Viva Ferrari World! For me, spending the day here was the highlight of our trip to Abu Dhabi. I went in with big expectations, and found most of them fulfilled.

I can now say that I’ve ridden the world’s fastest roller coaster, and enjoyed every minute of it. Wait, I meant second. The ride only took a few seconds; never found a better time to use the phrase ‘blink and you’ll miss it’.

Ferrari World is located in Yas Mall, which is equidistant, between Abu Dhabi and Dubai. I woke up early, not because the drive was long, because I wanted to spend maximum time there. Soon I was running through the mall, knocking down fro-yo signs and jewelry displays, my brother and cousin tagging behind me.

Luckily, there wasn’t much of a line; though there were a couple of early birds purchasing their tickets. There were big neon signs advertising the roller coaster. In the distance, through the massive glass window, I could see the tracks. I queued for the ride (ugh queue is such a weird word.) jumping with excitement as I neared the ‘coaster. Pretty soon, it was my turn. I got into the front seats, pushing down the safety strap and wiggled with joy as the countdown started. I high fived the equally enthusiastic lady next to me. Three…two…one…

I cannot describe what the ride felt like. We were yanked back and then pushed off onto the monster of a track. The ride was so fast that I could barely see anything going on. My stomach dropped and I was waving and yelling at the top of my lungs. My heart felt like it was sinking into my stomach. After a magnificent 360 followed by a straight drop and up again twice more, the ride finished. I staggered out, my hair looking like a birds nest.

After that, my cousins and I took part in a few more rides and games, frequently complaining that ‘it wasn’t fair you had to be over 5 feet to do go karting’. We drove round a mini Italy, booed all the lucky over-five-feet go karters, and took part in a training school, aka rock climbing/ obstacle course. I was stopped three or four times by different health officials, advising me to go to the hospital and sanitize myself as I had a minuscule scab from the roller coaster.

So, we escaped to another roller coaster before they could dial 911. It was a family race- pretty sure I won. Just saying.

We watched the shows at Ferrari world which seemed like fillers to me, not really that exciting compared to the rest of the park, and played cheesy arcade games before going to the gift store. After a thorough inspection to see if they had leather jackets my size (they didn’t by the way) we left Ferrari World (I had to settle on a souvenir mug).

The experience though was amazing, and I’d love to go again, wearing 12 inch high heels.


Picture on top: After the rollercoaster

Lower Picture: Rock climbing

camels,sand,stars and sun

On our first day, we had explored the city of Abu Dhabi, organized and businesslike, with walkways, beachfronts and giant glass structures. Today, we decided to visit the desert.

This was my first time visiting the desert. I had seen pictures while reading Tintin comics and watched countless movies where the hero trudged through the dunes, sweat trickling down his face.

We were goingon a desert safari.  It sounded pretty exciting- as did the news that an old childhood friend of mine would be joining us.  The plan was simple, to bash into dunes, sandboard down the slopes, dine by the campfire and relax under the stars.

We kicked of the tour and were promptly introduced to some camels who were sunbathing idly. They deigned to look down at us (did I mention that I’m only four feet nine?) and allowed us to pet them. The driver then told us it was time to leave and we got into the safari jeep. All the kids, including me, fought to sit at the back, seats for the very bravest.

Looking back, I kind of wished I had taken the front.

The sensation was amazing at first. We picked up speed and flew over the ground. We would descend to take a hairpin turn. We left wavy lines etched into the sand and did loop de loops. At some points I almost felt like we were driving perpendicular- up and then down.

We stopped to explore the dunes.  Vast endless sand expanses- tempting us to start climbing, rolling or running down. Soft enough to lie on with a grandeur ideal for Instagram pictures. I did everything possible. I raced down and hiked up. I tumbled, and lolled, though I was too busy to take pictures. Soon, the driver told us to leave. From this point- the ride went downhill.

The dune bashing had become awfully sickening all of a sudden. I held on tightly, as we bounced over the same landscape. My head was reeling.  Thankfully, a speck that crossed our path soon became the camp that we would spend the evening.

The camp was a welcome oasis. It was tucked between two sand dunes, ideal for sandboarding.   My friend and I attacked the slopes, which was really fun. We hiked up the sands, sweat glistening down as we dragged the boards up. We cruised down the slope, sometimes hitting the sand, sometimes managing to make it and boarding like bosses. As the sun set, we settled to chucking sand into each other’s eyes in an attempt to make fireworks.  This proved to be rather dangerous so we gathered round the campfire to eat and chat. The stars twinkled above.

It’s a trip worth making- one that I guess I’d do again at any time. Just keep in mind to pack barf bags before you leave.IMG_0928IMG_0916

Top: Hiking the dunes           Down: Reaching camels



abu dhabi-

During the holidays, my family had the idea to visit Abu Dhabi, and meet our cousin who stayed there. My first thoughts were expected; shopping, hotels, plenty of sibling rivalry and a modernized city just like Dubai. I was about to find out just how wrong I could possibly be. So here is my first trip to the UAE, and all of my unexpected experiences there.

I was absolutely knackered when I landed in Abu Dhabi, having stayed up all early morning bingeing on the fabulous movie selection; because it’s possible for me to watch the Divergent movie after complaining for hours on end that it’s a rubbish adaptation of the book.

As the plane touched down with a slight bump, I stared out the window, desperate to leave the plane and go outside. After what felt like, hours on end of prodding people and penguin waddling towards then entrance and then *gasp* fresh air.

The Abu Dhabi airport has a stunning overview with an iconic tower shaped like a wind sail. Coincidentally, I was greeted by a calm breeze, and my uncle, of which the former was unexpected. I had staggered out with sunhats, sunscreen and shorts, expecting to be melted after leaving the airport.

Abu Dhabi is made up of a number of islands; I stayed at my aunt’s house on Al Reem Island. I kept up an unproductive sloth mentality, lying all over my cousin’s bedroom until my family decided to visit the Corniche. A gorgeous and neat beachfront, resembling Singapore, and ideal for cycling or running up and down, with headphones jammed in, and hair flying behind. I cycled for a while, then explored parts of the city. Abu Dhabi is connected with sub level walkways, cabs all over and a bus system, and the streets themselves are easy to navigate.

When evening falls, small, traditional bakeries open up to reveal lavash-ish  flatbread, contrasting to the modern architecture and glass buildings dominating the islands. There are plenty of art galleries, small fairs and malls all over, although leave an extra day for the shopping. You’ll need it.IMG_0821IMG_0950