I've gotten a few questions regarding the area I live in. Most people associate the name Abu Dhabi with "the middle of nowhere." Believe me, it is a big city. The other side of the island is pretty crazy, where I live is presently a nice area with a lot of green space and places to take the kids to do things. You can click here to get an map of where we live. The marker on the map is directly in front of our building (right of the marker if you're following the road to the beach). You can zoom out on the map to see our relationship to the rest of Abu Dhabi, the UAE, and the world. I'll be referencing it in this blog.
Last night we went to see the Pixar film "Cars" at an outdoor screening on the beach. All weekend they are showing racing related movies in conjunction with the F1 being held here next weekend. The beach itself is a five minute walk but because the beach and facilities have been under construction since we moved here, this was the first time we went there. It was about a 20 minute walk away on the beach walkway. When we got there, they had big bean bag type pillows on the beach. Before the movie, one of the sponsors of the event (New York Film Academy) gave a green screen demonstration with some volunteers. The organizers projected Lucas (in the blue shirt), Tia (in the pink and white dress) and some other kids flying on a magic carpet on the big screen. The weather was nice and it was a well-organized event. That was the first time I considered doing anything outside and made me realize that the weather is actually nice enough to take advantage of the things around the neighborhood.
Because of that, today I took Lucas and Tia to a park that is right across the street. Even though last night the temperature along the beach was just about right, today at 1:30, it was still a little too hot to be comfortable in the sun. We went to the grove of trees next to the main road on the map. I was impressed with all of the green space so close to my apartment. There are nice walkways, plenty of trees for shade and loads of benches and covered tables to relax by. The grass was landscaped well and there were fenced off ponds which I can only assume are meant to house wildlife in cooler parts of the year.
Unfortunately, the playground equipment was a disappointment. While there were a variety of things to play on it wasn't well-maintained. It looks like it was nice when it was new. In the picture you can see an example with the platform before the slide completely missing. I've heard that happens pretty often here. The government shells out big bucks for shiny new public works but doesn't maintain it very well. Maybe it's a seasonal thing. Hopefully, they just didn't bother trying to fix things when it was hot and no one was playing at the park and will do repairs now that it's cooler and more kids will be out playing.
The exception is landscaping. All the grass, trees, and shrubs are watered and groomed. I cornered a guy walking around with hedge trimmers under the assumption that he worked there and showed him the broken equipment. He said he didn't speak English but seemed to understand. I'm pretty skeptical that it'll get fixed on the basis of that, but you never know.