Guggenheim Abu Dhabi in 2012 Cityscape.
(Guggenheim Abu Dhabi set to be completed in 2017)

I am glad that I was able to take a peek of Cityscape Abu Dhabi before the first day ended. Being invited/ visiting the event for the third time now let me manage the degree of my amazement with the stands. While there are stands which are shiny as new, I noticed that some chose to be practical by modifying the previous year’s models. I’m happy about the cost-effective direction of the participants. You can refer to my 2010 and 2011 Cityscape photos for comparison. This post aims to highlight the interesting finds/ pieces.

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Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque framed, Abu Dhabi, UAE

I lost count of all the important personalities (the most recent was Queen Elizabeth) and intent whirlwind visitors who made Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque a must-see and experience in their UAE trip. Hence, when I finally saw it in person I cannot believe that it took me four years (yay! I’m soon celebrating another Abu-versary) to experience the charm and validate on my own the record-breaking details of THE mosque.

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The Souk, Central Market, Abu Dhabi

Visiting a souk (bazaar or market) is probably less appealing during the first phase of summer in Abu Dhabi. But it’s definitely a come-on when you think of this new age souk! Few minutes drive from where I live, the historic Central Market is now sporting a new look as it’s transforming into a hub of local food, crafts, boutiques, and traditional and bustling pieces rolled into one. Stories say that the old souk was greatly affected by fire in 2004. As for the idea of resurrecting it, I liked the part that they conceptualized the modern souk not by simply putting up a shiny establishment, and instead they retained the Arabic feel through its architecture.

The Souk, Central Market, Abu Dhabi

Although The Souk is still eyeing its completion by the end of this year, it’s worth the visit because of the interesting finds inside it, a peek to its architecture, and the appreciation through your own senses that it’s a stand out in the UAE.

Spices at The Souk, Central Market, Abu Dhabi

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Turtle cake

I remember that day when a colleague was scouting for sources of stuffed turtle toy, I did not expect that it would be used for the launching of one of the projects of the Firm. Imagine the excitement and curiosity combined when we saw the toy turtles lined up on each table at the ballroom during the presscon-launch. Aside from the toy, all of us took home turtle cakes. There was a sort of question and answer as well and I am glad I was not called because I did not know the answers to most of the questions asked. Otherwise, I have been embarrassed infront of my boss and colleagues. And yes, you got to answer with the microphone. But when I look back, all of them got it correctly. Maybe I need a refresher course on marine turtle’s life. ;)

Turtle cake

Little J was regaled by the cake. Well, themed cakes are really appealing. But in the end, she ate the chiffon only citing that “I don’t want to kill the turtle with my own teeth” while reminiscing about those cute, while some were “snobbish” tortoises and turtles we met in Malaysia.  (The truth is no one at home ate that choco turtle on top.) And you know the psychology of slimy colors in general. I remember when we had our finals in Home Economics class in highschool that we were asked to bake a cake, each of us, from scratch. One of my closest friends used an apple green icing, matched with (I thought were) bizarre toppers and she got a really nice mark. Well, I was one of those who stuck with the safe pink and baby colors. If I can go back to that finals, I would probably be sporting a lego-type topping (read as sourgraping heehee). Sometimes, it pays to be unique.

Marine turtle conservation project, UAE

Speaking of being unique, our Firm adopted a turtle to support the marine turtle conservation project in the UAE. While the project’s objectives are really striking, I was more curious about how they track the endangered hawksbill turtles which are migrating from UAE to Iran, Oman, Qatar and other shores in the Gulf. According to Gulfturtles.com, when turtles come onshore to nest, a transmitter is fitted to their shells in a painless process using fibreglass cloth and resin. The transmitter has a smart switch that is sensitive to sea water. When the turtle comes up to the surface to breathe, the transmitter switches on and, using a global system of satellites, it sends a signal up to an orbiting satellite which keeps constant track of it. The information is relayed to a receiving station in France, then passed on to scientists and conservationists throughout the world via email or a dedicated website. (More information here.)

While it probably takes a lot of resources to sustain this project, I am glad that there are groups who support this kind of endeavor. We have to find the balance in the ecosystem in our own (even small) ways. While I gather my thoughts, I am at the same time enjoying tracking the turtles online.  That is a must try.