Yup, here I am. After the requisite last-minute rush and frenzied departure, I've arrived in Abu Dhabi. How long I'll be here is anyone's guess -- the employment offer is open-ended and the residence visa is renewable every three years -- but the city seems nice enough from initial impressions. The highlights of my 36 hours or so in the Emirates thus far are sleeping off jet lag, wandering the neighborhood and sampling the wares of the nearby convenience store and supermarket. Actual work is scheduled to start today.
Keeping close tabs on money will be a primary concern until the first paycheck arrives. Fortunately, it appears as though I'll be able to eat and get around without too much expense in this first month. Taxis are fairly inexpensive and, other than a bit of sticker shock at the Grand Central Cafe ($12.25 for a cheeseburger and small fries?), food prices appear to be manageable as long as Western name brands aren't imperative. Behold the spoils of my first trip to LuLu Xpress, the nearby supermarket:
Water, some caffeine, tortillas and tortilla filling, some fruit, a quick dinner and a copy of the day's paper -- all for 84.45 dirhams, or about $23. Between this and the free breakfast buffet, I should be set for food for much of this week.