I accidentally just misread the title of my last post, Weekend Confession, as Weekend Depression, and with all this heaviness in the air, I decided it was time for something light and happy! And where better to look for that than in our recent travels to the Middle East?
I did a lot of blogging when we were in Cairo, but didn’t hardly do any from Abu Dhabi. Perhaps part of my reticence to post was due to the staggering difference between the two, which I had trouble internalizing, let alone putting into words.
My friend, Ben, had posted this little table to Facebook. Check out where Abu Dhabi and Cairo stand on the GDP per capita scale when it comes to the world’s largest cities: the contrast could hardly be more dramatic, and explains why we had less cultural shock going from Nanning to Cairo, than from Cairo to Abu Dhabi.
But I digress. I promised this would be a light post. So where was I, oh yes, tea…and a palace!
We were walking along the lovely corniche (just the arabic word for shore or beach, but it sounds so much more exotic and intriguing, doesn’t it?) our first afternoon in Abu Dhabi, and I was flipping through the little guide book our friends had given us. It said that if you wanted a taste of luxury to make your way over to the Emirates Palace and treat yourself like royalty and order tea.
When in Rome…er, I mean Abu Dhabi!
So we made our way to the stunning, grand hotel, one of the most opulent places I had ever seen, with classy cars stashed at the entrance, manicured lawn and fountains, and marble inside as far as the eye could see!
We found our way to the cafe and checked out the elaborate tea menu, but decided to skip some of the more pricey spreads and go for the real thing: a cinnamon and vanilla latte for me, and earl grey for the husband. Apparently my modest coffee actually had 24 karat gold flakes sprinkled on top!
I can’t say that the gold flakes tasted like anything, but to the right you’ll see the complimentary macaroon, date, and truffle–those were all to die for! I’ve never tasted such a succulent, plump date, and the other munchies were decadent.
So despite the culture shock, let’s just say the two of us blended in pretty well with the high society at high tea. It really was a luxurious little afternoon. We peaked around the palace before we left and watched the tourists frolicking in the fountain.
When we returned to our friends’ apartment they admitted that they’ve never been to tea at the Emirates Palace. It’s always fun when you go somewhere new and do something novel, even to your hosts! And it’s certainly fun, even when you don’t live in one of those cities up near the top of the chart, to pretend for the day!
Photos by Evan Schneider