Archive for May, 2010

Camping at Wadi Wurayah

Posted in Camping, Fujairah, Hiking, Khor Fakkan, Wadi Warayah with tags , , , , on May 29, 2010 by Amanda

I went camping this weekend at a place called Wadi Wurayah in Fujairah. I was enjoyable but the conditions weren’t exactly optimal for sleeping (sloping, uneven rocky ground and hot, humid weather). I’m glad that finally got to the UAE’s east coast. It also was exciting to finally hike in this country!

The climb down into the wadi was a bit scary as it was pretty steep and a lot of small rocks were falling down. The waterfall there would have looked so much better if people hadn’t put so much graffiti on it.

What I walked down!

Graffiti-covered waterfall

The bonus of not getting much sleep is that we were able to get going quite early in the morning and really explore the area. We hiked for a while into an area that is much less visited. So, there was less garbage and less graffiti though some was still present.

Near the end it was quite tricky to continue but I’m glad I perserved because our end destination was very nice!

Difficult part of the hike

Me at the final destination

We had lunch in Khor Fakkan which is part of the emirate of Sharjah but is surrounded by Fujairah. It was quite nice there.

Khor Fakkan

It seemed to take so much longer to get back to Abu Dhabi than it took to get there but I think that was just because I took very few breaks on the way back and I was pretty tired.

Another visit to Al Ain

Posted in Al Ain, Museum, Shopping with tags , , on May 22, 2010 by Amanda

Yesterday, I went to Al Ain again to visit some of the places I hadn’t seen on previous visits. Despite having a smaller population that Abu Dhabi, Al Ain has more attractions. I left fairly early in the morning and again had a drive there with almost no other traffic.

I first went to see Hili Archaeological Park. There were a handful of people leaving as I was arriving but there didn’t seem to be anyone else there when I walked around and it is quite a large park. It wasn’t really what I’d been expecting. Yes, there were several archaeological sites in the park but they didn’t seem to be focus. There was a lot of playground equipment! There were a few signs in Arabic around the park but at the actual archaeological sites there was absolutely no signage in either Arabic or English. I thought that was very strange! Still, it was an interesting place to visit and it ended being free. I had been expecting to have to pay a whole dirham to enter!

Hili Archaeological Park

I then went to Bawadi Mall, which is Al Ain’s newest and largest mall. It was quite typical of malls here but there were a few different stores including Payless which was good as it is a good place to find wide, non-leather shoes.

Bawadi Mall. I thought using gigantic bills was an interesting way of advertising their contest.

The mall was really quiet even for a late morning/early afternoon visit on a Friday. I was also look at the adjacent souk for a few minutes but it seemed that only carpet stores were open.

Bawadi Souk.

Afterwards I went to the Al Ain National Museum. This was the first museum in the whole country and it opened in 1970 (I think). It was not terribly big and I think the Dubai Museum is nicer but it was still worth a visit. The thing that struck me once again is the pictures from the 1960s and 1970s of the UAE. It is really difficult to see that there was really nothing in this country at that time and now there is so much. The museum was surprisingly busy but it looked to be mostly because of a busload of tourists.

Entrance to the museum.

Al Ain's main street in 1963.

I also looked at the Sultan Bin Zayed Fort which was right beside the actual museum and I was the only person there. I don’t know if no one else was interested in visiting it or if they didn’t know they could because the entrance was around the back.

Inside the fort.

Scary driving, even for the UAE

Posted in Driving, Dubai, Stupidity with tags , , on May 20, 2010 by Amanda

As I’ve mentioned before driving in the UAE can be a scary experience to say the least. The following YouTube video is front page news here and while I am not too easily shocked by stupid driving, I found it pretty shocking. It takes place in Dubai, on a major highway. I am amazed that the one vehicle was able to drive on just two wheels and not crash.

Rain + Sand = A Dirty Car

Posted in abu dhabi, Desert, Rain, Weather with tags , , , on May 16, 2010 by Amanda

So it is now mid-May and it rained today, not a lot but it definitely rained. There isn’t supposed to happen here from what I’ve heard. For living in the desert we seem to get a lot of rain! At home rains cleans a car but here it makes a car very dirty. My car was just cleaned in the morning but after a little rain and some sand, this is what it looked like when I was finished work for the day:

Everyone keeps talking about how nice it is that the weather is still cool. It has been around 40 degrees in the afternoon lately but as it isn’t too humid it is bearable although not completely pleasant if it is very sunny. Everyone keeps saying that when summer really comes, which is often by now, I’ll not be able to tolerate walking anywhere. I am a bit skeptical that I won’t be able to walk; sure, I figure it won’t be pleasant but I have trouble seeing how it will actually be impossible. I guess we’ll see.

So why I am even writing about the weather (again!)? Well, because it is really the only thing worth noting right now. Things outside of work have been very boring and work has continued to be stressful.

Maybe I shouldn’t have opened the door?

Posted in abu dhabi, Apartment, Census, Women with tags , , , on May 10, 2010 by Amanda

So I was finishing having a shower and I heard my doorbell ring several times.  Without thinking I put on a towel and answered the door.  The man, an Emirati, looked surprised when I opened the door and stood very far away from me.  It dawned on me then that it is very likely considered to be quite inappropriate in a Muslim country to answer the door wearing just a towel.  Anyway, he was asking questions for the census.  The census seemed to awfully brief although he asked several times if anyone else lived with me; he seemed really surprised that I lived alone.  I know that local women wouldn’t likely live alone but it is certainly not uncommon for a Western woman living here.

As an aside, I am feeling quite a bit better than I did yesterday.