As 2015 limps out and we stare into the lion’s maw of 2016, I decided it was time to clean up some old computer files. Always interesting to find old pictures; set aside and never posted. Which brings me to the subject of this post:
The Abu Dhabi Tourista “Hospitality” Tent and a look back at Times Square 2012.
A Reporter’s take on the Taste of Abu Dhabi Tent: ‘Traveller’s Welcome- A Taste of Abu Dhabi’s Hospitality’ (May 17 – 19, 2012) Posted by Suzanna Bowling (link has gone bad. sorry)
“Inside, guests were shuttled through various stations, treated to platters of dates, tiny cups of strong coffee, henna tattoos, dabs of essential oils like frankincense and sandalwood, and photos of themselves (to be posted online) posing in traditional Arabic garb along with a rather timid-looking falcon.
“The seductive red glow seeping out of a massive white tent at Duffy Square in Times Square drew a steady stream of curious visitors —part of a free, four-day pop-up visitors center, A Taste of Abu Dhabi, set up by the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority….
… to raise awareness of this United Arab Emirates capital as a beautiful, cultured, cutting-edge travel destination. The Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority wants Times Square and the world to know you are welcome to visit to the Capital of the United Arab Emirates.”
Taking over New York City’s Times Square to show just how friendly Abu Dhabi is and to celebrate the launch of its new US office in New York’s Trump Tower. ” (of all places!)
She continues: “An amazing fact: Agarwood oil, also known as Oud oil, is an extremely rare and precious natural oil obtained from several species of Agarwood (Aquilaria sp.) trees. Agarwood trees must be infected by a fungi, prior to producing an oleoresin which saturates the wood. With prices of up to $13,000 per pound, this oil is more expensive than gold. Agarwood is so rare, and so highly valued in Japan and the Middle East (where most of it ends up), it is little known in the West.
At the pop up tent I had a chance to smell this precious commodity.”
“Etihad Airways, also present, welcomed guests with giveaways. Etihad Airlines (in 2012) operated daily from Abu Dhabi to New York and Chicago, with plans to launch a daily flight to Washington DC in March (of 2013). Abercrombie & Kent, Cox & Kings, Linara Travel, Ritz Tours and Goway Travel also introduced travel packages.
“After visiting the tent you had a feeling of warmth and friendship”
A final stop featured a promotional video about Abu Dhabi, chock full of images including architectural wonders, wide sandy deserts, beautiful beaches, the iconic YAS Hotel and the world’s largest theme park, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, with the world’s fastest roller coaster.”
Video footage shows the lure of the art of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, Guggenheim Abu Dhabi and Masdar City – the world’s first carbon-neutral, zero-emissions city.” (Oh My)
Better think twice
“In 2014, Robert Alan Black, a 70-year-old American, was arrested in the UAE for taking a photograph of a venue that authorities had declared off-limits for photos. In 2013, an American man, Shezanne Cassim, was imprisoned for making a 19-minute video that made fun of teens from Dubai.”
But, there it was. In 2012.
A Taste of Abu Dhabi’s “Hospitality” Tent and … since it was there …. Curiosity got the better of me: I got on line.
I had to see what they were “selling” (as far as tourism goes) in the ‘Taste of Abu Dhabi” Tent ….
It was a bit of a wait. But, once inside, I went through pretty quickly.
However, if you were into the perfumes and henna, I guess you stayed longer.
Slick. Smooth. (Romantic.)
The Desert. The Tent. The Naive Traveler embraced by Perfumes, Oils and Henna-Art.
PRETTY. Oh. So. Pretty ….
Transparency: Not an option. Sharia Law: Never mentioned. The GLOBAL Islamic War: Unmentioned. (Ignored by some. Unnamed by others)
But – the coup de gras? This embarrassing picture – ME! With an Arab, the Desert and a Hawk.
What was I thinking!
I leave you with my slideshow – taken with my circa 2012 cellphone (that was dying) – A last look at the Abu Dhabi TOURISTA Tent and these Tips for a Traveller:
When in the United Arab Emirates: Travellers BEWARE – SHARIA LAW – it’s a KILLER.
Please place mouse on picture to open slide show: