This has been an interesting week for me, involving much travel to Abu Dhabi. I used to think Abu Dhabi was the pits, a sort of sub-Sharjah, halfway between Dubai and Saudi in every way. Now I have come to appreciate it a little more. People who lived there always told me it was a great place to live, but I never really managed to believe them. It seemed, well, just sort of behind.
It seems like paradise right now. The first thing is, as colleague Mai pointed out, when you get there 'you can see the tarmac' - a prosaic way of pointing out that the roads are not a constant grind of bumper to bumper lane-swapping crawling pace madness.
People want to do business with you: they're not doing you a favour giving you the time of day.
Hotels are flexible and service-oriented, not process driven and hide-bound. Even the absurdly sumptuous, but nevertheless impressive, Emirates Palace.
There are locals. They talk to you. They're pleased to see you, friendly and open.
There's a sudden feeling of 'can do' attitude about the place. Abu Dhabi's changing - and fast.
I swear the driving's improved. I might just have gone mad, though.
On the way back this week, entering Dubai, we passed a poster for the RTA (Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority), congratulating itself on the wonderful achievement it managed on the opening of the Floating Bridge. And I really, I swear, started to wonder if a move wasn't really such a bad idea...