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Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

My last day I spent by myself at my cousins rooftop pool.  I purchased this journal in the Mall of the Emirates from the Japanese store, Muji (which I’m excited to hear is coming to Toronto).  I’m a hoarder of stationery in general, so of course I couldn't pass up the opportunity to personalize my own journal.  The journal comes completely blank, no cover and un-ruled pages.  After you purchase it, there is a stamping table at Muji where you can design whatever cover you can imagine (with the stamps provided).  There are other things available as well, such as canvas bags and greeting cards which can be stamped.  My cousin and I spent a good half hour designing our purchases.
 After my day at the pool I took a cab from my cousin’s apartment to the school she teaches at.  From there we made our way over to Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.  Normally a mosque is not open to those not of Islamic faith.  Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque though is open to the public, which I’m very grateful for.
 I was completely taken with the mosque and couldn’t help myself, so prepare for an overwhelming amount of photographs.  I wanted to capture its beauty and bring it home with me.  The mosque was the highlight of my trip.  I’m a lover of architecture and for whatever reason was not prepared for how much the mosque would fit my taste.  It’s almost like time travel I feel.  Coming from such a young country there is very little beauty in our architecture.  Our structures are built for function, with little thought given to aesthetic.  When Canadians travel to Europe they are transported to a time of prosper and lavish architecture.  The UAE’s wealth has allowed them the leisure of building their dream house, or hotel, or mosque, much like the Europeans of yesteryear.
 The Mosque looks like something out of a fairy tale.  The white walls, marble floors and Persian rugs are absolutely pristine.  The dress code includes covered hair, arms covered to the wrists and legs covered to the ankles for women, as well as bare feet for all.  The opulence is astonishing; one can almost feel the dendrites in their occipital cortex flourishing from all this new visual information.  It’s evident from the first glance, not a dhiram was spared.
What I Wore:
Scarf: Urban Outfitters
Cardigan: H&M
Top: H&M
Jeans: Second Yoga
Purse: Coach
Sunglasses: H&M
 The entrance to the mosque is through these two story high sliding stained glass doors, which are motion censored…like at the grocery store.  The next room reveals stone vines creeping up the walls, each made of individually cut petals.
 
Ballet First?
 The main room is full of Persian rugs and three Swarovski crystal chandeliers.  
This clock indicates the day’s prayer times, seen in Arabic, numeric and phonetic translation into the English alphabet.
  Stacks of the Qur’an.  
 This man does the Call to Prayer.  While we were standing in this room we thought the glass was just windows, when in a moment of whimsy, he slid open a secret door and exited into the garden.  
What I'm Wore:
Necklace: Vintage
Loafers: KG by Kurt Geiger
 A groundskeeper warned me I shouldn’t have been sitting on the floor.
 In the basement are these ablution rooms, where one must wash their hands and feet before prayer.
 The garden is full of neatly manicured trees.  I felt like I was in the Queen of Hearts garden from Alice in Wonderland.
 My cousin had to make a stop at the mall and I was excited to see Pinkberry, we don't have it in Canada.
After the mosque my cousin, her boyfriend and I went out for sushi and dancing before I caught my plane home.  The flight wasn’t too bad, other than it being overnight, coupled with seven long hours spent in Ataturk.

My next posts will be on my trip to California this past summer! 
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