Part three in a series of unique and little known attractions hidden within the world's most popular destinations.
Colder than the chilled nose of a Westward facing Camel in January, United Arab Emirates residents are uncomfortable with the weather patterns of winter, but the small city of Abu Dhabi is a gem of a destination for Northern Hemisphere travelers during December and January.
Normally considered "Balmy" conditions for Northern Minnesota, Calgary, British Columbia or all Alaskan residents, the shores and stores of Abu Dhabi are welcome playgrounds for those snow bird travelers. Even U.K.locals tired of fog, bone chilling rain and lack of sunshine enjoy the acquisition of some pigment back in their skin with a Winter visit to Abu Dhabi.
"I'm a little tired of looking like Edward from that vampire series, yeah? The Missus and I decided to toss on the sandals head to the Arab peninsula", says Nottingham, U.K. machinist, Andrew Bawlzak.
While foreigners flock to the shopping district and beaches of Abu Dhabi, local residents remain in relative hiding during those two coldest months of the year. "One day, it got down to nine degrees (Celcius), and I just couldn't take the shivers", says local resident, Ahman Mafoudi. "At 48 degrees (Fahrenheit), I'm wearing shorts and a t-shirt", says Minneapolis resident Al Wilson, "While we saw two women in parkas and mukluks casually pass us by".
While the locals are more comfortable with 120F degrees and 90% humidity in summer months, the temperature difference in winter is enough to coax them into hibernation. Most shopping malls are empty, bars and restaurants are wide open and the deals are worth flying out for. "If you can get past the power of suggestion", says Wilson. "You see a bunch of people completely shaking in their boots and hooded coats and feel like you should at least be wearing a long sleeve shirt. It's unsettling actually. Meanwhile I'm breaking out the sunscreen and wiping the sweat from my butt crack".
Even local medical personnel needed retraining for managing the influx of visitors in winter. Several incidents have been reported where emergency personnel have rushed the beaches to begin treatment for frostbite and hypothermia. One British man was reported to say, "Relax mate, and hand me another frosty pint from the cooler".