Last weekend while we were in the UAE we hotfooted it down to Abu Dhabi for the day. It was great to look around and see what had changed since we moved away from there in 2003, and it was also terrific to catch up with our old pals Barbie and Marc and their two nippers Megan (seen holding hands with Mitchell below) and four week old Chloe.
One obvious change is the completion (almost) of the Sheikh Zayed mosque. This towering edifice has been under construction for more than ten years, and even now is not completely finished. (Landscaping seems to be taking forever.)
It boggles the mind that in Dubai they can build all of this in less than six years (I kid you not – in 2002 there was only a bare patch of desert there). By contrast the Sheikh Zayed mosque just seems to be taking forever.
The old legend was that it couldn’t be finished while Sheikh Zayed was alive. Well, the old guy’s dead now, so what’s the hold up??
Anyway, here’s a collection of then and now photos. The former set were taken during a private tour of the construction site in 2003.
2003 – – – – – – – – -> 2008
As you can see, it’s a bit fancier these days. In fact, it would be fair to say that it’s anything but subtle. In the central prayer hall that’s the world’s largest carpet and the world’s largest chandelier. Unfortunately some goon decided that Sheridan wasn’t allowed to take her chair onto this famous carpet – which seemed pretty rude and uncharitable for a house of worship. I mean, they let anyone walk on it in their stinky funky socks…
And you know what? I kind of preferred the brutalist style of the unfinished product.