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Dubai desert on the way to Oman

Looks a bit like a painting, doesn’t it? I took the photo several years ago on one of my favorite trips with My Darling Husband. In a long career in helicopter flight and marketing, he spent many years traveling Africa, the Middle East and Europe for his company. During our marriage, I was able to travel to some of his haunts on occasion. I don’t know why, exactly, but I’ve been thinking about those wonderful adventures lately. When I asked KR and SA which one they’d like me to write about today, they picked the trip to the UAE (Dubai and Abu Dhabi) and Oman. Because…

A small book spoiler coming your way!! Eden’s Fall, which we still plan to launch this summer, features one of these locales.

We started in Dubai, the most populous city in the UAE. The UAE is a fairly young federation of seven emirates, established in 1970 and comprised of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Ajman, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm al-Quwain. Each emirate is governed by an absolute monarch from which one is chosen as President. It’s located on the southeast end of the Arabian Peninsula on the Persian Gulf. Saudi Arabia sits to the west, Oman to the south. The UAE holds the seventh largest oil reserves in the world. (Source: Wikipedia)

I’ve traveled to some exotic places in my day — Indonesia, China to name a couple you may have heard of (just kidding) — but Dubai is fascinating to me in its duality. Dhows float at docks adjacent to sparkling, towering sky scrapers that defy the laws of physics.

dhow
noun
  1. a lateen-rigged ship with one or two masts, used in the Indian Ocean.

Clockwise from top right: quaint skyline of Dubai from late 1990s (dhow in the foreground); Burj Al Arab hotel; Food and Spice Souk

Contrast that skyline with the present day!

While Keith was working or traveling throughout the region, I spent some days exploring — visiting historic sites, shopping, and people watching in the hotel lobby where all manner of business takes place.

My favorite shopping of all…the GOLD SOUK!!!

Spice souk. The smells!

There was a day trip with Keith and a colleague into Abu Dhabi, the capital and second-most populous city of the UAE. It also contrasts with Dubai in that many women in Abu Dhabi wore traditional Muslim dress — the hijab¹ and abaya². (I rarely saw women in this traditional dress in Dubai.) The trip from Dubai to Abu Dhabi and back flew by — almost literally. The speed limit, if you can call it that, on that road was 160 km/hr for cars back in the day we were there. It’s now been reduced to 140 km/hr.

The road from Dubai to Abu Dhabi. Note the trees and greenery planted along the shoulders, beyond the row of greenery is complete desert.

Without a doubt, the most breathtaking sight was the Dubai desert (pictured top) on the road between Dubai and Oman. (Google images of this desert, if you want to see some really incredible photos.) I was lucky to travel over a couple of days with Keith and a colleague to Muscat, the capital of Oman and seat of the monarchy. It was too short to really see and experience this beautiful country, and I would love to return if I had more time.

The Sultunate of Oman is located on the southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula and holds a strategic position at the mouth of the Persian Gulf. Oman is an absolute monarchy. The Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said has been the hereditary ruler of Oman since 1970 — the longest serving current monarch in the Middle East and sixth longest reigning monarch in the world. (Source: Wikipedia)

As you enter Oman, these are a few of the fascinating sights:

Sultan Qaboos welcomes you to his amazing country

Clockwise from the top: the Sultan’s palace, the view from our hotel and Fort Al Jalali

So much has changed in the intervening years. While I have some unexplored parts of the world on my bucket list, this experience was one of my favorites, and I would love to return one day. Meanwhile, old photos evoke the smells, the heat, the vistas…and the camels. Speaking of smells.

On the return trip from Oman to Dubai, our driver pulled over so I could get some photos. These are not, however, anything like the racing camels we saw heading to the track in Dubai.

Am I turning into one of those old ladies that just wants to regale people with stories of the past??? Who knows. In any case, thank you for indulging my trip down one of my memory lanes. Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

¹Hijab — a square or rectangular piece of fabric which is folded, placed over the head and fastened under the chin as a head scarf. (Source: ThoughtCo)

²Abaya — a cloak for women that is worn over other clothing when in public. The abaya is usually made of black synthetic fiber, sometimes decorated with colored embroidery or sequins. The abaya may be worn from the top of the head to the ground or over the shoulders. It is usually fastened so that it is closed. (Source: ThoughtCo)

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