Monday, 15 November 2010

Jebel Hafeet

 This week is a Muslim holiday in which the public sector takes the entire week off and some parts of the private sector take a few days off. My company has decided that we shall work on Sunday and Thursday but have the middle 3 days of the week off. Since the loggers on the well that I have been waiting on have bridged off, I won't have to look at any data from this region for a few days... that means that we took the opportunity to make the best of it. Today we drove to Al Ain in the emirate of Abu Dhabi to drive up Jebel Hafeet, one of the tallest mountains in the UAE. At a staggering 1240 m, the climb is 12 km long... and paved nearly the entire way.

We started off a little concerned as we left Dubai this morning because we have never seen dark clouds looming overhead. As it turns out, you can get some pretty impressive rain storms here.

As a side note: How not to move your furniture in the UAE. Although, I can imagine it's a very cost-effective way to move within Dubai as I think convincing your buddies to help you move in the summer would be nearly impossible.

As you can see, we're approaching the mountain off in the distance.  The vegetation even began to change toward the base and we saw a lot more greenery than we have been used to.

Despite the fact that the mountain is only about the same altitude as Calgary, when you start at sea level and approach an isolated mountain, it looks pretty impressive. Yes, that is a hotel on the left and someone's personal residence (a palace) on the right.

The drive is said to be one of the most impressive in the UAE. The 12 km road has 21 corners and all of them are pretty tight. Just one switchback after another all the way up. Definitely would have been great to have access to the road while it is completely empty.  It also would have been nice to try it in a car other than our rented Nissan Tiida (Versa)... definitely not built for accelerating up a hill while hugging tight corners.

 Good job Dear, now that you have fallen asleep I will finish the post, we have more planned for Wednesday and I don't want to get behind, love your wonderful wife...

Less talking about work and cars, more pictures! Love you.

 The climb began smoothly, slight ooohhing and aaahhing from mom and dad, Emilee joined in when she realized we were at the 'moutain' we had been talking about all day, Anna was asleep.

Road signs here can leave us scratching our head but we think we knew what these meant. Do you?  Oo, a fun game, now I will search for the craziest ones and see who gets them right - like we know, I'll ask if I have too, to be sure.

Calgary is said to have two seasons, winter and road construction. Hope that is not the same here - that would mean only one season.

The holiday made the volume of travelers slightly higher than a normal Monday, perhaps, but we didn't find the winding turns that bad at all.



So we are about half way up, km 5 or so and the view is getting a bit dramatic, that is a long way down. With our ears popping and Anna now awake we decide to focus on the scenery and not the height. 

Just about to the top and the hotel and the palace come into view. I just about missed the hotel, caught just the tip as we went around another corner. I am not sure I could sleep in that house, perched up on top like that, crazy.

Well, we made it to the top. First priority find the potty. It wasn't the nicest, or the cleanest but we came prepared and made it work. More men than women and so we had to wait for dad, doesn't happen that often - we kept ourselves amused. It was only 1dhs, they rode it twice.

Time to look around, its a huge parking lot. Plenty of people and cars, we saw an impromptu cricket game, soccer or football depending who you are, there was a girl on a scooter that caught Anna's eye and a remote controlled car causing a little havoc. We even managed to find a fellow Canadian, the only person we spoke with even, she was from Vancouver. It was fun and worth the drive.

We walked to the UAE side to take a few pictures. Anna is getting better with her understanding of geography, "not quite Dubai babe, but close."

Here they are with Al Ain and Dubai and the Arabian gulf in there somewhere, it was cloudy - dang rain.

You might have to look closely, there is a path or trail, not a road and absolutely no safety anything but people duck through a gap in the gate and climb all the way to the top, above the cafeteria. No thank you.

Another walk across the parking lot and we are looking into Oman. No going there quite yet, dad is here on his employment visa and can't leave until he gets his residence permit, is anyone else sick of hearing me talk about this dang RP. Anyways, that was our day. The sun was setting and our camera batteries dying as we made all those corners down - Emi is getting so big. While eating chips said 'my tummy hurts' we thought it was too many chips but apparently she could resume eating after we made it to the bottom. It was fun. We will have to return to Al Ain to visit the Zoo and the green Mubazzarah park, they look like fun too. Hope everyone in Calgary stays warm and safe as the winter weather begins. Big hugs and lots of love ~the Andersons.

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