Although I knew it was a falcon hospital, I secretly hoped I would not have to be in a room with any falcons, boy was I in for a big surprise. Immediately we entered the building the first thing I ran into was a large white female falcon that had been brought in for her monthly check up. Was I scared? Maybe, but fascination got the best of me. After I quietly edged out of the room we joined a tour group that had come on a business trip. Our tour guide Hassan Al Sarhan later entered the room to give us a crash course in Falcon 101. One of the many things that surprised me is that the falcons actually have their own passports and usually travel first class or business class. And here I’ve been all this while enduring economy class. sigh.
I wasn’t done seeing them yet. When the tour started we were ushered into the back room where the ‘patients’ were waiting to be attended to. The doctor on call explained what treatments the birds usually require including x-rays, endoscopy, blood tests and other basic treatments that humans require. Later he made a call to the brave for who would like to hold a falcon (which everyone answered) but when he asked for who would like to feed it, only one hand was up. Go figure! The tour ended with a trip to their moulting centre where in the summer the falcons can come to shed their feathers and grow new ones in preparation for the hunting season in the winter.
Next up was the beautiful Yas island- home to the Yas Viceroy Hotel and the Yas Marina Circuit; the favoured racetrack for Formula one legends and celebrities during the Formula 1 season in November. At the lobby we met with the Director of Public Relations and Communications Julie Audette and our make shift tour guide for the afternoon.
The hotel hovers over land and water and spans the Marina Circuit as well as the Marina which overlooks the Yas Marina & Yatch club. During our tour we took a look at the exquisite view of the race track and the yatch club, its vibrant restaurants, the ballrooms and board rooms and their regular and Presidential suites.
To bring that part of the tour to close and build up enough energy for the next stop, the team lingered at the hotel for a nice lunch.
Our next stop was at the famous Ferrari World. As we drove into the big red building one of my companions caught the sight of a long track that looked a bit suspicious…but we’ll come back to that later.
The theme park is dedicated on one of the fastest cars in the world, the Ferrari, Formula 1 racers like Michael Schumacher & co. and everything fast paced. Even the employees seemed hyped on adrenaline. You could come and enjoy the miniature race track, the simulators, movies at Show Times, fine dining, the Ferrari gallery and fast paced games. After briefly meeting with the PR Support manager Arianna Posenato she took us to the main attraction The Formula Rosso, the fastest roller coaster in the world.
Although I wasn’t too keen on getting on a ride that took approximately 50 seconds, I went anyway. When I visit Abu Dhabi again, I will definitely go back on the Rosso.
Our day slowed down later on when we visited the beautiful Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. Set 11 meters above the ground, the mosque oozes sanctity and majesty from its gates to the inner parts of its walls.
The structure was started by the Late Sheikh Zayed and was created to portray what they believe is the appearance of heaven. With about 85 domes and a unique chandelier that ranks as the biggest in the world, the mosque is one of the top 10 mosques in the world including that of Mecca.
Being that the mosque is a holy place and women are not permitted to enter without a hijab, we were asked to change into complimentary Hijabs and remove our shoes. A new experience, but as they say when in Rome, do as the Romans do.
The second day of my trip had me screaming at the top of my voice on the Formula Rosso and calm with the devoted creed at the mosque. After a beautiful meal at the Mezlai restaurant at the Emirates Palace we returned to our hotel where I got very much needed rest. After all its not everyday you get to ride the worlds fastest coaster.