Those that live there don't seem to agree, but for us weekend tourists it's just wonderful. First, this country is pretty nice to live in, no doubt about it. But don't be fooled into fairytalish thinking. Your company should take care of this for you. Sure there are plenty of starbuckses and whatnot, but no atmosphere. You can buy liquor at specialized liquor stores kinda like Ontario hehe but you need a "liquor license". Oh and as someone mentioned before me, the beach is pretty nice. Nothing beats the prices there. You have to become aggressive fast, or they'll eat you alive. Bars wise, we usually go to Jazz bar at the Hilton, Hemingway's which is a pub at the same venue, a few bars at the Intercontinental, or to Pearl and Caviar at the Shangri-la. Finding living here is very tough. You will need it when you are stuck at home because you don't want to lose your parking spot haha! Some good places for eats are at the many 5-star hotels. They all work on commission and compete against each others in the store. The corniche area has public beaches that are very well maintained and friendly.
I truly enjoy living here, I just want you to be prepared mentally to what you are about to face. Your company should take care of this for you. People will not let you change lanes even if you signal. Be prepared to be shocked by how much everything costs compared to North America. I once got fed up and told him "how would your manager feel if I told him that you are denigrating his merchandise? Forget about common courtesy or pedestrians first. Don't bother ask employees for recommendations. Canuck also living in Abu Dhabi since September Khalidiya mall is not bad, and not too crowded. I save it for my trips to US or Canada. I guess it's to keep the perverts out. It's like a different world. The beach is split into a single men section, and a women and families section. You will need it when you are stuck at home because you don't want to lose your parking spot haha! People all speed, from scooters and Nissan Tiida's to V12 Mercedes. Nothing beats the prices there. Most of them are along the corniche area the coastline on the Abu Dhabi island. It's a different world of class. That's where you will find your bars and alcohol as well. But don't be fooled into fairytalish thinking. May I ask what brings you here? My favorite is Shangri-la hotel, which is just outside the city. I try to make it there on weekends. When it comes to grocery shopping, places like Carrefour and LuLu have pretty much everything you would expect a big Canadian supermarket to have. No seriously, be very very very careful crossing streets, especially watch out for those that are doing U-turns at the traffic lights, and those making a right at the separate "make a right only" lane. It has a big Carrefour, and countless stores inside. Marina Mall is probably your best bet for shopping here.
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