I wanted to share an interesting tidbit about Abu Dhabi that you won’t read in any guidebook, but that I think makes it a lovely place to live:
When there is a national tragedy, the kind of thing that would make a country lower its flag to half-mast, the Sheikh declares however-many days of mourning. This doesn’t affect most people too much; it’s mostly ceremonial, just like flag lowering (which they do here as well). The one way that it impacts my day-to-day routine is that radio stations are only allowed to play classical music.
The first time I noticed it was after King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia passed away in January. We thought someone had broken into our car and changed all our radio station pre-sets! This time, when the Sheikh declared three days of mourning for the 45 Emirati soldiers who lost their lives in Yemen, we knew what to expect.
Every radio station must play classical music, but there is some variety. So I flip through my pre-sets and find the station playing the classical piece I like best. I’ve been able to listen to wonderful Mozart and Beethoven and even traditional Celtic folk melodies while driving Adele to and from school. There is no commercial interruption, except for the international news at the top of every hour. Sometimes I wish it were always like this, but then I would miss singing at the top of my lungs to Jason Derulo on the very few occasions that I get to drive alone. (The girls “don’t let” me listen to music. They are philistines!)