I haven’t explored much so far, which makes me feel silly–how come I would travel here and not do any sight-seeing? I’m tired of seeing malls and furniture stores. I suck at shopping, I guess. I began my exploring today, going it solo. The Corniche is the miles-long beach-front walkway that is nearby. I caught a cab from the Intercontinental down to it, finding the magnificent Emirates Palace hotel off to my left, and miles of blue-tile-paved walkway stretching away in the opposite direction. It was ten o’clock, and the beach was mostly empty, despite the temperature not being scorching just yet. A work crew of Indians were just quitting and exiting a building project on the beach as I arrived. They loaded into several big buses without air conditioning.
My initial walk wasn’t too bad–I stopped to take photos periodically, admiring the white sand and the interesting structures here and there. The city, across the road flanking the Corniche, is growing taller day by day. Across the bay, the Marina Mall’s burj juts into the air. I’d guess I covered well over a mile before deciding that it was getting too hot and my sunscreen might not endure.
The return walk was an exercise in endurance. I’d go from one patch of shade to another. The few tourists I encountered were either looking for a suitable beach or else Japanese and busy taking photos of each other. I stopped at one of the underpasses and stuck my hands in the fountain to cool off. As I squeezed my digits into a fist, I noticed that my hands were swollen.
Instead of taking a cab this time, I decided to just walk back to the hotel, since it wasn’t far. I found a pretty little park where birds were singing. I’m going to have to learn what the local birds are. There are some that I’ve never seen before, in addition to common pigeons and doves. I christened one, out of sheer ignorance, of course, the Red Butt Bird because of a red spot beneath his tail, and another, similar in size to a robin, the Awe Bird, because he and his compatriots walk around with their mouths wide open, as if they’re exclaiming, “Awe, man, that is pure awesome!” My walk concluded with a crossing of the four-lane highway in front of the hotel. This is easier said than done because it’s a construction zone, like a great deal of the city.
When I got back into the air conditioning, I ran into my dining companions from last night, and enjoyed sitting in the lobby for a while before heading back to my room to rehydrate. Tonight I may head down to the Emirates Palace to walk around and explore the place. We shall see what the day holds!