Monday, April 13, 2009

Check out Al Dhafra, my old 'hood

After 10 glorious months in the Ramee Hotel Apartments (as The National's Jen Gerson reported today, 25% of hotel rooms in Abu Dhabi are being taken up with people waiting for flats or white collar workers here on short-term contracts - no wonder prices are so high) I moved out in February. But I got to spend some loving hours cataloguing the neighbourhood's attributes for a piece in the Saturday paper's House & Home section here. Check it out, there is a nice slide show that gives you a window on one of the small, accessible parts of Abu Dhabi.

In many ways Al Dhafra is Abu Dhabi, scaled down. A mix of new and old villas and converted residences fill the centre of the block, which is bordered by high-rise accommodations, mid-range hotel apartments and those that have seen better days. A quick peek inside a random open door reveals a series of bunk beds, one of the myriad tiny rooms that house the workers who drive the city’s growth.
Safarnas Vellerical, an office worker at a medical insurance company, lives in a room off Muroor. The 24-year-old from Kerala spent a recent evening visiting a friend at the tiny Al Qafila New Gift Trading Store, one of many that fill out his neighbourhood. “The atmosphere is very good,” he says.

I had to get a copy for someone and read it again today; now I kind of miss it over there.

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