Earlier in the week I signed myself and the kids up to participate in a trip to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque for February 16th. We were sent an itinerary, dress code and instructed to be promptly at the meeting place between 8:30 am and 9:00 am to be on the bus. 9:00 am came and went. At 9:30 I decided I would wait 10 more minutes and then make other plans for the day. Just as the time was running down the bus rounded the corner. I was perturbed at having to sit in the sun waiting when I was told to be early but relieved that I would still be going to see the mosque as planned.
Half an hour into the journey the choruses of “Are we there yet?” began, surely signalling the beginning of a very long day. As the mosque came into view I thought the kids would be just as amazed as I was. Kirsten instantly went into teenager meltdown mode and refused to have her picture taken, talk to me, smile, or even sit up while we waited for our group. A concerned security guard even approached her to be sure she wasn’t sleeping on the doorstep to the mosque. With our group arriving late for our scheduled tour appointment we only had time for the brief “Reader’s Digest” version of the tour before afternoon prayers would begin. As we walked around the mosque the kids spread out, clinging to their friends right until the moment when our tour guide would begin to divulge some interesting facts about the mosque. Every moment our guide began to open his mouth Jaron was standing on my toes, pawing at me, “Mom, Mom, Mom…when are we leaving?” There are a lot of pillars, the mosque theme is a garden, and the main prayer room used to contain the largest chandelier in the world now it’s just the largest in that mosque. These were the only tidbits of info I managed to hear. To find out more interesting facts about the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque click here or here.
A late start to the day meant late everything to follow. Instead of heading back to the University at 2:00, we arrived at the Abu Dhabi Marina Mall. The mall is located out on a little (I’m assuming) man made peninsula just past the Emirates Palace Hotel and before you get to the Heritage Village. Inside there are some fantastic fountains, and a 360 degree viewing platform only 84 meters shy of the Space Needle in Seattle. We didn’t have much time to explore this mall, only to have some lunch and a little treat before finding the bus. We aimed for a 3:30 pm departure with a very ambitious 5:00 pm arrival back at AUS that slowly became a 6:30 pm arrival. When we pulled into AUS Lilli leaned over and said, “I don’t want to get off the bus.” Ha! Kids.