Another thing I like about Abu Dhabi OR I have found my happy place
I wrote about it today with my colleague John Henzell (who covered Ski Dubai) in the special cold issue of m, The National's Saturday magazine. It is the Abu Dhabi Ice Rink at Sheikh Zayed Sports City, and I am not sure I will find another place that will lift my spirits in such a way, even if their staff did basically sharpen off the toe-picks on my custom-made figure skates.
Oh well, it's been a couple of decades since those babies were crafted to my feet, and they are full of nicks and cuts and not really even the shape of my feet anymore, so I guess I shall be grateful that someone is forcing me to buy a new pair when I go back to Canada in the next couple of weeks. Sentimental value=blisters.
But back to the rink. I thought I would be the only one there. Or that if there were people there, they would be Westerners. I did not expect to find Emiratis in dishdashes whipping around the ice, or a special group of guys in their teens and 20s doing what is basically ice dancing - only a whole lot more entertaining - that they have taught themselves on hockey skates. This happens at rinks in Dubai, in Al Ain and here in Abu Dhabi, and I still can't quite believe my eyes.
And let's not forget Sheikh Zayed on hockey skates: