Category Archives: Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi-Manchester deal

The blue side of Manchester could be in for a massive cash injection after a UAE group signed a memorandum of understanding with the soccer club.

According to, the Abu Dhabi United Group for Development and Investment aims to make Manchester City the biggest club in the Premiership within four years.

The company is buying the club from the disgraced former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who will remain as an honorary director.

This looks to be another example of how the UAE capital is trying to diversify its investments as well as build its international standing. The likes of Saadiyat Island, which will be home to branches of the Louvre and the Guggenheim museums, will enhance its cultural reputation, while adding Manchester City to its investments, which also include the likes of Citibank, will give it some sporting credibility. The AD company has promised to buy players but only time will tell if it can deliver on its promise to make City a soccer powerhouse.

Robinho in his Real Madrid days
Robinho in his Real Madrid days

Update: Almost as a statement of intent, City have set a British transfer record by signing the Brazilian forward Robinho from Real Madrid for Β£32.5m (€39.8m, $58m, Dh213m).

Time marches on

The birthday breakfast of champions

Happy birthday to me. So that’s one more circuit around the sun – fingers crossed I’m in for quite a few more.

On another note, I’m three weeks from departing the Middle East. Expect me to overdose on shawarma and hummus over the following days…

So many shops, so little time

(This guest post was written by my friend Sarah, who is on a shopping expedition to the UAE capital)

If for some extraordinary reason you enjoy spending your hard-earned cash in a matter of minutes then Abu Dhabi is the place for you. As a budding materialist and capitalist I have become accustomed to frequenting the delights of designer shopping… yes, I am a label junkie and I love it. So far my shopping experience in AD has been financially crippling but I don’t mind. I think I have proved myself at least a middleweight shopaholic with the potential to become a heavyweight (if only I had the financial backing to do so). The rich Emirati women may have to wear abayas but they certainly know how to shop! Shopping here is a cultural phenomenon I never thought I would observe outside the States. I’ve been to many of the world’s finest shopping destinations and left my mark on them. So, what does Abu Dhabi have to offer the serial shopper?

We Irish have become desensitised to being ripped off. Abu Dhabi offers tax-free shopping but that’s only the beginning. Whatever your shopping pleasures, you will be able to indulge them here. If, like me, you love designer goods at a steal then welcome to my version of heaven. The malls offer the finest shopping experience. Everything you could possibly need and more importantly want can be found in the comfort of gigantic malls that put places like Dundrum in Ireland to shame. It is quite fitting that Abu Dhabi holds a shopping festival in the spring, no doubt my fellow shopaholics descend on the city hunting for that necessary adrenaline rush that comes from buying things you don’t need!

Shoppers can expect to find bargains in just about everything, be it sunglasses, handbags, clothes, food, make-up, toys, electronics and furniture. I shall leave Abu Dhabi the proud parent of six designer handbags. These precious commodities cost a fraction of what I would have paid for them back in Ireland. If you are familiar with designer handbag prices in Ireland you will know that a small Guess bag costs about 99 euro… not here. Expect to find fabulous medium to large Guess bags for those prices. The prices in AD are not the only thing to attract international shoppers; the sheer volume and variety of shops is enough to tempt any die hard shopper. Even the smallest of malls have a lot to offer but once you have whet your appetite head for Abu Dhabi Mall and Marina Mall.

Marina Mall is the second biggest mall in the UAE, but if you do come to this part of the world to test your strengths as a shopper then I would suggest you plunge into the deep end with a visit there. You will know your shopping capabilities after a short time; if you last the day, my hat off to you! If you break under the strain of Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Armani and my personal favourite, Guess, then you are not worthy of my praise πŸ˜›

Abu Dhabi is this shopper’s delight and I will be leaving it with a heavy heart and suitcase.

Sizzle sizzle

Apparently today’s high will be 42C, but feel like 51C. Overnight it will be 32C but feel like 40C. What have I got myself into? Tonight, while walking home at about midnight, I noticed that the front doors to various apartment blocks were covered in condensation — condensation on the outside of the glass. It’s that humid.

Desert haze

The last week or so has been uncharacteristically mild. Well, when I say mild, I mean it’s only been in the low to mid-30s celsius as opposed to well above 40C. In fact it’s been quite pleasant. However, it was all down to the shamal, a cold wind that whips through the region now and again, stirring up sand particles and bringing fog to this desert city on the Gulf coast. You don’t believe me? Take a look at these photos of the city as seen from the causeway leading to Marina Mall:

Then compare it with this, taken a few months ago close to the same spot:

Alas, the respite is over and the long, hot summer is almost upon us. I imagine few of us are truly prepared for what awaits over the next two months.