As I mentioned in a previous post, Bertie is spending March and April in Abu Dhabi, capitol of the United Arab Emirates. Though people have been living in the area since 3000 B.C, it wasn’t until the 1960’s, and the discovery of offshore oil, that Abu Dhabi began to grow into anything like a modern city.
The original name of the town was Milh, a word for Salt, hardly the name of a place likely to thrive. Though the town supported a pearl-diving industry, it never really flourished. The city couldn’t even boast of a single stone building until 1793 when the Emir built a watchtower, which was later expanded into the Qasr al-Hosn Fortress. The town’s name, which means Father of Deer, was a late comer, too. No record of its use exists before 1700 and no one is even certain why folks started calling it that. Maybe they just thought it sounded more poetic than Salt.
Abu Dhabi's fortunes blossomed in the 60's when no less than eight oil fields were found in the area. The city’s population in 1960, a mere 25,000, doubled three times in twenty years. Urban planners designed the growing city to accommodate 600,000 people within its residential towers and superblocks, but that number was surpassed in 2009. The city, and the surrounding Emirate, relies heavily on foreign workers and as such, only 25% of Abu Dhabi's inhabitants are native to the UAE.
Bertie’s miles took me up the Harlem Hill, back around via the bypass and up it again. I’d done repeats on the hill once before and it was torture. I dragged myself up the slope in a haze, my tired feet shuffling and catching on the pavement.
This outing was better, but only slightly…on a normal Central Park run, I climb the hill once. When I top the summit, the hardest part of the run behind me. On Tuesday, I crossed over the peak and had nothing to look forward to but running around and climbing it again. As I said, though, it was better than last time. There was some spring in my step and I ran the hill rather than endured it.