videos and reading basically Lonely Planet, this seems fairly accurate.The only unsavory thing I could find was it's a little unclear how he ousted his brother from power.Other than that, it's a feel good story, but please feel free to check my bullsh**. I won't take offense.
The mosque is unbelievable. It boasts the world's largest rug, is chock full of gold and jewels, and it reminds us that every century or so, there's somewhere in the world of pure opulence.It's so grand...so regal...so beautiful...so clean...so...sterile.
Which brought me to a great conversation I had with a colleague. On one of my trips I asked my dude, who's British of course and a lifelong resident, to show me that AD is an actual real city. I said I love the curated desert safaris, the overindulgent buffets, and the majestic architecture, but that sh** aint real. "Oh you want something dodgy then, mate?"-me:"the dodgiest" -My man did not disappoint.
I'm running out of characters so I'll follow up on Weds with details on where we went. It was like that bar in Tatooine where Luke Skywalker met Hans Solo for the first time. In the meantime lemme know if anyone actually reads my stories. I started writing more 2 weeks ago.Also if interested in these types of adventures w/ family, check out @fivepax