Thursday, January 14, 2010

The villa life, Abu Dhabi style

Ah, the villa life ...

It's not what you might think. Lots of people live in villas here. As in, lots of people live in the same villa.

There are many beautiful, massive single family villas, for people with money. I would love to live in one someday. But most villas – even new ones – are divided into apartments. There must be eight units spread out across the three floors of my villa, although I have not explored every nook and cranny.

It's not a bad deal, really. Villas are nicer than apartment buildings, on the whole. Mine is on a quiet street in Al Bateen, with a shaded patio and lots of plants. It's private; there's the gate to the street, and a big, imposing front door that opens onto a common area. You get more for your money in a villa, too, although my rent is still at least twice what you would pay for a similar place in Atlanta.

It's just not the luxurious lifestyle often associated with the word "villa." My apartment is a small studio, maybe 12 feet by 20 feet, with a bath and a tiny kitchen off to the side. (The kitchen is so small, there's no space for a stove or refrigerator. I had to put those in the main room.)

But it has 12-foot ceilings and cool tile floors, and I've managed to comfortably fit in a bed, a sofa, a desk, a wardrobe, a flat-screen television, a bookcase and a coffee table, plus the kitchen stuff. What more does a man need? It's cozy, and it's home, for now.

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