Thursday, December 23, 2010

Welcome to Khalifa City A!

In my last days of living in Naramata, I took literally hundreds of pictures. In the last month that I've been in Abu Dhabi, I've taken twenty.

It's not that I haven't been schlepping my camera around, it's just that nothing seems picture-worthy. In Al Ain there was so much more natural beauty and here... well... you'll see.

So I decided that maybe the mundane here wouldn't be so mundane for other people, so ladies and gentlemen, I introduce you to, "My Current Home: Khalifa City A".

So I live in a small compound. Not a compound like they have in Saudi Arabia with shops full of booze and pork and people never leave them. Arak Compound contains 6 villas and a swimming pool. It was one of the first developments  to happen in KCA, and therefore I'm told it's a bit unusual, they're no longer building this style of villa.

The Arak villas are basically dormitories. We all get a room and our own bathroom, but the kitchen and living areas are shared. There are accommodations for 6 people in each villa.

 Outside off my balcony we can see an example of new villa living, each of those villas will have contained apartments with at least 2 bedrooms, if not more. Immediately next to us, we have a vacant lot and beyond that construction that was started long ago, but never completed, (you can just see the corner on the left).

The pool area. Yes we have a pool! I haven't been in yet, mainly because I'm working till late and when I do get home, it's a bit chilly! And I'm usually not around on the weekends.

 Villa 3, where my sister once lived, and I now reside. Her artwork still adorns the empty walls.  I'll post pictures of the inside, but first I'll have to take some. 

 All over the villa grounds are squash growing. These aren't cheap to buy here!

 Khalifa confusion. This is at the end of our street. The front sign says 3rd street, sector 33 in zone 133. (And I live in Villa 3! All those threes!) The far sign says 42nd street. I have no idea how they've numbered the streets out here, it seems there's no rhyme or reason at all. In the background are two international elementary schools and more villas. The street running next to them is 16th.

 My street, whatever its name is. That's Arak compound on the right. 

 On the way to funky town. There is a long row of shops a few blocks away where you can buy food or have a coffee which Arak compound people refer to as "Funky Town". I walk over about once a week, (I'd go more often if I had a bike!) As you can see, the ground is really just sand. Do you see that round object on the horizon between the rolls of cable? That's Raha Beach and the building has been nicknamed "the Dirham" after the local currency. There's a mall and a few hotels over there. To drive there though, one has to drive almost 10km into the city and back again because the round-about they plan to put in there hasn't been done yet. Again I need a bike.

 More construction. Do you see all the cranes on the horizon? That's the new downtown core of Abu Dhabi... someday.

The story is that the proper city of Abu Dhabi is actually built on an Island, and that island is getting crowded. In order to expand, some restructuring is in order. So the plan is to move off island and rebuild in the desert where there's plenty of room for the Sheiks to build their projects that will change how we view cities in the future. Yas Island and Masdar City are located out here near KCA and there will be a direct line from here to Saadiyat Island. But those are other blogs. In the meantime, we have....

Funky Town! Need a pool? Want to landscape your yard? How about a bank, milk, light bulbs, a shower curtain or cheese? Its all here in Funky town AKA The Pink Shops, AKA Khalifa Market. (It's not evident in this picture, but the sixth row down, the shops become dusty pink.)

Around the other side and across the street is a nice coffe shop frequented by many of the expats who live out here. On any given evening you can see 10 to 12 bicycles parked out front.

And there you go! I think I should mention here that if you drive 20 minutes, you'll get to Abu Dhabi proper, and that's a whole different ball game. KCA will be great in years to come, in pictures this is what Abu Dhabi looked like  30 years ago. Perhaps someday, I'll be able to say, "I lived there when there was nothing".

Working on pictures of the villa.


  1. Are there any signs of wildlife there - interesting birds or butterflies?

  2. Lol, I'm looking at those pictures going, Wow, that pile of construction is finished! I should send you my old pictures of the place! I haven't seen KCA since Christmas Day two years ago when I left to come find you in Istanbul. ; )

  3. Kate: birds - yes! Butterflies - no, they're far too delicate for this climate. I'll write about the birds in my next post.

    Mel, remember that third bridge they were working on near the SZ Mosque? It finally opened about 2 weeks ago!

  4. That's crazy! I wonder if I'll ever see it?!??

  5. Just out of curiosity, what does gasoline cost there?

  6. I have no idea, I'll ask around tomorrow!

  7. I would like to thank you for the efforts that you have made in writing this article.This is exactly what I need,Thanks a lot.Keep blogging.

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