The drive back to Abu Dhabi took longer than expected due to traffic congestion in Dubai. I counted about four car accidents on the way to our hotel. Up until now, I doubted the statistics of the high rate of motor vehicle accidents in Dubai. I thought that the residents had mastered the art of driving fast and erratic. Clearly, I was wrong. Thankful for us, we made it to the Fairmont Bab Al Bahr unscathed. The hotel entrance was buzzing with guests who tacitly competed for the award of "Most Ostentatious" as they arrived in vehicles representative of their wealth. It seems that luxury is a common necessity in the UAE. On our way in, we could hear and feel the sound of music thumping from a lower region of the building. Evidently, there was an exclusive party taking place and the crowd was just arriving. We made a beeline to check-in and went up to our room for some shut-eye.
In Abu Dhabi, the weekend starts on Friday so that explained why the scene at the hotel was energetic at our arrival. However, the morning after was marked by a calm quietude. Despite having every desire to sleep for the 10 hours I thought I desperately needed, I was up by 6:45 AM watching daybreak over the serenity of barren streets. Most places don’t open until later on Saturday, leaving us to venture out for breakfast an hour before noon. We dined at the popular and Yelp-approved, Cafe Arabia. Upon entering the restaurant, we suddenly felt transported into a hipster sanctuary that bore the resemblance of cafes in the neighborhoods of Park Slope and Fort Greene in Brooklyn. It had an eclectic decor featuring a library of books, hanging lights and reupholstered furniture among other things. Staying firm to our determination to try something out of the norm, my wife and I chose a Palestinian egg dish. I don’t recall what was in it, but it was incredibly delicious.
Later that evening we reconvened with our friends, who were now also in Abu Dhabi, for a dance party at their hotel. The DJ impressed us all with a vibed-out mix of contemporary and nostalgic hits. For the first time in a long time, I was drenched in sweat from contorting my body to the rhythms played throughout the night. I mean, one simply cannot refuse to do the “dougie” when “Teach Me How to Dougie” vibrates through the speakers. This time, we’d definitely be exhausted enough to get ample rest for next day.