Initially when I told people that I was moving to Abu Dhabi, most people thought I was kidding. I think for a lot of people, the name gives a connotation of being exotic while being in the middle of nowhere. One of my middle-school students said, "Hey that's where Garfield was going to send Nermal!"
For those of you who are agoraphobic, have no television, and haven't seen a newspaper comics page for the past 30 years, Garfield is the title character of a comic strip, cartoon, and two movies and can be seen stuck to the windows of minivans driven by middle aged housewives across the U.S. In this comic, there is a recurring storyline in which Garfield wants to send a cute kitten that he is jealous of to Abu Dhabi.
While it isn't necessarily a point of pride in Abu Dhabi, it has put the name on the map for enthusiasts of mediocre comic strips. It was enough of a news item for a local newspaper to write an article about it. In the article, Jim Davis, the creator of Garfield gives his reasons for why he chose Abu Dhabi as a place of banishment. They can be summed up as: It was exotic sounding and allies with the U.S.
While Mr. Davis expressed no interest in visiting Abu dhabi, he did hint at the possibility of things to come. Look for your Garfield-themed amusement park coming to Abu Dhabi in 2020.