Friday and Saturday 10th 11th of October Oh Great Weekend! I started the enjoyment and extension of my concept on life at the Outdoor expo at the exhibition centre on Friday. Everything that is outdoors and dear to the heart of an emirate man. Hunting, fishing, camping, motor vehicles, shooting, horses, camels and falconry. There were heaps of Emirate men who brought their own birds to the show and parked them as the above pair of the falcon stalls.
To go with the falcons and the large number of organisations that breed and sold them there was a whole gun section of the top manufacturers in the world. To get to that area we had to go through metal detectors on the way in and on the way out and it was guns for Africa (literally) There were large groups of people from different African countries (and NZ) offering the opportunity to shoot animals. Guaranteed prices for different species and different sizes
There was a host of camping equipment that was needed for every desert camping trip. I did not bother yo photograph but I had to have a photo of the latest in desert portable gas BBQ's. The photo above shows stacks of them waiting for new owners and ready for some heavy duty work in the field.
The Arabian horses on show were an incredibly interesting animal show. To me watching it was more akin to a beauty show than a show of animal prowess. There were people with plastic bags all around the arena with plastic bags on sticks shaking them and making them generate noise to startle the animals. I can't for the life of me see any reason to make a horse prance and jump around except to show the 'correct' lines and angles of the animals. The trainers with the animals were something else again. They ran and pranced as much as any of the horses and the contortions they put their bodies into left no doubt as to what team they were batting for. (Mincing comes to mind)
There was also a section that was dedicated to the old crafts of the desert and the lady below was using the tradition grind stone to create a meal for the cooking of these little pancake type things. You could then have them smothered in honey or other sweet things. You'll note the face covering (Sharla) that the majority of the local women wear. You are not to look upon the face of another man's wife. Its just not done so the women whenever they are in public cover themselves.
Saturday saw me targeting the Souks (Markets) for a visit. I spent quite a bit of time in the fish souk (I'll be back there when I'm in an apartment and have to cook for myself) Over 100 different fishermen selling their wares and all ready to bargain with you for what you are after. Kingfish, Shark, King Prawns,Harmot, Jesh, Tuna, and a host of others I have no idea about. Fantastic place.
The guys doing the gutting and filleting where all dressed in red overalls and were down one end of the hall. Just about everyone of them wanted to pose for me and were real showmen with what they were doing.
There were also some incredible model boats that I would just love to bring home but would never get through customs. The picture below is one that I fell in love with and will see whether I've got enough space to fit it into my luggage.
I went to the carpet souk on the way home and it was everything that I had heard about souk. People trying to grab you (Literally not figuratively) and take you into their shop for a bargain that I could just not miss out on. I'm only going back there if I want to buy one. Wednesday the 8th of October
Another day in Al Ain and this morning it was a 6.00am departure. (Red eye pphh) Today was my first day driving and even though I say so myself I was pretty good at staying on the right side of the road. I didn't even look the wrong way on the round abouts. Speaking of round abouts Al Ain has got the whole concept down and organised. Every place in the world should do round abouts like Al Ain. Why? Well every round about in the city has a different feature on the middle of it. So when you give instructions to anyone you don't worry about road names or other types of landmarks you do the following;
Go to the Flamingo round about and turn left. Go straight through the three castles and turn right at the glasshouse. Turn left again at the rock and turn right at the pot .... You name it they've got it. Great big three lane round abouts and great flash as features in the middle of each. and I'm talking about big round abouts and features. The emirates also know how to drive round abouts and there are four basic rules as I can work them out.
Rule 1: Ye who hesitates is lost.
Rule 2: The right hand lane turns right immediately
Rule 3: The middle lane goes straight through
Rule 4: The left hand lane turns left
If you don't follow these very basic rules then the afore mentioned beep policy/rule applies (repeatedly)
(I'd have taken photo's except I was driving)
The houses in Al Ain. Nothing over two levels and lots of green October Tuesday the 7th
We left at 7.00am on our 2 hour drive into central UAE up to Al Ain. Its an Oasis town that has grown up from its initial existance as a summer retreat for the Sheik's family.It gets hotter there in the summer but its a heat without the humidity and so a lot easier to handle. Today it was a gentle 38 degrees and I found it quite pleasant. Above is a shot of some of the desert that you drive through on the way there. The greenery in the foreground of the shot varies from that to trees to palms and is continuous all of the way on a two hour drive. 190km of irrigation down both sides and the centre of the 3 lane highway. 15 years ago it was a dirt track. Have a look at some of these shots of the desert. The colour hasn't portrayed itself that well in the photos but it gets to be a deeper red the closer you get to AL AIn. As you go past Al Ain further inland it gets richer and richer in colour.
Street lights all the way. Sunday 5th of October I wonder how long it will take for me to get used to Sunday being the first day of the working week. You live all your life with a concept of Monday to Friday and then change to Sunday to Thursday. I must admit to it keeping me a little off balance. I didn't think that I would have any issue with it at all but I have to confess that I'm struggling with it and the whole way I approach the week..
Today's blog and I suspect each of the work day blogs are going to be quite short. There is even the potential that on Tuesday I'm off to Al Ain so I may not even blog at all that day (Ugh!) (For all those cheering, a little politeness please)
Anywho, Hi to all, the temperature drops each day and I'm feeling more and more at home. Saturday the 4th of October Aagh! The bloggers nightmare a day without a lot to write about. So this account will be quite short.
Pedestrians. They are an endangered species. In NZ you step onto a pedestrian crossing and drivers are watching for you and normally they pull up and stop. You watch but you're normally pretty safe.
Here you step off a path anywhere and you are taking your life into your hands. Drivers are not looking for you or expecting to stop on a crossing point. Even when you cross on the green walking light at intersections you keep your wits about you and don't dawdle. The papers have lots of articles around the dangers of crossings roads and the heavy fines they have introduced for J walkers. There were 116 pedestrians killed last year 67 of those on pedestrian crossings, the balance of that count was killed crossing highways. The moral watch the entire time and don't expect anyone to stop for you and don't cross anywhere except controlled points.
See you tomorrow