The War Diaries

"We're history's actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."

Archive for the ‘Abu Dhabi’ tag

Another Day in the Very Uneven Distribution of Wealth and Democratization

without comments

Abu Dhabi- To get from Tajikistan to Abu Dhabi was a bit of an arduous trip via Kabul and Dubai and no sleep. Here are a few random shots from the Blackberry from 24 hours in my often bizarre life.

Samira, the sassiest beer wench in Dushanbe. Bar Karaoke, Hotel Dushanbe. Sim Sim (Tajikistan's national beer) pivo in the foreground, just 2 somoni (less than 50 US cents).

The man, the legend. Rudaki and arch. Rudaki was a lauded Persian poet for whom Dushanbe's main thoroughfare was renamed (from Lenin) after Tajik independence.

Nothing to see here, move along. The Dushanbe airport, where the metal detectors are not on and no one is looking at the x-rayed baggage. And that's after the French taxpayers put money in to refurbish the place... (so the French airforce can use the tarmac en route to Afghanistan).

The Kabul airport, where every kind of sketchy aircraft comes and goes all day long. Probably the most interesting airport in the world for a layover. Here I get stirred by a buzzing Mi-8. Six American soldiers died this day.

De rigueur decor, Kabul airport. Those are big binoculars!

View of the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building (for now) from the Dubai-Abu Dhabi Emirates bus. It’s getting hot in here.

The comfort of Abu Dhabi. Good times at the Meena villa, if only I could figure out how to work the entertainment system.

Written by derekhenryflood

July 11th, 2010 at 9:55 am

Syriana

without comments

I am posted up at my friend Arif’s place villa here in Abu Dhabi for a few very hot days. I spent yesterday getting my Afghan visa in 41 Celsius heat which was no easy task seeing as the embassy had moved without notifying anyone, least of all Abu Dhabi’s beleaguered taxi drivers who, like Dubai, seem to all be from coastal Kerala or the Kurram tribal agency on the Durand Line. As soon as I set out for the day, I lost the keys to the flat in one of the taxis and was stuck outside for a considerable amount of time which is considered perfectly safe for the tens of thousands of Bangladeshi and Pakistani construction workers working 12 hours shifts but ill advised for such hapless Westerners such as myself. Fortunately Arif arrived home before I fainted in front of the Tamil caretaker washing the neighbor’s Range Rover.

Today well I slept all day and then we went to an exhibit of Ottoman era Islamic art at the absurd Emirates Palace Hotel and had very bland pizza at a nearby Sbarro. So today I inhabited a much more “civilized” existence here to even out from yesterday’s drudgery.

While neighboring Dubai, puffed up on credit and hype, has come crashing down from its inflated pedestal, Abu Dhabi is still going relatively strong by comparison with its core oil economy intact. Arif pointed me to a couple of scathing articles in the UK press poking holes in Sheikh Maktoum’s plastic paradise in the Independent and the Times. I have always been disturbed by the massive and quite obvious abuses of human rights here and in the other Gulf Cooperation Council states and it’s good to see this situation is finally coming to light.

Half constructed towers like this are ubiquitous across the UAE. Total Sryiana scenery everywhere one looks here.

Half constructed towers like this are ubiquitous across the UAE. Total Sryiana scenery everywhere one looks here.

The facade of the enormous Emirates Palace Hotel appears to be just a facade. This garish behemoth was nearly empty and it's Egyptian security guards were quick to tell us where exactly we could and could not walk and breathe.

The facade of the enormous Emirates Palace Hotel appears to be just a facade. This garish behemoth was nearly empty and it's Egyptian security guards were quick to tell us where exactly we could and could not walk and breathe.

Written by derekhenryflood

August 4th, 2009 at 12:20 pm

Posted in Afghanistan

Tagged with , ,