Abu Dhabi is a beautiful city. It’s Grand Mosques, Arabian influence, and breathtaking feats of engineering and architecture all combine to create a place different than anything you could imagine. And it has most certainly stemmed from a vivid and wondrous imagination. But this beauty I speak of did not come about in a “natural” way. It was sculpted and carved and built from the minds of men and women who dared to dream big.
Maybe that’s why the UAE is home to some of the tallest buildings in the world, because it has allowed individuals freedom to dream up unimaginable creations. Maybe that’s also why in a recent conversation with some Abu Newbies, not one of them considered this city beautiful. We come from regions of the world that are lush and green with copious amounts of history. Arriving in a four decade old metropolis situated on a desert oasis may stun our aesthetic sensors.
I remember traveling around Europe back in 2009 and looking at thousand-year-old castles and thinking, “Man. I thought Philadelphia was old.” Philadelphia hasn’t even awkwardly asked a girl to the prom compared to Rome and Greece. Heck, Philadelphia’s voice is still changing. Abu Dhabi on the other hand is technically still in the crib. But it is aging at a ‘Jack’-like rate – Robin Williams movie, check it out.
There is a high-rise building across from my apartment of which I have been documenting the construction. I’d be amazed if it wasn’t fully constructed by Christmas… and it currently has no windows or walls. There is a sense of catch-up here. Having been overshadowed by its northern brother Dubai for so long it seems as though it is only recently that this city has spreads its falconian wings.
So however mechanical and unnatural these wings may be they are still beautiful in flight. Who knows what dreams may come for the city of Abu Dhabi, in the meantime, it sure is fun watching it fly.