So there we were… sitting in an auditorium, watching JUMP end, thinking how best to leave the hall to escape the crowd. Then came the raffle and we thought…well why not stay for a few more minutes. And that’s all it took. A few more minutes for them to announce that… my mum had won tickets to the MBLAQ showcase. How we went from an overnight trip to Abu Dhabi to attend a Korean speech contest to winning MBLAQ showcases passes, I can’t quite tell. In any case, the tickets meant just one thing. I had to request for leave from work and plan another trip to Abu Dhabi…
What a night to win MBLAQ tickets…
I do drive but traffic, being what it is in UAE, I usually prefer not to. So this trip to Abu Dhabi, I decided to take my mum on a Public Transport Tour of the UAE, which is a fancy way of saying, planning the entire trip using only public transport. We’ve been in the UAE long before the concept of street names and public transport existed, and we’ve just continued with business as usual, taking only the occasional taxi. I ended up taking the metro when I started working and that’s about it. There’s a sprawling bus network in the city, which I’ve never experienced, so our eventual adventurous itinerary looked something like this:
|Home – Rashidiya Metro Station
|Rashidiya – Ibn Battuta Metro Station
||1 hr 15 mins
|Ibn Battuta Metro Station- Abu Dhabi Central Bus Station
||1 hr 45 mins
|Abu Dhabi Central Bus Station – BFF’s Place – Hotel/Exhibition Centre
||20 mins + 20 mins
|Hotel/Exhibition Centre – Abu Dhabi Central Bus Station
|Abu Dhabi Central Bus Station – Jaffiliya Metro Station
||1 hr 45 mins
|Jaffiliya – Rashidiya Metro Station
|Rashidiya Metro Station – Mirdif City Centre – Home
||5 mins + 45 mins
Travelling to Abu Dhabi by bus costs AED 25 so we topped up our Nol cards to cover the bus and metro fare and sat down for long trip to the bus stop (You can also buy a ticket from the bus stop if you don’t have a Nol card). The good thing about getting on at Rashidiya is that it’s the first stop, so you’re bound to get a seat. If not… good luck standing for over an hour in the rush.
Empty Metro… not for long
I like travelling by metro (not during rush hour), but the only thing I don’t like is the fact that you can’t eat or drink on the metro. I suppose that’s why it’s so clean but anyway, by the time we reached our last stop, we were super hungry so we grabbed some snacks from the supermarket in the metro station. The bus stand is right outside, so we double checked the time and came back to sit inside because it was getting close to scorching midday. A few minutes after we sat down, mum noticed our bus (E101 from Ibn Battuta to Abu Central Bus Station) pull up. It was more than half an hour before the departure time and I wondered if we shouldn’t wait inside longer before getting onto the bus, but we decided to check it out and it’s a good thing we did. The line to the bus was huge and within 10 minutes the bus was full. Had we missed the bus, we’d have to wait for another hour before the next bus to Abu Dhabi! Phewww… It turns out that the seating was ladies in front, families and gents at the back, so we climbed in to the first two seats and buckled up for the long ride.
Getting ready to take our first bus ride…
Before you leave, people will come around with menus selling sandwiches, snacks and drinks to buy since you’re not allowed to take your own food on board. In a way, this is actually a good thing because it stops people from getting smelly food on board which would bother other passengers and could dirty the bus. So anyway, off we went… or at least that’s what I kept telling my mum because at a speed of 80 kph in a big bus, you feel like you aren’t moving at all. It was in fact so slow that my mum was convinced she could walk to Abu Dhabi faster. In any case, it was the most stress-free ride ever and we eventually reached the central bus station, right opposite Al Wahda Mall, where we caught up with my BFF and were whisked away for a super-scrumptious lunch of Masala Dosa, Sambar, Chicken Cutlets, Paysam, Karachi Halwa and Jalebi. My mouth is now officially watering.
Abu Dhabi Bus Station… saying bye bye to our bus…
After a filling lunch (I stuffed myself to be very honest – that masala dosa was just amazing), we headed off to the hotel which is part of the exhibition centre where the showcase was being held. ADNEC is about 15-20 minutes away from the bus station, depending on the traffic, so I’d recommend staying at any of the hotels in ADNEC itself. By the time we checked in it was already 5pm so we rushed down to the exhibition centre to see if we could catch any of the activities before the Miso show.
Program for the Korean Medical Tourism Festival
On the way to the conference hall, we happened to pass by Exhibition Hall 5… let’s just say there was so much rush that we had to abandon all thoughts of checking out any of the funky exhibits for fear that we wouldn’t be able to get a good seat. Unfortunately, though the Miso show was open to public, they were seating people in the order of their tickets for the MBLAQ showcase, which meant my mum and I wouldn’t be able to see the show together. She ended up going back to the hotel room while the BFF and I stood in line and got jostled into the hall…
[Wait for Part 2 to find out more about the Miso performance and MBLAQ showcase! 기대해 주십시오~~ ^^]