Destination Abu Dhabi
Great nations grace with time and refinement and that is what I found to be true for Abu Dhabi and its people.
It’s strange how an ordinary reporter’s perspective can change overnight with a single trip abroad. A reporter, according to the norms of a society, comes from them and lives amongst them and, thence, reports what he or she feels must be reported justifiably and correctly, about them.
The perks associated with being a reporter pull you in all directions; you are given many opportunities to advance in the field, globetrot occasionally and become a great writer. My recent adventure landed me in Abu Dhabi as I was on a Familiarisation Trip, hosted by Etihad Airways. I got to travel in the airline’s business class, which, of course, was a perk on its own. However, the experience that I had upon reaching Abu Dhabi was, perhaps, a more valuable one.
Once in Abu Dhabi, I visited several landmarks in the company of a group of journalists — from the globe’s only Ferrari World, to the white marble structure of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, to the simple Sheikh Zayed Palace Museum — which was once the simple abode of the late father of the nation, Sheikh Zayed — to a stopover at al Ain Oasis. The heritage and history combined at these sites made a great blend for a rich cultural experience.
Contrary to my thoughts and presumptions about people in the Middle East, they really know how to preserve their identities and honour their heritage, unlike Pakistanis, who are critical of our identity and pay little heed to our rich heritage, down to the golden culture. We certainly are a lost cause, for we fail to signify strength in times of crisis and fail to stand up to protect our heritage sites — not only for other people and nations to marvel at but also for our next generation to admire.
Maybe Pakistan can follow in Abu Dhabi’s footsteps. One fascinating fact was that even though the recession bubble burst in Dubai, leading to several years of poor economic growth, the morale of the people in the seven emirates is still high; the foreigners that I met in Abu Dhabi are glad to have shifted there.
Great nations grace with time, elegance and refinement in their mannerism and that is what I found to be true for Abu Dhabi and its people.
Read more by Saadia here.