Travel Tuesday: My 29th country UAE

Kimono Dress by Mich Araullo
ALLELUIA!!!! 29 countries in my 28 years! I got an advance pass! This means I don’t need to travel next year! My bank passbook can rest a bit! Hahaha!:) I’ve been to the UAE a couple of times but only confined to the airport (layovers) so technically I couldn’t include it on my list just yet. But now, it’s officially numero 29! The best thing about this was absolutely FREE!!! What a blessing to be able to travel for work.. it just so happens that it’s work that I actually enjoy! Of course, many thanks to the SHELL family for sending me to Abu Dhabi to experience Ferrari world (I’ll be blogging about that real soon!!). We were given some free time in between our work requirements, so I used the time wisely to explore as much as I could.

I’ll be honest with you, Abu Dhabi is FAR from what I expected. I was quite disappointed with myself and my preconceived notions. First of all, I sort of pictured Abu Dhabi to be similar to Cairo..then it hit me, Cairo is third world and Abu Dhabi is first world. In fact, it was once dubbed the most expensive city in the world! I was expecting Morocco/Cairo meets Old Manila/Ermita and instead I got a Switzerland meets Singapore! The city is booming with progress, everything’s grand and modern. We were billeted at the luxurious Yas Viceroy Hotel right at the Yas Marina Circuit. I had my jaw dropped the entire time as we pulled up to the driveway. This giant illuminated jellyfish-durian looking hotel is a tourist site in itself!

This image is from the web.
As soon as I entered my hotel room, I was jumping for joy!!! A big suite all to myself facing the actual Yas Marina race track!!! Ka-Gu-Lo. Of course, the whole time I was walking around the hotel I had my most pompous face fixed.Out of my way people, OUT OF MY WAYYYY!!! Rich looking female walking!!! But I think all my loud OOOHHHS and AAAHHHS sort of gave me away and I looked like a kid completely mesmerized. While having breakfast I had the view of the race track and the docks. Para bang galit na galit sila sa pera nila… “I want race cars..KABLAM..and the same place!!!! Kapow, Kapoof, Kacheng-Kacheng!” Very 1970s ang sound effects ko.
We planned a trip to a local souk on our first day so I dressed up all rugged ready for a day of haggling with aggressive locals. I pictured small muddy streets, camel dung, and endless lines of spices, tapestries and carpets. Instead, we saw a mall. A very clean mall. Yes, their souks look like malls. Airconditioned with gelato booths and a Starbucks. How I wish we had clean markets too! Imagine having sanitized and  airconditioned “palengkes”!? I kept asking the locals to lead me to their “old, traditional souks” but apparently they’ve renovated all the old markets decades ago. That’s what happens when you’ve got so much OIL. Hahaha! And the people were all so pleasant! I was almost pissed that the people were too nice. Plus these Emiraties do like them fancy cars!!! Beemers, Rovers, Jags, and Maybachs all over the place! Huy, side mirror niyo lang ang dami ng mapapakain na bata sa bansa ko! Sarap ilabas yung side car ko sa gitna ng kalsada..BOOOM! Meron ba kayo nyan?!?! Limited edition yan at may libreng kalawang pa! Hahaha! My side car is the most fuel efficient car because you don’t need fuel at all. O diba, eco friendly!:)
The highlight of my trip however was bumping into all our kababayans in the UAE. I love, love, love seeing Pinoys every time I travel and I always make it a point to chat them up..yes, I’m one of those pyscho over-friendly people who say “Pinoy ka???” with a big all knowing mousy smile. Sabay hirit “Hindi noh! Hindi ako Pinoy!” hahahaha!:) Everyone from the bell boy at the hotel, to my housekeeper, even to the guys at the food court greeted me “Kamusta na po, Miss Patty!”. Even the Pinoy ground staff at Etihad was so helpful and called me by my first name! It was like an extension of Manila in Abu Dhabi and I loved it!
Overall, the UAE was quite an eye opener for me. And although I was very impressed and amazed by all their grand architecture, all the luxury and also made me appreciate the simple joys we still enjoy back fish balls in the street, taho vendors and Divisoria. 🙂  We may be a poor country, but we’re  a happy people. The goal is for the private sector to work hand-in-hand with the government to create new policies that will provide more opportunities for our people. We don’t need to be the richest country in the world, we don’t need gold plated toilet bowls. People just need to be fed and children just need to be schooled. When you travel, there are always lessons you can pick up from other cultures and it’s always good to somehow apply these things back home. 🙂 So every time you take a trip abroad, get to know their history, their cultural traditions, and the systems of government..see how a country works and try to learn as much as you can. Travel is more than taking a few nice photos, buying a couple of souvenirs, it’s about educating yourself and seeing the world in a whole new perspective.
I’m giving away ballet flats from Yosi Samra
to some Lucky Blog Readers!
I’m always on the lookout for comfortable walking shoes for my travels and I stumbled across the super soft on the toes–Yosi Samra ballet flats! They come in different colors so you can collect them all! 🙂
And since I want to share the loving with all my fellow travel bugs out there,
I have a little blog giveaway again for all of you!

