Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Arabian nights: Tales out of the UAE - Abu Dhabi and Dubai - Part 1:

I was driving around Abu Dhabi with my mother yesterday (on the right side of the road which to me is just wrong!) and in between flinching and twitching, convinced we’re going to collide with oncoming traffic (even though we were in the correct lane, obeying all the traffic rules unlike most people on the roads) I noticed that I hadn’t seen many mosques. I had heard the call to prayer constantly, from the apartment and while driving around, but I hadn’t actually seen many mosques. So I asked my local encyclopedia (mom) why I hadn’t seen any mosques, considering we are in a Muslim country. My encyclopedia gave me an odd look and said “well there is a mosque every 500m”. Now this just boggled my mind, how could I not be seeing a mosque every time I turned around? I mean 500m really isn’t that far! Apparently they are mostly off the main roads. I, of course, remained slightly sceptical.

Later in the evening I was sitting on the balcony, enjoying a G&T absorbing the bright lights of the city below me when I realised there are a lot of green lights. Basically every 500m or so there was a building lit up with green lights - see where I’m going with this? It is incredible - all the mosques are lit up on an evening with green lights. Looking down from the balcony all the roads are lit and most of the buildings, especially the tall ones have lights of some kind on them but in between there are dark patches. In between all the well-lit up areas and all the dark patches, at very regular intervals, there are mosques glowing green, and this stretches out as far as you can see into the distance. It is spectacular!

I wondered if there was any significance to the green, as far as my local encyclopedias (this time both the rentals) were aware, they weren’t sure. After all the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi is lit up blue, as are the mosques in Dubai. Either ways it really is a pretty incredible sight!

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