Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Abu Dhabi Corniche

The Abu Dhabi corniche is a seafront park that runs along the side of the city that faces the Persian Gulf. That used to be an accurate description, but it has slowly changed as more and more of the coast has been filled in to make more room for the city. This work, done at enormous expense, does not go toward any actual economic activity, but toward leisure and pleasure. I haven't ever come across anything like this. I can't imagine any other country spending money this way.

I took these photographs on June 17th, which happens to be a day heading into peak summer. The day was relatively dry and clear, a situation that changes rapidly as June comes to a close.

This is where I had gotten off the taxi. The corniche, as I remember it when I first arrived in Abu Dhabi, had a few buildings, a few villas, a small grassy area, a path along the sea. It was simple. Now it has become an immense undertaking, a garden like one in any country with plenty of water, lined with a wall of buildings. It had changed a lot while I had been living here, but the change since 1999 (the last time I was in Abu Dhabi) is amazing.

Stepping a bit toward the sea, we have a fountain. And green, springy grass.

I could take endless pictures of the corniche and fail to communicate what Abu Dhabi has created. Here's a last one of the city's view from the corniche, showing a bit of the garden.

A shot of the water. Amazing how clear it is. Just like a desert.

A longer view of the water, with a view of the breakwater. This used to be a simple breakwater, some structure in the water, to keep the waves at bay. Now there's a mall and housing going up there. More photographs of that another time.

Here's a view of a pedenstrian subway. The tilework is amazing. All the tiles seem to have been individually glazed. Not painted. All the pedestrian walkways seem to have been done this way.

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