The Villas

Our villas. The Masdar labeled to the left is our temporary school and research facility located on the campus of the Petroleum Institute.  The Masdar to the right is the future location of Masdar City.

Our villas. The Masdar labeled to the left is our temporary school and research facility located on the campus of the Petroleum Institute. The Masdar to the right is the future location of Masdar City.

We are currently housed in Khalifa City ‘A,’ somewhat of a suburb about 45 minutes from downtown Abu Dhabi.  It is still very much under construction, but there’s apparently a housing shortage in the city so Khalifa City, Masdar, and several other ‘cities’ are being constructed to satisfy that demand. Though we’ve taken taxis when convenient, we have several bus/van drivers that cater to us pretty well, saving some money, though the taxis are quite cheap. There’s not much of a public transportation system, save for some buses that no one understands or uses.

There are several male villas and a few female villas on the other side of the city, quite segregated, separate but equal as they say.  The pools are still under construction, which is frustrating because we are already limited in what we can do while at home.  The internet doesn’t work, half of the TV stations are in Arabic, Persian, or another language, most of us don’t have cars, and it’s over 100 degrees every day.  This leaves us with little to do but complain to one another or walk the 10 minutes to the nearest internet café and strip mall.

Overall, though, our villas are extremely nice, especially when compared to college dorms in the US.  There are five students in each two-floor villa. There is a kitchen and dining room on the bottom floor and a lounge with a TV on the second floor.  In my villa, each of the three upstairs rooms has its own bathroom.  I am, of course, on the ground floor opposite the kitchen and share 1 ½ bathrooms with the other student on the first floor, which really has not been an issue at all.

Each room has air conditioning that does not really respond to its respective controls.  As a result, my room more closely resembles the frozen tundra than a desert outpost. My room is also big enough to park a small truck, without moving the bed. The rooms are rectangular, probably ~25′ x ~18′, with marble floors that act more like a sheet of ice whenever the slightest drop of water or particle of sand trickles in.  We have brand new full sized beds and some all-too-familiar Ikea furniture.

My bedroomThe kitchen is pretty standard, but I’m learning more about the bathrooms every day.  Since I first visited the toilets at the airport, I had noticed this anonymous hose near each of the toilets. At first I thought I had just chosen the ‘maintenance’ stall or something. But then I noticed the same type of hose in my bathrooms and a strategically place floor drain on the floor.  At first I thought the hose was part of a Muslim pre-prayer ritual, perhaps for cleaning the feet, but inevitably realized that the hoses were there for other, more practical purposes that have to do with the noticeable lack of toilet paper in some public bathrooms. I will report later after I have tried this new hygienic method myself.

My Villa

My Villa


3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Mom on August 31, 2009 at 4:13 pm

    U r truly a funny guy – hope u’r figuring out the ” hose” situation. Great input on u’r first few weeks there.
    You will probably have enought info, etc on u’r exploits & adventures to write a “how to survive” book for future students who will attend this program. Toooo funny.

    By the way, don’t know if u got my email – but I”ll be going to Prague, Vienna & Budapest w/Bo on sept. 8th till 22nd – so looking forward to my mini-adventure. guess the acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree,eh!!
    love ya


  2. Posted by Dotty & Marty on September 2, 2009 at 1:05 am

    Brian, we are enjoying your blog! We feel like we are on tour with you—very descriptive and humorous writing. Great photos of the chandelier, etc. Architectural designs are amazingly lavish. Can’t wait to hear about your courses. We are so happy for you! You deserve the best! Always, Dotty & Marty


  3. Posted by Amanda on October 11, 2009 at 5:58 pm

    I just found your blog quite accidentally. I live quite close to you (in an apartment above the stores/restaurants on 16th street). Anyway, it is nice to see that I’m not the only stuck in the middle of nowhere!


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