A few days before the V day, every flower shop is buzzing with so much redness. I don't think I could get used to seeing red in basically everything. Red stuff toy, red pillows, red balloons, red slippers, red robe - and I'm pretty sure there's more red stuff inside the shop. It could get too overwhelming. And so I was thinking, all the best restaurants here in Abu Dhabi are probably teeming with starry-eyed couples and credit cards are already too hot to be swiped. But that's the thing about this whole red letter day people often lose their mind spending everything they have for one day of bonding with a love one. (Please excuse my being a sore, I don't mean to be the Grinch of Valetine's Day. Anyhoo, there are still ways to celebrate the day without spending too much hard earned Dirhams in the city of Abu Dhabi.
1. Take out dinner. When I say take out, it doesn't have to be from the restaurant and in your flat. Pick the restaurant you really want to try, order some take out and set up a romantic dinner at your terrace, or the top of your building (if its clean). Scented candles are a hit here you can buy scented candles at the old Abu Dhabi Coop near Electra St. for AED 2. Exotic little shops where most food costs only from AED 15 - to AED 25.
2. Share a Sundae. Despite the cold temperature here especially at night, still it would be interesting to share a Sundae. Baskin-Robbins shops are everywhere. Make your own Sundae for as low as AED 30. So bundle up and heap those ice cream sundae of your choice.
3. Stroll along the Corniche. From Hamdan to Corniche you just take Bus No. 5 and you are on your way to romantic spot of the city and it only costs AED 1. Although its still cold in that area, sharing a seat with your lovey-dovey eases up the temp and hopefully warm you up. Enjoy the night lights while it reflects on the water.
4. Share a Grande. If you can share a sundae why not a grande right? Coffee shops are scattered here everywhere. Starbucks coffee will not cost you more than your day's allowance. Pick any coffee and share it with your loved one. Top it of with a big dollop of cream to make it extra special. Or you can also try Turkish coffee if you are a heavy caffeine taker.
5. Shisha Trip. Most coffee shops and small shops everywhere in Abu Dhabi have shisha or hookah. With just AED 10, you can inhale away the night. Shisha and a little chitchat makes a good Valentine date already. :)
6. Home Spa. After a day's work, anyone would welcome a foot rub or shoulder massage with jazz music in the background. Turn down the lights, spice up the mood with music and candles, buy those massage lotions at any supermarket. I found a packet that only costs AED 5.50. This one is for foot massages with cooling effect. Let him or her sit down ask them about their day then rub away!
7. Movie marathon. I know you'd say movies are expensive, you don't really have to go to a cinema to watch movies right? Try renting. Or try buying DVD's. Most DVD's cost AED 35 in Carrefour and Virgin Records. There are some which is on sale which only costs around AED 25 or less. Cook your own movie goodies like nuts, popcorns and a bag og M&M's and a liter of soda and you're good to go. Nachos and dips are even available on the groceries.
There are plenty of ways to celebrate the love day. You just need to be creative and make the most out of the place where you are currently located. Or you can just forget all about it and work till you drop. Valentine's day is not even a holiday so why make a fuss right? Well, fine, I'll shut up killjoy!