February 22, 2010

Onward across the Desert

Since my last post, I’ve been to Al Ain, an oasis in the desert outside Abu Dhabi. This is not a lagoon with a single palm tree such as I remember seeing in old movies. Al Ain is a proper city now, although at one time it was a large green area in the desert. The home of King Zayed, the founder of the United Arab Emirates, has been renovated and is open to the public. I’ll try to send pictures later, but that may not happen until I’m home because of various problems with computer hookups. The home, or palace, is a series of courtyards enclosed by buildings for visitors, the king and his wives and their children. The walls are sand colored (or coloured as they spell here) and must have blended beautifully with the surrounding desert at one time. Now the complex is surrounded by commercial and residential buildings, so the effect is not at as stunning as it once was.

On our way back to Abu Dhabi we found the camel market in a nest of livestock pens. Several emirates stood around, apparently eager to sell us a camel. We were the only “customers” in sight, so when we pulled alongside a pen, two men came to see if we would like a camel. I snapped a quick photo, we smiled pleasantly, and took off.

Yesterday we went in search of the beach, hoping to enjoy a swim on a warm, sunny day. We thought we made clear to the cab driver that we wanted a swimming beach, but he dropped us off at the part under construction. We turned right, thinking we’d hit the beach, but all we hit was a two hour walk along the Corniche, a beautifully designed walkway along the bay. At least it was a beautiful day, but we were dragging by the time we gave up and took a cab back to G&K’s apartment. This cabbie told us as soon as we got in his cab that he was new, which resulted in all the cab’s occupants riding around Abu Dhabi in fairly total ignorance.

Last night we had dinner with some of Gerry’s friends (Brits and Scots) from the newspaper with a plan to go on to a Brit pub for the weekly trivia quiz, but we gathered too late and instead spent the evening laughing and sharing stories. Just as well because I doubt we would have won the quiz.

This morning we toured the newspaper offices with Gerry and got to see him in action with one of the reporters he works with, deciding to go with 700 words for a story in tomorrow’s edition and then a much longer article the following day. He’s obviously enjoying his work as an assigning editor and we’re happy for him.

More about Dubai later.

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