Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A different Dubai

If you had to ask people to draw a picture of Dubai, most of them will probably visualise one of these two. Most would think of Dubai as a city full of tall skyscrapers, glitzy malls and expensive cars. A few may think of Dubai as a desert full of sand dunes, camels and bedouins smoking sheesha.

The picture above is one that most would not associate with Dubai. I hadn't seen so much of natural greenery in Dubai before so was pleasantly surprised. This was shot in Margham where most of the desert safari companies do the dune bashing. Right across the desert where the 4x4s take on the dunes, is this beautiful patch of greenery. There are several farmhouses here and you can have a fantastic peek into the daily routine of the local farming population.  

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Where is Sammy?

The Atlantis said Thursday that it has released Sammy, the 13 ft whale shark back into the Gulf waters. It says that the whale shark is tagged but did not say when it was released. Read the AP story here

For a hotel that is known to be as media savvy as the Atlantis is, it is kind of strange that there is no evidence of Sammy's release. Not a single burst of fireworks, not a single star in sight, not even local journalists were invited to witness the release. Not even a marine scientist to facilitate the release and witness the event.

Top News has quoted Dr Robert Hueter, Director of the Centre for Shark Research Mote Marine Laboratory as saying that " the shark was in good condition upon release and there was no impact over its growth rate in aquarium"

Sammy had attracted a lot of attention from the local population. Hence to note that the whale was released in such a quiet manner seems very odd. Very fishy. 

May be we are getting a little too nervous without reason. May be The Atlantis will provide more details soon?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Sheikh Zayed Palace Museum 2

The post is a continuation of the last one on Sheikh Zayed Palace Museum in Al Ain. Pictured below is a replica of the Land Rover that the former President used to travel across the emirate to meet with his people. Another interesting picture is the one of the kitchen utensil. The utensils that were used were so huge that a step was included so that the cook could climb up and stir the food!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sheikh Zayed Palace Museum

We drove down to Al Ain over the weekend with no specific plan whatsoever. And what a reward when we finally got there!!

The Sheikh Zayed Palace Museum is a must see if you head down to Al Ain. Built in 1937, the palace was converted into a museum in 2001. The palace provides an interesting peek into the life of the former president, the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan. 

The palace was the Al Ain residence of the ruler from 1937 to 1966 and is comprised of several courtyards. The external areas each house a different type of majlis or meeting room where the Sheikh received local and foreign dignitaries. The inner courtyard contains the main kitchen and the store room.  

An interesting part of the museum is the family tree room which houses portraits of the royal family depicting the lineage. 

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Quad Biking in Dubai

I finally managed to get onto a quad bike after all these years in Dubai. In case you don't know already, quad bikes are all terrain bikes that are used here for riding across the desert. They have now also become part of a standard desert safari and you get to ride one of these after you head back to the campsite.

We spent most of yesterday at the quad bike center along Al Ain Road. This place is about 40 kms as you head past Outlet Mall and easily stands out with it's colorful flags and banners.

There are various sizes of bikes so the entire family can dig into the fun. It can be an absolutely adrenaline pumping drive as you head up and down the dunes in the desert. I strongly suggest that you listen carefully to the instructors advice as you will need to use most of it!!!. Or at least the part about how not to get stuck at the top of the dunes! 

I think Quad bikes are no longer 'street legal' in Dubai though I am not very sure. 


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