Abu Dhabi And The Very Expensive Mosque

Today we needed to adapt if we wanted to survive the month of Ramadan here. We walked to the supermarket to get some pre-made breakfast to bring back to the apartment since we couldn’t eat  the food in public (luckily there was a market across the street from the apartment). Supermarkets here are absolutely amazing as we described before and the quality of food is great.

After a hearty breakfast we took an Uber to the Sheikh Zayed Mosque. Woooow! This mosque is absolutely breathtaking. The architecture and detail that was put into this building is incredible. This is a fairly new mosque (constructed from 1996 to 2007) and does not have the old historical religious significance of other mosque like the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, but it was a pleasure to walk around it. It costed $545 million to get built, definitely the best way to spend all that money….!! yeeey!!



Sarah was being a rebel for dressing with a t-shirt that showed 10% of her arms, so she needed to get an “Abaya” over her clothes, I call it the RWC (Repressed Woman Costume). She was sweating like crazy and very uncomfortable during the visit but gave Sarah a new understanding of the challenges Muslim women experience in these countries in the Middle East.


Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque was initiated by the late president of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who wanted to establish a structure which unites the cultural diversity of Islamic world, the historical and modern values of architecture and art. His final resting place is located on the grounds beside the same mosque.


Tourists can only go around the mosque without stepping into the main plaza. We were able to go inside as well to what it is so far the most beautiful mosque we have even been to.  Muslim women are not allowed to prayer inside here (this incredible part is just for men to pray).


The carpet in the main prayer hall is considered to be the world’s largest carpet made by Iran’s Carpet Company and designed by Iranian artist Ali Khaliqi. This carpet measures 5,627 m2 (60,570 sq ft). The weight of this carpet is 35 ton and is predominantly made from wool.


As the country’s grand mosque, it is the key place of worship for Friday gathering and Eid prayers. During Eid it can be visited by more than 41,000 people.



These are 2 photos of the roofs inside the mosque, the chandeliers are beautiful pieces of art and some of the biggest in the world. The design of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque has been inspired by Persian, Mughal and Moorish mosque architecture, particularly the Badshahi Mosque in Lahore, Pakistan and the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca, Morocco being direct influences.



After almost passing out of dehydration (thanks to Ramadan), Eitan decided to go to the toilet to drink water! Blasphemy!!! Well indeed, we don’t believe in these rules at all and thus are not going to die of dehydration!! FREEEEDOOOOOM!!!


We returned Sarah’s wizard costume and took a taxi to the Yas Island, this man made enormous island offers the visitors a wide range of entertainment. From Shopping malls, theme parks, a marina, F1 racetrack and a lot of restaurants (closed for Ramadan of course, seriously? Yes).


We went straight to the supermarket to buy Gatorade as we were about to pass out, we chugged them all in secret in the toilet as it is an offence to drink in public. That is what I call enjoying a vacation!


We walked to the famous Ferrari World just to see it, we knew we will never pay the $100 per person entrance fee but the building is beautiful and worth to see.


When were were at the entrance Sarah looked at a sign that said that you can go eat at the restaurant inside without paying the entrance fee so that was a good opportunity to at least see some more of this theme park. We were escorted into the restaurants where we got a very tasty overpriced tabbouleh in a place covered by black curtains (Ramadan! Ramadan! Nobody can see you eat in public, it’s the law). This was a good scarce opportunity to eat but we were not really hungry as we ate a lot for breakfast assuming we would have no opportunities to eat.


Eitan had a great unethical idea (ethics are doubtful here anyways, so who cares?), we remove the bracelets that identified us as restaurant guest only. We were obviously not allowed to go into any ride and by removing the bracelet we “might” be able to sneak in. We walked out and nobody stopped us, we headed to the main objective…. the fastest roller coaster in the entire world!

“Formula Rossa” top speed is 240 km/h with a 100 km/h acceleration in 2 seconds.. Riders experience up to 4.8 G’s throughout the ride. From outside it does not look impressive but holy guacamole it was fast! You have to wear glasses as any particle coming into your eyes at that speed means you go blind. We were nervous of getting caught so we walked straight to the exit while putting our bracelets on again. Luckily nobody noticed and we saved $200!! Go unethical backpackers!!


We then took a 2 hr bus ride to Dubai. The buses are new and nice, the tickets cheap and the overall experience very comfortable. it takes around 2 hours to get there passing through mostly desert.  Our hotel in Dubai is extremely nice, one of our nicest rooms yet and given the cost of things here this hotel was a decent deal!

Bonus Pic Of The Day: If you are born an Emirati then you just hit the jackpot. These guys get passive income from the government and basically don’t work. They spend all their time in malls, smoking hookah and buying shiny things. Emiratis only make around 15% of the population, everybody else (Indians, Pakistanis, Saudis, etc…) just work on the companies building the country. One of the very interesting things here are the license plates, the lower the number you have, the wealthier you are, which means the more status you have here. If you spot a 1, 2 or 3 digit number license plate you can be certain they belong to someone important, maybe the royal family or other businessmen. License plates go to auction reaching insane amounts, for example, the licence plate “1” was sold for $14.2 million dollars, making it the most expensive license plate in the world. This is the idiot that bought it:


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