Assistant Professor of Biology Dipesh Chaudhury's Abu Dhabi talks about his life in Abu Dhabi.
Hi there, please introduce yourself...
I’m Dipesh Chaudhury, assistant professor of biology. I’ve been a part of the science division here since 2015.
Where do you call home?
I live with my wife and daughter on campus on Saadiyat Island. I grew up in Malaysia and the UK and have lived in several countries so I consider the world my home.
What’s it like living on campus?
We live in faculty housing, which happens to be just above my office so I literally come downstairs to get to work. I don’t waste time traveling, and if I need to work on the weekend, I still have time to be with my family.
We all enjoy using the campus facilities such as the pool and the fantastic gym.
Our daughter goes to school at Cranleigh, which is just five minutes away, and you can get to the city in a few minutes.
Do you have a favorite spot in the city?
As a family we like going to the Corniche. It’s amazing because it’s all built on reclaimed land. It runs along the length of Abu Dhabi and it’s a lovely walk, with restaurants and shops, and sometimes festivals.
What can you get in Abu Dhabi you couldn’t find anywhere else?
Walking around the city it feels to me like a fusion of Asian and Arabian culture and I love that. There’s such a mix of people here from around the world and even though you get a diverse range of people in big cities, something about Abu Dhabi makes it easier for everyone to mix. It’s easy to travel to other places such as Asia, Africa, or Europe but you don’t need to, everything and everyone is here.
How do you get your culture fix?
We’ve got season tickets for the Louvre, which is great for us, but also for our daughter, as they do lots of wonderful activities for kids in the school holidays. At the Arts Center on campus too there’s a real mix - the last thing we saw was Footloose; before that we saw a French hiphop group. Outside Emirates Palace there are often concerts and we’ve seen classical music there. The Indian actor Naseeruddin Shah did a one man show here, which we went to see. And we’ve also seen Bon Jovi!
We were living in New York before we moved here and access to culture was one of the things we wondered about. We needn’t have worried - there’s just as much and it’s way more international than we could have ever imagined.
Where do you go to eat out?
Contrary to what people may think, in addition to high-end restaurants there are also a lot of good inexpensive places. What’s great is that you can eat somewhere fancy or find a street food place and either way the food is amazing. We like Tamba in the World Trade Center which is Asian fusion, and Zuma which is high end Japanese food. But I like to find the small places. At my local gas station, for example, there’s a Malaysian food store – I spent my formative life in Malaysia and they do the mamak-style food I remember from my childhood.
Let us in on an Abu Dhabi secret…
Al Mina Fish Market – there’s this Filipino fish place we recently discovered where they serve the food in a bag, for you to mix up and eat with your hands. It’s delicious.
Tell us three of the best things about Abu Dhabi
1. It’s really family-friendly. There’s lots for our daughter to do – from the water parks to Warner Bros – and the schools are great.
2. We’re geographically closer to lots of places – we can get to our families in the UK, India, and Malaysia really easily, to Europe if we like, and also around the region – oases, deserts, and the other emirates are all incredible.
3. And it’s a really international place, integrating East and West, with culture and food from all over the world. The city’s openness was the best surprise.
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