Saturday, June 11, 2005

We can see the sea !!!

Well, at least we are near the sea - in fact we can see it from our flat window - if we stand on the second rung of the ladder, press our noses to the tiny window opening and use the binoculars! So, you would think that the evening sea breeze would cool things off - no such luck - there ARE no evening breezes, in fact no breezes at all ... and in the evening, the temperature rises and makes it all the more bizarre!

I'm beginning to wonder if the sea is actually a sea at all. I suspect it is more a lake or a man-made dam. There are no waves (I am sure you could skip a stone all the way to Iran if your arms were strong enough!), there is no sea sound, there is no sea smell, there is no sea beach and there are no seagulls. MMmmmm sounds like a lake to me!

Mind you, let me be honest, the other day, there were some "waves" - the water actually splashed up around our knees (!). People started wondering if this was a tsunami attacking Abu Dhabi and were just beginning to panic, when it was discovered that the "waves" were in fact being made by a passing, speeding jet-ski .... Bathers breathed a sigh of relief and within seconds, the sea had gone back to its normal placid lapping.

But, whatever it is, it has the most incredible colour ....

Although Abu Dhabi is a peninsula in the sea, there are actually very few public beaches - most are privately owned by 5-star hotels who charge an exorbitant daily fee to access them. The public beaches have no facilities and there are no shops anywhere near them. Some of them are walled off and designated "ladies' beaches" which means that no male over the age of 8 years (!) is allowed in - kinda makes it a bit difficult to have a family outing to the beach.

Even in the middle of winter, the water is not cold, but now that summer is here, it is bordering on being lukewarm, so swimming in the sea is rather like splashing about in a very large, very salty bath.

The oddest thing is looking at what people wear to go swimming - there are itsy bitsy teeny weeny floss-like bikinis, Speedo's that leave nothing to the imagination and there are the all-in-one, swim-in-your-national-dress-costume which are basically black trousers, ankle length dress, long-sleeved coat and face-covering veil - all of which swirl around like some alien sea-creature in the water. How they don't end up drowning themselves is beyond me. Still ... no risk of sunburn or skin cancer ...

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