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My present home is in Abu Dhabi in the UAE. Although it's hot in the summer, Abu Dhabi is a pleasant place to live throughout the year, and is especially pleasant during the spring, fall and winter months when the climate is very mild day and night. You only occasionally need a sweater or an umbrella here.
The city is built on an island, and is constantly being rebuilt. There is so much construction going on here that the crane is said to be the national bird (that's a joke; you'll find two kinds of cranes in your dictionary).
Because ground space is limited, buildings tend to be tall, so there are nice views of the gulf and harbors from many of the residences here.
Despite the limited space, there are many parks and gardens, and outside the downtown area, the city has a green, leafy, spacious feel to it. People relax in boats and on beaches, and in the evenings are out in droves walking and jogging on the attractive corniches, or shopping in the souks or modern boutiques.
There are many things to do here, and tourism has been on the increase for some time. In Abu Dhabi, the three places you should visit are (1) my house, (2) one or more of the fine restaurants here, and (3) an outdoor pub on a weekend evening. But because the UAE is small, you would probably want to visit some of the other places within 2 to 4 hours drive from Abu Dhabi. These include Dubai, a city bisected by a colorful "creek" where you can get a water taxi from one side to the other for very little money and ride among the dhows smuggling goods (no doubt) between the Emirates and India and Iran (if it's possible to smuggle in a free port). Beyond Dubai are the mountainous emirates and the coastal reefs with the best diving and snorkeling in the UAE. You can also drive into the desert and camp overnight and hope you can drive out in the morning. If you felt like driving over the border into Oman you could explore a country with mountains and rough tracks up wadis, and deserts reaching blue oceans, even better diving than in the UAE, and opportunities to do two of my favorite sports: surfing and caving.
There is a lot you would have to know about the culture here. The people here are very friendly and are more likely to go out of their way for strangers than they would in the USA or Europe. It is easy to say hello to people here, and strangers will usually respond. But people here are religious and conservative, and their culture and beliefs must be respected. In the UAE and Oman, they are at least tolerant of the cultures of their guests, but visitors should still take care to dress conservatively, and men must avoid talking to women they don't know (women can dress as they would to go downtown in their own countries, although local women often wear veils). Although alcohol is allowed here, it should never be displayed publicly, except in licensed bars and restaurants. If you come to the UAE to do business, you should wear your best business suits and expect people to be on tine for appointments, which is not always the case in other parts of the Arabian Gulf.
If anyone does keep you waiting here, you can usually reach that person on his or her mobile telephone.
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