Saturday, December 21, 2013

Exploring Al Ain

National Day = 4-day weekend!
Having decided to not go do a quick tour of Egypt…
Ethlyn, Kim, and I set out to visit Elise and check out Al Ain for a day

Camels again…
curious and friendly creatures they are!

On to Jahili Park…

and Jahili Fort…

A bit of history from the museum

A typical home in Abu Dhabi

the Corniche in Abu Dhabi

Zayed & Thesiger (and others)

Falconry was Zayed's passion 

There are some beautiful visual patterns at the forts

The walls are mad of rammed earth
They had a whole display and video about the process…it was very interesting! I recalled a time in the 90's when my sister was very interested in this type of construction.

There are two main buildings within the walls - I think the tall round one, which I am pictured on above, was the place for guards and such. The other appeared to be the living quarters (photo below shows the main entrance for this area).

 No idea what it says…I'm guessing some sort of blessing to all who enter

the courtyard in the living quarters

all around the courtyard were covered hallways which connected all of the rooms. I thin the sticks poking out of the walls might have been to hang lanterns on

the well had its own room and had a little daylight coming in from above

 flowers back at the park

There it is!
We finally found the sign for the park…in English…now that we're leaving. Yep, that's Starbucks you see in my hand…some sort of iced slushy coffee yumminess! Fuel for many more stops ahead. Wait! Did they forget an "i" or ?

The Al Ain Oasis

 Hey look! A tree that wants to be climbed  : )

 pretty butterfly…a rare sight in the desert

Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Fort (aka Eastern Fort) and Al Ain National Museum
Being short on time, we didn't go into the fort here but instead took time to explore the museum

Old Qurans

Camel bones were once used as a practice writing surface for students
They wrote with a charcoal-based ink which could be easily washed of for re-use


kitchen tools

watering the desert since the iron age (1000 BC)

Images of Abu Dhabi - 1960's

Men at a water pipe terminal outside of Abu Dhabi with palace in the background
1964 - the water came from Al Ain (over 150 km away)

Souq in Abu Dhabi - 1962

men praying

Grinding beans for Arabic coffee - 1962

School in Abu Dhabi - 1966 (the year I was born)

a village in Liwa district (in the Western Region)

Camels in Liwa - 1962


A man selling daggers in the Global Village in Dubai told Kim and me that the longer, less curved dagger is a "judgement dagger" and was only carried by a person who acted as a judge. 
Makes you wonder…

a bird from the bustard family
I believe it is one of the favored prey for falconry

Burial Sites

a model of a typical tomb

an indoor Bedouin tent at the museum

On we go to Jebel Hafeet...
Al Ain's mountainous playground

Did I mention it's National Day weekend? 
People around here like to "dress up" their cars for this event…even work trucks!

 Haha! This guy gave us the "peace" sign as we drove by, taking his picture!

 National Day = BIG flags anywhere & everywhere!

Many families having picnics, playing, relaxing, 
and enjoying the mild winter temperatures around 80 degrees Fahrenheit (26 C) 

BIG flag

 Hey look, a kangaroo! I'm pretty sure it wants some company!

Did I mention that people like to decorate their cars for National Day?

...particularly with UAE flag colors and their beloved sheikhs!

...and anything that glitters, especially gold!

 Mmmm…nice warm water from the natural hot spring! 
It flows through a shallow open canal that people can enjoy throughout the park.

The women's swimming pool, also fed by the hot spring

 Pool rules - # 4 could be interpreted in various ways…are we talking bikini or "berkini"?

 Ethlyn & Kim

After exploring the park, we wandered over to the area of festivities. We found…

camel rides

cane dancing

a guy with a falcon

Not sure why I got so lucky, but of all the people standing around him, 
he handed the falcon over to me!

 After letting me hold it for a bit, he started letting the kids have a try at it. Even the smallest children who were interested got to put their hand in the sleeve while he helped to hold it up.

After their dancing, the men sat down for a rest in the setting sun, 

and we headed up the mountain for the evening views
Elise - Angie - Ethlyn - Kim

 view of the road snaking up from Al Ain

 The family in the background is having a nice little mountainside picnic. 
They even brought a full-on teeter totter for the kids!

 I think this is looking out towards Oman

a mountain-top palace with a decent view

a closer look at the palace front eh other side

 the road lights looked like a lit-up ski run

night view of Al Ain

 Yummy! Grilled hamour (white fish)

Full day and full bellies…time to head back to Abu Dhabi!

Fence near Hili border crossing - separates UAE and Oman 
This is just across the street from the Hili Complex where Elise lives.
It has over 100 apartment buildings - several apartments within each.

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