Market day in Al Ain

Trip Start Nov 30, 2007
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Trip End Jan 17, 2008


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Flag of United Arab Emirates  ,
Monday, December 10, 2007

I'm writing this quick entry in a shady square next to the coffee pot roundabout in Al Ain. Al Ain has approximately a million roundabouts, and many of them are themed. For some reason.

Anyways, Al Ain is a mid-sized city located in the mountains adjacent to Oman, and it's a little more Omani than the rest of the UAE. I'm not sure what that means; they do wear slightly different head coverings, I guess.

Anyways, there have been three stops on the agenda ths morning; sadly, the museums here are closed on Mondays. If only I'd, you know, read my guide book a little closer.

Anyways, the first was a visit to the camel souk. Yes, the market for camels. I didn't see a lot of trading, so much as standing or sitting around and discussing... camels, I suppose. Before I even put my vehicle in park, I was being grabbed by a guy who wanted to lead me around with my camera. I did, which was sort of dumb, since he was a classic tourist trapper. I wound up paying him too much for some badly taken photos of me with camels, but in the end, I made him and his possee work when I got my car stuck in the sand and they gave it a push.

Back to the market; as a new-found camel enthusiast, it was astounding; all sorts of camels (okay, only Arabian one-humpers, but all sizes and colours), mostly hanging around in some sketchy pens. The camels took a liking to me, and attempted to eat my sleeves, mostly. I do have dozens of close-ups of camel noses, though. At one point, their breath was fogging my lens. What can I say? I'm a total tourist, but I went to a camel souk, so there.

After that was the livestock market. It was a little more happening than the camel marketplace, and had mostly goats, with sheep and cattle on the side. (I think the business was in part because of the approaching Eid -- It's good to have a fatted goat or sheep). There were people haggling over goats, grabbing them and carrying them out of their pens, a real, well, rancher's market, I guess. Goatherd's market? Anyways, it was pretty cool, especially the people transporting their livestock in totally inappropriate vehicles; people selling goats out of the trunks of cars and the like.

The third stop was the oasis; this is an oasis town, and the oasis was dense, lush, beautiful. Filled with date palms, and irrigated through channels, it was a refreshiing stop.

On to Sharjah, which is my last stop here in the UAE -- I fly for Muscat tomorrow morning.
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