Tuesday, October 20, 2009

So much for the camels

Well. Back from a weekend in Al Ain, a border oasis town in the eastern part of the Abu Dhabi Emirate.

It's a sleepy place. Literally, for us, because we slept away most of Sunday, and figuratively, for the people who live there, because it's a bit of a hamlet. Sure, there is traffic and lots of places to go shop, but it's tiny and not very vertical.

That makes it a little embarrassing that we didn't find the camel market. We had two conflicting sets of directions, followed the most up-to-date set and wound up at an Omani border checkpoint. We did see some camels grazing and sleeping by the side of the road at one point, but it wasn't the same as getting to smell them up close. Oh, well.

The highlight of the trip for me was our trek--and by trek I mean "drive"--up the mountain outside of town. There is a resort at the top, but the really interesting part was the drive and the view from the summit. You can see forever up there. And the rocks are jagged, poking up from the sand like the teeth of some long-dead desert monster. The result is that when the sun sets, sinking into an orangish haze, it's a bit like being on another planet.

And as we headed back down into the city, watching the sun set, it reminded me that this kind of thing is why we're here.

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