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Monday, February 9, 2009

St. George=Abu Dhabi

Before moving to Abu Dhabi, I spent the last 10 years in a medium sized, Southwestern Utah town, St. George. St. George is in one of the most visually beautiful places on Earth. It is located between the Colorado plateau and the Mojave desert and is but a few miles from the North rim of the Grand Canyon and is close to Zion National Park, Lake Powell and Lake Mead. The physical diversity of the land there is unlike I have ever seen. It will literally take your breath away. The beige desert flats in interior Abu Dhabi fail to impress me as I have been spoiled by the Southern Utah geography. Abu Dhabi does have great beaches. though!

I have noticed some similarities between St. George and my new digs in Abu Dhabi that are too coincedental not to comment on. Please take my comments as "tongue in cheek" as I don't intend to offend anyone on either side of the globe.

St. George: Populated and ruled by the majority religion, Mormons.
Abu Dhabi: Populated and ruled by the majority religion, Muslims.

St. George: Any form of gambling is illegal.
Abu Dhabi: Ditto.

St. George: Liquor sales are tightly regulated and can only be purchased in sparsely located state controlled outlets.
Abu Dhabi: Likewise. (although a license is required)

St. George: Polygamy, although technically illegal, is widespread and tolerated.
Abu Dhabi: I understand that Muslim men can have up to 4 wives.

St. George: Annual horse races, drinking and gambling not allowed (what's the point?)
Abu Dhabi: Daily camel races, drinking and gambling not allowed. (huh?)

St. George: Desert location. (added points, Las Vegas is only 100 miles away)
Abu Dhabi: Desert location. (added points, nice, local beaches on the Arabian Gulf)

St. George: Local, single girls are unobtainable if you are not of the regional religion.
Abu Dhabi: Don't EVEN think about it.

St. George: Crazy, clueless drivers in huge pickup trucks..
Abu Dhabi: Crazy, clueless drivers in Ferraris.

St. George: Triple digit Summer temperatures.
Abu Dhabi: Triple digit Summer temperatures (plus triple digit humidity).

St. George: Clean, relatively crime-free city.
Abu Dhabi: Same.

St. George: Mexican low-wage workers.
Abu Dhabi: Indian low-wage workers. Note: Fly Swatter is not an item you buy at the hardware store here, it is a job description.

St, George: Relatively huge police force, obtrusive.
Abu Dhabi: Relatively huge police force, unobtrusive.

St. George: Locals snub transplants.
Abu Dhabi: Locals snub expats.

St. George: Locals pray toward Salt Lake City.
Abu Dhabi: Locals pray toward Mecca.

So there you have it. Two cities on opposite ends of the globe with a lot in common from where I see it. Both are good places to live. 

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