Day trip to the mountain

Trip Start Jan 10, 2007
Trip End Jul 03, 2007

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Flag of United Arab Emirates  ,
Friday, April 27, 2007

Actually, "day trip" isn't a good word to describe this.  Nor is the word "mountain".  A better way of describing this entry is "morning trip to the jebel".

I and a group of people, who included my roomate and her right-wing boyfriend Nathan, drove out there to Jebel Hafeet (it's like an hour away).  He insisted on renting an SUV, although we didn't do much off road driving.  Mostly we drove through Al Ain's endless system of roundabouts.  There were several other instances of adventure:

First, we began like at seven in the morning, so that nobody slept properly the night before.  It gets hot fast, and be durned if I, or anyone I travel with, is going to be hiking under full sun in the afternoon--so I made them get up at six.

We wanted to go hiking along this trail, but it turns out that trail was in Oman--for a reason that's hard to explain, the UAE guards let us over the border into Oman without giving us an exit visa.  We drove along the border to the next UAE border post, which was where the guards had advised us to go in order to reach the hiking area.  Naturally, the guards at the next post were all confused because we didn't have an exit visa from the first one.  We all got very annoyed at Nathan at that point, and forced him to take us back to the original post before the guard who let us through before went on lunch break and we really did get stuck in no-man's land.  So we didn't go hiking.

That was the first adventure.

We decided to just climb Jebel Hafeet, which is just a really big rock/mountain sitting there for no reason, overlooking the desert.  Have you ever seen the cartoon Rocko's Modern Life?  There is one episode in which Rocko the Wallaby travels to France and meets this beautiful girl.  He chases her all around the city and finally up to the top of the Eiffel Tower.  At the top, Rocko discovers that what's really on top of the Eiffel Tower is...a Chokey Chicken restaurant!  That's probably the best way to describe Jebel Hafeet.  You take a series of tortuous curves up the mountain side, and when you get to the top, you see four things.  First, you see the Sheikh of Abu Dhabi's mountainside palace.  Then you see a large platform to park your car on, a gold-tipped fence, and...a crappy chain restaurant.

Nothing else.  A platform surrounded by a fence with a fast food joint in one corner.  It all leads me to wonder--was this an achievement?

You do, however, get a nice view of the desert...or you would have, anyway, if the air wasn't so hazy.  As it is, you can see that the desert stretches forever, and Al Ain is just one little patch of green in that sea of terrifying nothingness. 

Here are my crappy little digital photos of that event:
Rocks and Desert:


Here is a picture of them standing in front of the "Chokey Chicken"; picture taken by Liz "the third wheel".

Sheikh's palace:

We all headed back to Dubai after that...I was begging my compatriots to head out to the rock pools at Hatta, or the coral reefs at Fujaira...but they were too "tired".  I said, I've been getting 4-5 hours of sleep for the past month, and no weekends.  What's the issue?!  But the vote was three to one, and I lost, so the "day" trip ends here.
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