Monday, February 09, 2009

First Impressions of Abu Dhabi

As the Obama team gets ready to stimulate the U.S. economy, I flew off to Abu Dhabi to see how things are on the other side of the world. I will be giving a talk tomorrow to the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), then I'm off to Dubai.

So far I am very impressed. I flew over on Etihad Airways, the national airline company. It is a very long flight. Fortunately, I was in business class. Both the service and food were great and the time went by rather quickly. After clearing customs, we took a drive through the city. There is a lot of construction taking place and there are cranes everywhere. Although I hear the economy has taken a hit from the fall in oil prices, that is not readily noticeable.

I am staying at the Emirates Palace Hotel, which without a doubt is one of the finest hotels in the world. It really does look like a palace inside and out. The hotel is located right on the beach on the Persian Gulf. The architecture is beautiful. Everything is very geometric. The inside of the hotel has marble everywhere. I am going to catch up on some sleep, then it's off to dinner. There are several interesting restaurants in the hotel. More later.