Friday, 29 November 2013

Arabian Night and Day

As my BA flight left Abu Dhabi and hurtled down the runway into a starlit midnight blue Arabian night my thoughts turned to the day's proceedings. I had arrived in Abu Dhabi to celebrate the opening of a Hackett shop in the newly opened prestigious shopping mall La Galleria steps away from the recent arrival of a Rosewood hotel, where I had the good fortune to be staying.

At breakfast sitting on a terrace I gazed out and marvelled at the amount of building works being carried out as Abu Dhabi bids to compete with it's sister city Dubai a mere hundred miles down the road. For a City  that is currently celebrating only it's forty second birthday it is making remarkable inroads to achieving it's rightful place as the capital of the United Arab Emirates. I noticed on the adjacent table three British chaps who were all wearing similar slightly crumpled lightweight suits that were in tones of khaki and tan and worn with white shirts and striped ties it struck me that they looked like they could have been from the Foreign Office or Times  war correspondents from the 1960s, only a film Leica camera would have completed the picture.

Surreptitiously I tried to take a snap at which point my battery failed and I missed my Cartier Bresson moment. I made a mental note to wear on my trip to Bahrain in a couple of weeks a similar outfit. I managed to squeeze in a little sightseeing and took a taxi to the Mosque an incredible and imposing building that dominates the Abu Dhabi skyline. I had never before been inside a Mosque and the scale of this one was overwhelming the size of a football pitch with a beautiful and intricately hand woven carpet throughout.  

I had lunch at a revolving restaurant called Tiara that gave me an overview of the whole city and the islands it it is built on, unlike Dubai there was no need to manufacture the islands. I sampled the most delicious lemonade with fresh mint, in fact I followed it with another. With sightseeing done with I spent the afternoon engaging with journalists which in the event turned out to be a lot of fun. Our party in the evening attracted the great and good Abu Dhabians with Arabian Gentleman turned out in their traditional white robes leaving me to ponder how on earth do they manage to keep them so immaculately white. No sooner have I put on a tie then I have spilt something down it.

Now at thirty eight thousand feet the stewardess welcomed me back and so soon and handed me a pair of pyjama's -- not quite in the realm of Derek Rose the eponymous nightwear manufacturer, but now I am being finickity. Having changed into my PJs I found my bed already made up. I wondered if the blue sky thinkers at BA had ever thought about developing onesies. Would I ever take a selfie in a onesie, never, too poncy!. Goodnight. 

Jeremy Hackett

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