VISITING THE SHEIKH ZAYED GRAND MOSQUE FOR THE FIRST TIME
Next on our weekend trip itinerary was a stop at the Grand Mosque. It’s beauty is renown far and wide; even the ablution rooms (where one cleanses before prayer) are a work of art.
Non-Muslim visitors who are not familiar with mosque manners can read them here. During my visit there was a large crowd of tourists from China; I found it quite charming—and, admittedly, very funny—that women were given capes much like the ones you’ll see in the Harry Potter movies to cover themselves with.
Mr. B says they used to provide proper abayas, but have now transitioned to using these cult-like capes with hoods. Well, it’s the practicality that matters most I suppose.
I COULD WAX POETICS ABOUT THIS MOSQUE FOREVER AND A DAY
…But I’ll refrain. The picture above, to the left, depicts the area the Imam recites out loud during each contact prayer. The wall is decorated with the 99 names of Allah found in the Qur’an. You can listen toa beautiful rendition of His names here, if you wish.
Take notice of the floors and carpets when you visit. It is just as masterfully designed as the ceilings, pillars and walls. You’ll notice the pattern of using floral mosaics and floral textures all over the site.
HERE’S SOME MORE 411…
This mosque is also the final resting place of the founder of UAE, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. There are always one or two individuals reciting surahs from the Qur’an next to his burial site. No pictures are allowed to be taken. You can find more information such as visiting hours and history on their website. When we last went, Mr. B and I noticed that the mosque is currently renovating its surrounding landscape as well as constructing an Islamic center (I believe) for tourists.
NOODLE HOUSE AT SOUK OF QARYAT AL BERI
“Let’s have some super westernized Asian food today!” says nobody ever. “Westernizing” a dish usually connotes “dumbing down” the intensity or flavour of a dish to suit local tastes e.g. adding ketchup to stir fried noodles or leaving out certain spices. It might be a tad accusatory to label the menu at Noodle House American-Chinese. They have decent laksa, a Malaysian/Singaporean noodle dish with coconut curry soup base. And the duck pot stickers are something different. More modernizing than westernizing, if we’re playing nice.
And the crispy calamari, served with smoked sea salt and Szechuan pepper? Fusion, my friends. Fusion. (*Now playing devil’s advocate* Full disclosure, they were bland and hardly crispy. I blame it on the batter—fried to a pale yellow instead of golden brown, no activating agent or starch to aid in achieving optimum crispiness, stingy on the seasoning.) I’m not sure what all the hype centering Noodle House is about…but, at least they didn’t butcher the laksa.
Not pictured: sweet and sour fish, shanghai beef noodles. Just, yikes, nope.
The bottom line is my taste buds aren’t your taste buds, and the dishes at Noodle House may actually work for you better than they did for me. Mr. B and many of our friends take to the restaurant fairly well. In fact, some of them adore it. So check it out and share your feedback! 🙂
CRUISING THE CORNICHE ROAD
After the meal, we took our time driving around the Corniche area of Abu Dhabi. Passed the Arabian Gulf. Made note of the Etisalat headquarters. All the while jamming to some 90s tunes 😉 Rolling, rolling, rolling.
Anyone recognize the building to our right in the second photo (above)?
ONE LAST PIT STOP AT NATION GALLERIA
I first heard mention of the New York import The Bee’s Knee’s Baking Company on Instagram. (Who doesn’t hear or see things first from social media nowadays?) Famous for cakes served in a mini jar? Sure. I’ll bite. I’m not one for trying out sweets overhyped on social media but there can be a ring of truth every now and again right? And. Well. Any excuse to eat cake is a good excuse!
There are a variety of flavours to choose from–red velvet, date, chai, chocolate salted caramel, etc.,–but we settled for strawberry shortcake because my boy is a sucker for it.
Tasty, but certainly nothing to write sonnets for. You, your mom or that special baker friend could probably whip the same thing up at home. Their coffee drinks are on par with any other cafes you’ll find just around the corner. If you visit Nation Galleria at Nation Towers, I recommend snagging a seat at Cafe Bateel instead. Love them♫
Overall, a satisfying weekend trip to Abu Dhabi in April 2015. Hope to see you soon AD!
*Watermark: all photos moved from my now defunct site the spotted egg.