Saturday 21 July 2018

Ellen the Expat takes us through her journey on the Jalboot

Experience a whole new Abu Dhabi on Jalboot

ABU DHABI, January 11, 2016

Meet Ellen the Expat- a resident in Abu Dhabi who felt as though she has seen all the city has to offer, until she decided to board the Jalboot ferry. She shares her experience on the private ferry service to enlighten other fellow expats on what Jalboot has to offer. 

Living in the UAE, it’s easy to be jaded by all the majestic sights around us. From the world’s most opulent hotel, to its farthest leaning tower and the world’s fastest rollercoaster, I thought I had seen it all. That is until I decided to board a Jalboot ferry and see what all the buzz is about this recently launched private ferry service in Abu Dhabi. I hadn’t realised that sometimes soaking in the scenic views from a different vantage point really puts life into perspective and makes you marvel at just how enchanting this little desert I call home really is.

Waking up with the urge to splurge, as I often do, I decided to make a quick mid-day trip to the mall. Often forgetting my parking spot, leaving behind shopping bags in the taxi, or even waiting hours on end to find a taxi, I contemplated walking to the nearest mall. Thoughts of the weekend road traffic were beginning to give me nightmares anyway, and I had only just woken up! After browsing and buying in the choice emporium that is Abu Dhabi Mall, I felt the sudden impulse to be adventurous and explore the city. Although it was a lovely thought, how would I get there with my shopping bags, no car, and in no mood to wait in line for a taxi?

Then, I noticed a sign guiding me to the Jalboot pier. “Well, I did want to be adventurous anyway” I thought to myself, not anticipating that soon I’d want to make Jalboot my only way of getting around Abu Dhabi city and neighbouring islands. The bags of bargains picked up at the mall posed no problem, friendly staff relieved me of them as I entered and safely kept them in the ferry’s storage compartment. All I had to do was sit back and relax in the leather, business-class-style seats as I comfortably took in the sights.

It sometimes escapes us residents, and I suppose tourists that Abu Dhabi has one of the region’s longest and richest coastlines and here was the chance to take in its calming seascapes, hidden landmarks and waterways.

On the way, Jalboot gained speed and jostled through wake left by speed boats and yachts. I suppressed my squeals of glee as I peered outside the glossy glass windows and marvelled at the picturesque sights before me, but I could feel myself grinning in amusement from ear to ear.

“Has the city always been this gorgeous?” I murmured under my breath as I got a remarkable view of the luxurious Emirates Palace, a gleaming structure reminiscent of an Arabian Nights palace. Docking at Etihad Towers, just below the newly-opened Pearls by Michael Caines restaurant, gives passengers the chance to disembark right onto the Corniche. With Marina Mall and Heritage Village around the corner, I had set my eyes on my next shopping excursion. I was besotted by the glorious visions of beauty, already imagining treating my taste buds to a meal with panoramic city and Arabian Gulf views. I didn’t want the journey to end just yet.  Rummaging through my purse, the Jalboot brochure instructed me of its next destination, Fairmont Bab Al Bahr.

I had never fathomed that gazing at Abu Dhabi’s coastline would make me feel a sense of tranquillity and pride at the beauty of my home away from home. The Jalboot ferry surged onwards to Fairmont Bab Al Bahr, with fellow sea-goers in vessels of all sizes waving as they passed the ferry. You can almost feel the special camaraderie among sea lovers.

As Jalboot dashed through the Arabian Sea, I couldn’t help but marvel at the shimmering turquoise waters of this picturesque retreat which is marked by an ancient guard tower, Al Maqtaa Fort. I got a waterborne view of the magnificent Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque before slowing for the approach to the jetty at the five-star Fairmont Bab Al Bahr. I quickly texted close friends that if they were looking for me next weekend, they could find me at this contemporary hotel and meandering down to the Souk Qary’at Al Beri, a waterfront marketplace with unusual boutiques. I have no self-control in such situations, but I suppose the desire to explore is stronger than the urge to shop.

Hypnotised by the mesmerising views, and paying little attention to a stomach whose grumbling was thankfully subdued by the Jalboot waves, I knew I earned myself a well-deserved meal on my return home. Really enjoying my ‘me’ time and greedy to see more breath-taking sights, I was ready to go wherever Jalboot would take me. It’s unbelievable how much you miss from the backseat of a taxi or front wheel when driving a car. Off we gently went passing lush mangrove forests on the journey to Yas Island. Of course the camera came out, and why wouldn’t it? This is the stuff of Facebook and the obligatory selfies.

The ferry then docked at its Yas Marina stop, the gateway to Abu Dhabi’s bustling entertainment island. It felt as though I was on holiday mode, even though it’s just a weekend day off. There’s much to see at this destination, from the myriad of restaurants which flank the bustling marina, to Yas circuit and Yas Mall. No points for guessing where I’m going to be. I felt like Columbus, making discovery after discovery of all these known landmarks that I was suddenly seeing in a new light; the calming marina views, the perfect backdrop to my journey.

Back on board, the ferry set off to the final tour stop – a return to Abu Dhabi Mall – and the intriguing sights continued. I was baffled by the wondrous beauty around me, was it the retail therapy or the work of a Jalboot fairy? I guess I’ll have to travel with Jalboot more often to find out. And best of all, I could repeat the experience any day of the week! – TradeArabia News Service

Tags: UAE | abu dhabi | Expat | Jalboot |

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