Following a morning run along the beach, it was time for breakfast, where the chef cooks your eggs to your exact liking (poached, since you’re asking!).
Before I knew it, I was in a taxi for the short hop down to Wild Wadi Water Park. As with everything else in Dubai, the park is spotlessly clean and looks like it was built yesterday! The location of the park is stunning, with views of the Arabian Gulf and the Burj Al Arab and Jumeirah Beach hotels. But with the temperature approaching 90°, I decide to do a little work around the sun loungers…
As for the water park? To be quite honest, I got a little carried away with relaxing and didn’t get on a single ride, though the two schools in Dubai at the time said it was awesome!
Feeling well rested, it was back to the hotel and then onto the coach for the hour and a half journey to Abu Dhabi, which can be best described as Dubai’s elder brother. Considering it is the richest of the UAE states, Abu Dhabi is a little more restrained than Dubai, though definitely still prone to showing off!
First up was the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. The sheer scale of the place is immense, covering 30 acres, with room for 41,000 worshippers and the largest mosaic floor in the world. The most striking aspect for me was the sense of calm. A group of 40 teenagers walking around hushed and wide-eyed said everything there was to say.
Next stop was Yas Island, one of the coastal islands of Abu Dhabi that has won a host of architectural awards. We had time for a quick stop off at Yas Waterworld, recently voted the second best waterpark in the world. Having seen this, I can say that I have no idea what the ‘best’ waterpark in the word offers, but it must be pretty incredible to beat this!
In terms of sporting facilities, my first stop was Sports City, home of the Manchester City Academy, the Mubadala World Tennis Championship, rugby pitches, netball and basketball courts, an ice rink, a 40 lane bowling alley and a baseball diamond, obviously! The best bit is that it’s just 15 minutes away from the hotel, meaning you can enjoy top class facilities at just a stone’s throw away.
Cricket next and onto the Sheihk Zayed Cricket Stadium, where we wander on to the outfield as the Aussies are finishing their practice and Pakistan are just beginning. Alongside the stadium is a great oval, where we have a school playing the following day. If the camera at square leg were to just spin through 180°, the schools match could take precedence from the test!
You’d think that would be enough visiting for one day, but no, the home of the Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix was just up the road and, as it’s a Tuesday evening, the gates were open, the floodlights were on, and everyone was invited to cycle or run around the track! And so this is how I found myself cycling down the home straight, trying to video the starting grid whilst grinning like an idiot!
Visits completed, it was time for dinner and a bit of relaxation. Once back in Dubai, we headed up to the 43rd floor of the nearby Sheraton, where there is a great open air bar and restaurant overlooking the city. It’s a tough life…