United Arab Emirates
Coordinates: 24.455800, 54.672730
Today marks our seventh day in the UAE, and tomorrow night we were scheduled to board a plane back to Kuala Lumpur. Trying hard not to let this dampen our spirits and enjoy today’s planned activities, we headed out to an ADNOC service station here in Abu Dhabi that housed a small eatery simply called “Mamak” for breakfast.
|it was thick with fog this morning|
|Sern cautiously navigating|
|can you believe it?|
|Cat and Brendan rushed in|
|a taste of Malaysia, in the UAE|
Five and a half thousand kilometres away and still, we felt right at home. This restaurant is often frequented by Ginny and Sern whenever they have a hankering for Malaysian food. Apparently the proprietor (an Indian national, we believe) had worked for many years in an Indian Muslim restaurant (Mamak restaurant) before coming over to the UAE to try his luck here.
|visibility was pretty bad|
|armed with provisions, Sern led the way|
After breakfast we resumed our road trip, and Sern drove way below the speed limit due to the thick fog that had developed the night before. At the end of the drive, the UAE’s royal city that is also known as the Garden City beckons.
Located almost two hundred kilometres away Al Ain is the birthplace of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the principal driving force behind the formation of the UAE and its first President.
|our first glimpse of Al Ain|
|the garden city|
It took us approximately two hours to get here despite the thick fog, and the first thing that struck us as we arrived was the lack of traffic lights. In its place was a multitude of roundabouts leading into the city. This signified a marked reduction in traffic, unlike Dubai and Abu Dhabi which lent to the city’s peaceful charms.
|one of the many roundabouts in Al Ain|
|a pit stop at another ADNOC service station|
|first stop: Al Jahili Fort!|
Our first stop was the Al Jahili Fort, built in the 1890s that features landscaped gardens, exhibitions and a bookshop. One exhibition that caught our attention, and consumed quite a considerable amount of time was the Mubarak Bin London Exhibition.
Our next stop was the Al Ain Palace Museum, which the palace was built in 1937 of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
Ginny and Sern then took us to the Al Ain Oasis, just next door to the Al Ain Palace Museum and the UAE's first curated UNESCO World Heritage site.
After a quick lunch at a rustic but authentic Pakistani restaurant where we had some excellent Briyani rice we headed out of the city for a leisurely drive up the peak of Jebel Hafeet (or Mount Hafeet) where we enjoyed what we can only describe as a most enchanting Middle Eastern sunset.
We headed down Mount Hafeet and slept soundly throughout the two hour drive back to Abu Dhabi (thanks Sern!).
Tomorrow will be our last day in the UAE.