Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year! It Was Ten Years Ago Today

Ten years ago we had just moved to Abu Dhabi, and were frequent weekend visitors to the old Hiltonia Beach Club. April 1998, the club was closed "By Order of Higher Authority". I remember the date distinctly. It's burnt into my mind. Sheikh Zayed had decided to redo the Corniche in anticipation of the GCC meeting to be held there, the following year. The new Corniche skirted on the outer section of the Hiltonia, and the property owner decided to keep it closed for the next two years. Then suddenly, a fence went up - one of those "building fences" often seen around the Emirates. VB knew something was up, and sure enough sometime around 2001 the new Hiltonia opened, after having added a whole new beach, by hauling in sand.

Many of the old timers had gone to other clubs. Not us. Everyone in our family had a negative opinion on the other clubs, so we ended up occasionally being invited out to an island with friends or doing nothing. Except for the kids. They had plenty of friends with Sea-Doos and boats (more like yachts, really), and were entertained just about every weekend.

The old Hiltonia even had a Burger King Hut, which served the best damn hamburgers! Unfortunately, the new Hiltonia decided to go a bit more upscale, adding an outdoor grilling restaurant, and Vasco's Restaurant. No more Burger King! It was a heartbreaker, but we survived. We also survived the Russian women, who would turn a bikini into a thong; the crowd of European tourists in April; and the snooty new expats with their panamas ordering the waiters / beach boys around just before we left. We did enjoy the chilled pool and the afternoon breezes though. It was a nice place to relax.

VB's been digitizing old SLR film, and in remembrance of good times past, she's posting photos of old (uhm) Abu Dhabi Hiltonia and some old fashioned UAE recycling, to share.

The Best Damn Hamburger!

The Old Hiltonia Beach Looking Towards The Causeway.

The Old "Large Pool" with The Bridge:

The Old Large Pool, and in the background the Grassy Tanning Area: (One day a very curious Indian worker decided to climb one of the palm trees to see into the club. He happened to be peeking in on some female sunbathers, who frequented the beach on weekdays, and was in an awkward position. Only able to hold on with one hand, while getting his mojo on, he suddenly tumbled from the tree, breaking his arm! He was sent to hospital, and immediately deported.)

The moving company refused to return to pick up the excess cardboard from our move. This man was more than happy to make several trips, just to collect a few extra dirhams. This was taken through the reflective glass window, thus the strange haze and color.


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