Monday, March 17, 2014

Pictures and stories from the UAE/Oman holiday road trip...

Road trips...some people love them, some people hate them.  I am of the former attitude.  I love Love LOVE a good road trip.  There is nothing like jumping in the car with a small suitcase/bag, blanket, pillow, various types of shoes, binoculars, cameras, phone charger and miscellaneous snacks and hitting the open road.  Now - in America - you have 3.97 million square miles to cover with no border crossings or police checkpoints (unless you live near the border with Mexico), which makes road tripping relatively stress free.  The same can be said for going on a road trip here...however there are a few additional steps you need to take into consideration.  Here, you don't travel state to state, you travel country to country which has its own set of challenges, such as obtaining the proper/additional car insurance and making sure you have enough cash to pay fees at the border crossing stations.  Nonetheless, we set out on the the 2013 road trip to explore northern UAE and some of Oman.

These are pictures taken in little villages Umm al Quwain and Al Rafaah.  The gates and doors in the majority of the little villages and towns we went through were so amazing.  Bright, colorful and ornate in either the woodwork or metal smithing.  Some of the doors were simply the nicest thing on the entire dwelling.  

Ignore the red arrow in the above map...I took it off of another website because it was the best map I could find to illustrate where we went.  Anyway.  We left Abu Dhabi and headed up the coast of the UAE past Dubai, past Umm al Quwain and up to the tip of Oman near Mussanden.  In doing this we managed to drive through all 7 of the Emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates; Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah, and Umm al Quwain.  We saw the Straits of Hormuz - completely stunning and when you think of the historical significance of it - it kind of made you sick.  Truly - thinking that fairly thin, peaceful piece of water was the center of such turmoil.  Then we were forced to turn around at a police check point because our rental car was just that...a CAR and in order to cross over the mountains like we wanted, we had to have an SUV.  The policemen literally laughed at us when we pointed to the road we wanted to go on.  The guy doubled over...stood back up and said, " car [wagging his finger].  SUV only [puts his hand up in a 70 degree angle] very steep mountain, no car, no car."  So, we turned around and headed back in to Ras al-Khaimah, stayed the night in a hotel and then headed across Oman on an actual paved road to Al Fujairah.  From there we continued down the coast of Oman in to Muscat where we stayed for 2 nights/3 days, then down to Sur; cut across o Nizwa, Ibri and back to the UAE/Oman border at Al Ain.  It was an amazing road trip and the scenery was out of this world.  We saw wild camels, old buildings, spectacular mountains jutting out of the ground, met amazing people - I wish I would have gotten a picture with this little group of kiddos that came running out of their house in one of the villages we visited.  They were so cute!  Once we finished exploring the ruins in that town, we saw a family member giving one of the kids what I could only imagine was a shower...from the garden hose.  It was so adorable :)  

Here are a few more pics from the trip.
Muscat, Oman

The Presidential Palace in Muscat, Oman...and yes, I'm giving up the Oregon "O" in front of the palace gates :)
Overlooking Muscat

The Royal Opera House

Gold jewelry from the gold souq

Gorgeous sunsets...


1 comment:

Julie Gillison said...

Lara! Your journey looks incredible! I'm so fascinated.