Sunday, 9 June 2013

It's kind of more foreign than I thought it would be

We've had an interesting day visiting various villas, and also Pearl Primary School, with Tracy, a friend of a friend of Jo. She picked us up from our hotel at 8:30pm this morning (no lie in for us) and, after stopping for petrol (when Jo was very impressed with the attendant service) we headed for one of the main communities. We didn't think we were going to be able to see inside any villas on this trip but Tracy cheerily informed us that any properties for rent are normally left unlocked so people are free to go and have a look inside. We took this on trust, although we were a little worried that our trip may come to a premature end for breaking and entering!
Having looked at a couple of villas, Tracy showed us Yas Island, where the F1 circuit is located. We stopped off at Abu Dhabi Golf Club for brunch (a delicious breakfast tortilla), looked at Ferrari World from a distance, then started our villa search again.
We headed to Khalifa A, one of the main residential areas for expats and had a look in a large villa in a mini compound. It was very nice, but very expensive, and had far too much room, even for us! Off we went to another compound, still under construction, as shown below. The sandy area in the middle is going to be a shared swimming pool, although goodness knows when it will be finished.

The villas in this compound were nice, and well within our budget, but didn't have much outside space.

It was nearly time for us to head to Pearl Primary School for our tour, but there was just time to stop at one more villa we noticed was for rent. Having finally convinced the caretaker to let us have a look round, we quite liked the villa, but couldn't find the kitchen anywhere. We asked the caretaker who told us it was outside, and then proceeded to ask whether we wanted one villa or all eight in the compound. At that point Tracy realised we were in a compound for locals, hence the outside kitchen (as only the maid needs access), so we left as quickly as possible.
Next we headed into the centre of the city, a journey which was a little hair raising as Jo was navigating but kept forgetting this fact and almost missing critical turns! We eventually found the school, although had to do a full circuit of it, so tight was the security. At this point Tracy left us as she needed to go and pick her children up from school.
We got in eventually and were shown around. Pearl Primary is our second choice school for Archie and Flossie, and we have secured places for them both. It was very nice, a similar configuration to their school in Bolton, and the kids we saw all seemed happy and well behaved. I'm sure both of them would settle in we'll if this is where they ended up going. The only downside is that it is some distance from where we hope to be living.
Once our tour was over we walked in what I thought was the general direction of my new office. Having failed to find it we headed into Costa for a refreshing drink. We asked the server to show us where we were on a map, and discovered we were a long way from where we thought (yes, I had been taking us in the wrong direction!).
We therefore jumped in a cab to the Abu Dhabi Mall, so Jo could get a sense of what shops the city has, and so I could get some socks, having forgotten to pack any. Then it was another cab back to the hotel.
We spent a couple of hours by the pool, with a couple of refreshing beers. I went for a quick swim (very warm water), and Jo soaked up some sun. The pool attendant was very attentive: laying out two towels for each of us on our loungers, bringing us a melon ice lolly to refresh us, and delivering our bottles of beer buried in an ice bucket. We could get used to this!
Once the sun had gone behind the hotel we headed back to our room to get ready for dinner. We went to "The Meat Co" at a hotel just across the water from our hotel, where we both had a beautiful steak, even more tasty because Tracy had given us a money off coupon so one of them was free.
All in all a good day. We are starting to get a good idea of what we can get for our money, where we want to live, and what compromises we may have to make. We've also reassured ourselves that the British schools are very similar to back home. And, so far, we have not come to the conclusion that we don't want to move here!! Thank goodness!
Quote of the day from Jo, midway through the day: "It's kind of more foreign than I thought it would be". She still hasn't managed to explain what she meant, but apparently it is a good thing.
Until tomorrow..........


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