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20 Nov, Tuesday
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Walking on Abu Dhabi’s Corniche

A shot of the moon taken with my Nokia N82 mobile phone on May 21, 2008.

 

Last Wednesday three female colleagues of mine and myself took a walk on Abu Dhabi’s Corniche in a bid to get some exercise.

The Corniche, in its latest incarnation, is further out on reclaimed land than it was a few years ago, and is paved in very nice tiles. There are marked exercise spots with instructions on what sort of stretching to do in both English and Arabic and a small disclaimer saying that Abu Dhabi Municipality does not take any responsibility for any possible injuries incurred while exercising.

We walked briskly down the path for around 20 minutes, passing other people also exercising, and the occasional group of expatriate men talking animatedly and smoking. No one bothered us and an Indian man out with his family even said hello to us, which was nice.

The next day two of these colleagues returned to the Corniche for another stroll, this time without me. From what they told me their venture out was not as fun this time. Men stopped and stared at them, with some of them even calling out obscene things to them. A boat of Emiratis that saw them offshore zoomed in and ogled them. In the end they felt uncomfortable and harassed, which is too bad.

I said I would go with them next time to ward off all of the stares and leers, but it is sad that women in this city still need a male companion to safely walk down the Corniche.