It is exam time here, which means that my students have stopped coming to school. On Monday there was a handful of girls at school, but they were gone by 1pm. They are home studying, or so they say, for their exams which start tomorrow. My grades were due on Thursday, so I am basically finished with my second term of teaching in the UAE. For the next two weeks I’ll be supervising exam periods, attending professional development and preparing lessons for the third trimester. Spring vacation and a visit from my parents are just around the corner!
This past weekend was a relaxing and fun weekend. As you may have noted from my previous blogs about Europe, I love the preforming arts. I especially love ballet. When I heard that there would be a ballet performance, by one of Russia’s oldest ballet companies, in Abu Dhabi I was very excited. I contacted my friend, Krista, and convinced her to go with me–luckily it didn’t take much work to convince her! The ballet was on Friday night, so I headed to Abu Dhabi around mid-day.
Having not yet been to a beach here in the UAE, I’d asked Krista if we could go to one before the ballet. She was all too happy to spend an afternoon relaxing at the beach. In a stroke of luck, I read an article earlier in the week about a new beach opening on Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi. This is the new up-and-coming location in AD. They are even planning a Louvre Abu Dhabi extension (to open 2015). Anyway, the new beach was now open and so Krista and I headed there to find it. Eventually, after a few wrong turns, we arrived.
It is a beautiful beach. It is a protected zone as it is a nesting area for Hawksbill Turtles (who nest up in the dunes where the patches of green are), but we weren’t lucky enough to see any on Friday. The water was very clear and cool, there was a nice breeze and it was a quiet place to relax for a couple hours.
After relaxing at the beach, we headed back into the city to get ready for the ballet. We dined at a great little restaurant/grocery store, jones the grocer. I had a delicious salmon on top of baba ganoush and a nice salad. They are so thoughtful at jones that they covered my lemon in cheese-cloth so I wouldn’t get any seeds on my fish. I have never seen that before!
After our meal, we headed to the ballet. This ballet, part of the Abu Dhabi Festival, was being held in the theater of the Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi’s only seven star hotel. I’ve visited there a few times, but this was my first time attending an event. We arrived a bit early to explore the hotel, as Krista had never been there before. Since there was an event, there was more security than when I last visited (see link above), so we couldn’t see much.
The theater is very nice, the seats are plush and everyone has a great view of the stage. Here are some shots inside the theater: The ballet was wonderful. They danced four different short pieces, unfortunatly someone thought we needed as much intermission time as there was ballet time. It was very annoying and I thought it really ruined the flow of the performance. That, and all the people taking pictures with their cell phones. Grown adults, can’t even put their phone down for 45 minutes to enjoy a beautiful piece of art, not to mention that it was “strictly prohibited” to take photo or video. But the ballet was wonderful and the venue very nice as well.
But wait, the night wasn’t quite over. I wanted a dessert after the ballet, and not just any dessert, a delicious, over the top, seven star kind of dessert. And boy did I get it. It was the most decadent, delicious, golden chocolate dessert I’ve had in a very long time, possibly ever. And it was by far the most expensive dessert I’ve ever had. The menu calls it Warm Chocolate Fondant, but that is a deceiving name. It is, in fact, a lava cake, with the richest and most perfect molten chocolate inside. Made with Valrhona chocolate, noted as the world’s best and possibly most expensive chocolate, and garnished with 24 karat gold leaf flakes, it is a experience. And you can believe, that at $22 per serving, I all but licked my plate clean. What do you think? Would you try it?
Another amazing weekend. And now I want some more chocolate!