Friday, November 19, 2010

Nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky (Kansas)

Our first week in Al Ain has seen us doing the touristy bit with visits to the local zoo and the nearby mountain, called Jebel Hafeet. We've sussed out the shops and got ourselves lost many times but somehow found our way about. Luckily Ande left us her car for the week and that was a great help. We've managed to organise our own car now, a little Nissan Tiida hatchback, that looks hilarious next to the local all terrain vehicles.

We've also bought a few things - a DVD player is a key one and timely given that I found season 8 of 24 in a little store selling mainly Arabic tapes, VHS movies and what looks like movies on CDs. Weird, but 24 was the real deal. Needless to say we spent yesterday gorging ourselves on it and we're already 6 episodes in. And it's brilliant!! So far the best season of all.

Sportwise I have access to about 10 channels of football - Champions league, Premier League and from elsewhere. I watched a limp England team lose to France during the week and today Arsenal take on Spurs at the Emirates at a great time for me - 4.45 in the afternoon!

Anyway, back to the zoo and Jebel Hafeet. Here are the photos:

First up is this wolfus scratch-a-lotis. We watched him for a good five minutes as he tried to attend to an itch of mega proportions.

The mountain in the background is Jebel Hafeet and believe me it's taller than it looks! This exhibit was a favourite as the rhinos and Giraffes and gazelles had a huge shared area to live in.

The whole zoo was set out well and all of the enclosures were clean, had shade and water and the animals were well looked after. A major contrast to the zoo in Doha which was none of those things.

It being the Middle East though, even the zoo is undergoing change and had the requisite cranes of a human kind sharing with the other sort.

Our trip up the mountain was also eventful. I underestimated the amount of petrol it would take us to get up and back. Mainly because the mountain is very deceptive. It doesn't look that big until you drive up it in steep winding curves (although the English warning sign says: Beware - Wind Road). So it took us two attempts but oh man (sorry - couldn't resist) - it was worth it.

The views across to Oman (first shot below) and over Al Ain (behind Jacky) are fantastic.

On the top are two complexes - one is the Mecure Hotel and the other is one of the Sheikh's many palaces. This is what you see below. Staggering views and a sheer drop are its two immediate features.

We stayed until the sunset settled in (quite early - about 5.30pm) and Jacky took these shots as we drove down the hill back into Al Ain.

Love and peace - Wozza

1 comment:

dawn marie giegerich said...

Kansas has definitely written the loneliest-sounding song ever. Always makes me shiver . . . well, like dust in the wind. We don't want to be reminded of mortality and all that drudgery.