1. Click the LIKE and TWEET buttons below.
2. Click LIKE on the Yosi Samra Facebook Page.

3. Answer this simple question: “If you could travel to any place in the world, where would you take your Yosi Samras?:)” Place your answer on the Yosi Samra Facebook wall and don’t forget to add the hashtags #dapattylaurelblog and #myshoesize. Contest ends on Dec 1.

“I’d take my Yosi Samra ballet flats to SANTORINI, Greece! It’s my dream destination and I hope I’ll be able to save up enough money to travel to this lovely island someday! #dapattylaurelblog #size7”

29 Responses to Travel Tuesday: My 29th country UAE

  1. I’m sorry too. I guess I wasn’t able to express what I wanted to say properly.

    But anyway, you really have a nice blog here!

  2. Hi Patty..i was before lived and worked in Abu Dhabi, when i saw your pics i said awwwww…i truly miss the place and makes me wanna come back there, Life there is comfy, fun and happy even we are away from our family we still managed to enjoy life..Godbless you Patty 🙂

  3. hi patty! could you share what photo editing tool you use to make it postcard-y? (like 2 – 5 photos in 1 whole photo). thanks!! super like your travel posts 🙂

  4. “Travel is more than taking a few nice photos, buying a couple of souvenirs, it’s about educating yourself and seeing the world in a whole new perspective.” -This is one of the reasons why I la-la-la-looove your posts, especially your travel posts! They’re always full of quotable quotes! Very inspiring, indeed.

    Speaking of “being inspired,” one of your posts in Gerbil Adventures actually helped me decide on how to spend thy moolah. Hehe. Of course, I quoted you for the nth time! Idol talaga kita eh! Hope you can check it out:

    More power to you, Idol Patty!!!

    Always your fan,
    Mika 😀

  5. hi Patty! I dont know if you have read my comments in your blog thru twitter. I just arrived here in Abu Dhabi and I also do blog things. And when I read yours, napapa ohhhhh nlng ako. You are so true right there! I so feel for you with all the notions in this place. You should have visited Dubai too. It’s really nice to travel and learn so many things. keep it up! wish I could meet u soon in one of my travels too. Godbless =)

  6. just like sex and the city part 2…the city is partly modernized but still the people are conservative…hmm..never been to abu dhabi but from the movie and your blog, i think it’s pretty amazing..just read your new blogs, thought you were gone, from your previous blog.keep it up patty!

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  8. Too late of a reply but, I am curious, what are the 29 countries that you have been to? I would assume that would be mostly in Europe 🙂

    That is pretty awesome accomplishment!

  9. I’m a lurker in your blog. This post got me teary eyed. It’s also my realization since I started working in a first world country and because of that, I was also able to travel in some parts of the world. “We may be a poor country, but we’re a happy people.”

    <3 JP