25th August 2014 – Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Paulo Coelho once said ‘waiting is painful’. Maybe he was waiting for eons for a bus too. When the scalding desert winds tear you up, What else would a vengeful writer do?
Two months into my travel, and I haven’t made any major blunders so far. Until today. Today was a day that I was destined to get screwed.
So, despite all my friends telling me that there is nothing much to see in Abu Dhabi, I still caught a bus from Dubai’s Al Ghubaiba bus station to Abu Dhabi. The fare cost 20 Dirhams one way, and I saw the opportunity to recover some of the cost by visiting the Sheikh Zayed Mosque, the 6th largest mosque in the world.
I reached Abu Dhabi, and waited in the main bus station for ages. I had come around noon, so there were no buses heading to the mosque for another hour or so. So, I finally took some other bus route, and took a taxi closer to the mosque. The cost was just 10 dirhams, so I handed out two 5 dirham notes, and left the taxi. Little did I know then, that the 5 and 50 dirham notes in UAE, have the same colour!!
I had just handed over 100 Dirhams, for a ride of 10. And the crazy taxi driver gave no change too!
By the time I figured it out this blunder, I was already at the mosque gates, and the taxi was far away. I cursed my day, which was getting worse with the searing heat in Abu Dhabi, what with the fact that there were no trees near this famous mosque. But my day was far from over.
There are 4 entrances to the mosque. 2 of them were undergoing repairs, hence closed. 1 was a car parking entrance, so I couldn’t get in since I was a walk-in tourist. And the last one, was a bloody VIP entrance and I was turned back. I walked around the mosque complex for a dragging 2 hours, to try to get inside, but there was no freaking way unless I had a drive, or I was a VIP. The sun was laughing so hard at me, and I could feel my cheeks burning. Both on the face and the ass. So, I left.
I may be venting here, but if you are a backpacker, there is nothing in Abu Dhabi for you. I repeat, nothing.