October's winner of our "Review of the Month" contest is Huda from Abu Dhabi! Huda is proud to be one of a very few female guides in the UAE, and we're delighted to have her as part of our team. Here's what Wayne from the US had to say about his time with Huda:
"Ever had a tour that left you not only thrilled about what you've seen, but also just as happy to have met the person who shared them with you? I felt as if I experienced a cross-cultural immersion as the welcome guest of a brilliant native friend who knows and loves her country. Huda uncovered the human and cultural contexts for all that we saw, making the tour unforgettable. She also tackled the "taboo" questions, eager to dispel common misconceptions. A great tour by the perfect guide. Don't miss it."
We asked Huda to answer a few short questions to share a bit about her life as a guide, and what he loves about his hometown.
Five Questions With Huda in Abu Dhabi
How long have you been guiding, and why did you choose to enter this profession?
I've been guiding for more than 2 years now. I chose to become a guide because I love to present and show my country to visitors. I have many friends from overseas and I always enjoy sharing thoughts and experiences with them, so I see guiding as opportunity to meet with interesting people.
Can you share your favourite thing about being a guide?
I like the part of the tour when I tell them that my country is less than 50 years and I see the astonishment in their faces. How young we are and how much we did!
What tip would you offer other guides who want to provide a more personal experience for their travelers?
Guides need to be as friendly as they can, so visitors will feel truly welcome. Try to give your visitors information they will not typically know as a tourist. Conduct the tour as if you are going out with friends. Be as open as you can to the travellers, and make sure that they feel comfortable asking about everything.
What three places would you recommend every traveler to Abu Dhabi visit?
1. Zayed Grand Mosque
2. Louvre Museum
3. Qasr Al Hosn
Do you have a favourite cafe or restaurant in Abu Dhabi you recommend to travellers looking for traditional food?
I like a restaurant called "Kuwaiti Cuisine." The Zubaidi here is so delicious and it's usually not easy to find in other local restaurants... it's one of the places where Arabic coffee and dates are available. They've got various options of chicken, fish, lamb and vegetables. They have a traditional sitting area where you sit on ground and chairs if you prefer it. The food there is varied with special focus on gulf food. From my own experience, I recommend the zbaidi fish or laham mashbos. And if you like sweets, try the kunafa!
What do you love most about your city?
I love how safe and clean and modern it is, and the striking architecture of the buildings.