x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Oasis: Counting the ways that Abu Dhabi is 'awesome'

Neil Pasricha says awesomeness can be found anywhere, anytime. Before his positive thinking seminar, he shared with us 10 awesome things about Abu Dhabi he’s found in just four days.

Illustrations by Memuco for The National / www.memuco.net
Illustrations by Memuco for The National / www.memuco.net

Neil Pasricha thinks you can find awesomeness anywhere, anytime. The Canadian lifestyle guru, who started a blog called 1000awesomethings.com, was at Manarat Al Saadiyat on Wednesday spreading his optimism at a Positive Thinking Seminar and showing that the world is full of simple pleasures. Before the show, he shared with us 10 awesome things about Abu Dhabi he’s found in just four days here.

1. The feeling of scrunching sand in your toes

Earlier this afternoon, I went to the beach, and the sand in my toes was a very awesome thing. After wearing shoes and socks, there’s this great feeling of all the miniscule pebbles of sand rubbing and giving you a million-pebble foot massage.

2. Floating in salt water makes me a better swimmer

The ocean is as hot as a hot tub. And I’m a very bad swimmer, but the awesome thing for me is, in salt water, I can float. In Toronto, the options for swimming are a pool or Lake Ontario, and you can’t float in either.

3. The sun is everywhere

I know people complain about the weather here, but the truth is you’re lucky to have sun, to have warmth. It’s awesome to feel that on your face and your body.

4. Invisible walls of air conditioning hitting you in the face

Another beautiful thing about the heat is, it makes us feel extra awesome when we step out of it. There is that moment of entering a taxi or going into a hotel or restaurant where you say “Oh my gosh, I’ve suddenly just been air-breezed and I feel like a new man.

5. A varied multi-culture cuisine, from grape leaves to rizotto to hamburgers

People in most cities don’t appreciate what they’re missing. But when you go out for food here, people say “Do you want Chinese? Do you want Lebanese? Do you want Indian? Do you want American?” If you want your Starbucks fix, you can do it, but if you want authentic, fresh hummus with olive oil and lemon, it is there. It’s awesome.

6. The chance of bumping into anyone from any country in the world

This is one of the most multi-cultural places in the world. I hear almost every language in my hotel lobby; I went to the gym and the guy who gave me a juice was from Munich; he is here learning hotel management because he can do it quicker here. You’ve got some young people from everywhere excited to learn and coming to this beautiful city. That’s an awesome thing.

7. Eyeball-popping buildings

Yesterday I visited a friend in the world’s tallest circular skyscraper (Aldar Building). I see the plans for the Louvre and Guggenheim and I see buildings even like the one we’re in now. They resonate with creativity and exuberence and passion. Where else but in one of the fastest and most exciting places on earth would you see that? Around the world, there are too many square and grey buildings. There aren’t as many experiments with design. By experimenting here, we’re learning about architecture and engineering. It’s nice to be on the vanguard of civilization!

8. Counting cranes out of your hotel window

I love counting cranes out of any window; so far my record is 13. It’s amazing to see the amount of development here.

9. The fact I can get fruits and vegetables here in juice form

There’s something about fresh juice in this place. Everywhere I go, it’s like “Would you like some fresh juice?” Fresh squeezed carrot juice? I love carrot juice! I’ve had avocado juice, mango juice, strawberry juice; I feel like I’m just drinking vitamins.

10. The people and the place

Meeting so many incredible UAE people at this event and others. And planning my next trip back as soon as I get home.

See Oasis as it was printed here.