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Fujairah Food and History Tour

May 31, 2014

Posted by Kanga. Please do not reblog.

First a word of explanation, at the end of July our residency in the United Arab Emirates will come to an end. We are moving to Shanghai, China. A new job and a new cultural adventure await us. This is why the blog posts have been few and far between lately. First I was spending a lot of time job hunting and now we are spending a lot of time with the paperwork and errands involved in extracting ourselves from one country and moving into another. It is time consuming.

We are also having as many farewell get togethers as we can. Today was  number three, a Fujairah food and history tour.

cone shaped crisp flat bread

We began with breakfast at Saffron, a vegetarian Indian restaurant at the Perfume Roundabout. This is ghee roast dosa. We also had idly, vada, poori baji, and tea. Well, some of us had tea. Those who arrived late were shocked to hear the waiter say that they were out of tea. What Indian restaurant runs out of tea?

a restored 300 year old fort

Next was a quick stop at Fujairah Fort. The high temperature today was 99F/38C, so it was a bit unpleasant to be getting out of the car.

mountains in the distance, flat desert area in the foreground, two people walking

We drove up Wadi Mahdab to see a couple of archeological sites – copper smelting area and old irrigation trough. Again, it was blazing hot, so we didn’t dilly dally.

goats nibbling on a tree

We then drove to Gizemri and Wadi Sahm to take brief looks at various archeological sites and goats.

table filled with dishes of food

Lunch at Oriental Restaurant, in which we stuffed ourselves with wonderful food.

empty plate

Easy come, easy go.

two bulls butting heads

We finished with the bull butting competition.

A lovely day with good food and good friends.

To see all the pictures, click here.

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Marine Fossils in the Desert

May 23, 2014

Posted by Kanga. Please do not reblog.

fossilized shell cross section that looks like a target

Back in March, we went on a field trip organized by the local Emirates Natural History Group. The destination was referred to a Gastropod Gulch and has also been called Donkey Fox Wadi. I don’t think either of these appellations are official or will help anyone find it on a map. It is not too far from Hatta and requires passing through an Omani border.

hand holding a large shell fossil

The ground is littered with marine fossils. If you climb up the hill a bit and go around a corner, you will be rewarded with an amazing sight. There is a thick layer (about a meter thick) of fossilized sea shells from the Cretaceous age.

layer of fossilized shells approximately a meter thick

Next to my foot is a mussel shell, approximately women’s size 10.

human foot next to a muscle shell fossil the same size

I’m including this picture just because I really like it.

weathered rock formation

To see all the photos, click here.

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Wadi Safad

May 9, 2014

Posted by Kanga. Please do not reblog.

green hill with archeological ruins

This is an archeological site in Wadi Safad. There was a small fort at the top of the hill, houses on the sides of the hill, and a mosque at the lower left. The two standing walls are a newer structure, probably a tobacco drying shed. Notice how green the hill is. This photo was taken in February and proof of how wet this winter was.

buried pipeline and warning sign

Not only does the road cut through this archeological site, but right up against the base of the hill is the oil pipeline that runs from Abu Dhabi to the Fujairah port.

close up of fort ruins at top of the hill

Close up of the fort at the top. For more information, read An archaeological and architectural evaluation of a fort in the Wadi Safad, Emirate of Fujairah and A Preliminary Survey of the Archaeology of Wadi Safad, Fujairah, UAE.

feral donkey

A donkey wondered along while we were there.

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Old Esfai

May 3, 2014

Posted by Kanga Please do not reblog.

On our way home from Dubai one day while it was still light out (which is rare for us), we took the Esfai turn off to see what there is to see.

light colored feral donkey

Feral donkeys are common in the mountains and usually travel in multiples of two. This one is unusually pale in color and seems to have a foal in the oven, so to speak.

dark brown feral donkey

I assume her traveling companion is the sire. They have had a bounteous year with the winter rains resulting in more grasses and bushes to eat.

ruins of a stone house

We briefly explored the remains of the old village. There are newer modern houses further up the valley, but these are more interesting to us. Many of the structures had double rock walls – large rocks on the outsides of the wall with gravel filling the gap between. Very strong, I should think.

rock wall made of two rows of large stones with smaller stones filling the gap between

Here’s a closer view, although the filler rocks in this one are larger than gravel.

large green bush

This bush is proof of the wet winter. It is about a meter high.

stone house ruins in the foreground, hills in the background

For all the pictures, click here.

If it seems odd to you that this would be in Ras Al Khaimah, that is because the emirates are not necessarily contiguous. RAK is actually in two large, but separate areas. This map shows the layout of the emirates fairly well. We drive through Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, and Sharjah to get to Dubai.

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Prague – Last Day Scramble

April 10, 2014

Posted by Kanga. Please do not reblog.

Vltava River through Prague, several bridges

We traveled on many trams today. We walked a long way today. We did many things. We saw many sights. We are tired. I think I may just crawl onto the airplane tomorrow and pass out, if it weren’t for the discomfort of economy class.

We took trams to the base of the hill on which the Vysehrad Park is and walked up the hill. We walked all around the park and took many, many photos. We then walked down the hill and took a tram again. DaddyBird had scoped out a particular pub he wanted to have lunch in, but it was either closed or located deep in the basement. We couldn’t figure it out, so went to the Indian (Native American, that is) themed Baretta Pizza place instead. The whole place was decorated in wild west artifacts and pictures. The food was very good. We recommend.

Then we got on another tram and went closer to the center of town to a bookstore where DaddyBird hoped to find an English translation of a particular Czech book. No dice. Before the end of the day we went to two more bookstores and finally found it at the last one.

Then we went to a touristy trap pub. It is known for it’s surly staff, bad food, but good beer. It is all true. Then, back on a tram to Wenceslas Square to finish our souvenir buying and have a fried cheese sandwich. And, finally, onto another tram to go home to the apartment and collapse.

To see it all, click here.

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Prague in Miniature

April 10, 2014

Posted by Kanga. Please do not reblog.

We hopped on the tram and traveled across the river to the Holešovice part of town to the market that is held in the old central slaughterhouse. We roamed around a bit.

two statues one of a woman with a bull and one of a man with a bull

These statues at the entrance were the first clue that this used to be either a cattle market or slaughterhouse. This shot doesn’t show them very well. One is a woman with a huge bull and the other is a man with another huge bull.

large warehouse room full of booths selling vegetables and fruit

DaddyBird was looking for the vegetable market. We found it by watching for people with vegetables and backtracking where they were coming from. We didn’t buy any veggies or fruits since it is late in our time here and won’t be doing much cooking for ourselves, but we did buy a few seed packets for growing herbs in our apartment.

Then it was back onto public transport. This time the metro subway train to the neighborhood of the Prague City Museum. But, first, lunch.

quaint restaurant

Just up the street from the museum is the Pivovarsky Klub which boasts the biggest beer menu. It also has very good food and a great atmosphere. An introvert’s dream.

yellow stone three story building

We were running short on time, but we did a quick tour of the museum to see the Langweil Model of Prague. The staff didn’t speak much English, but they were eager to help. We started with watching the short 3D movie of the model. This is cool because it takes you closer to the model than you will be able to get when looking at the original. The original model is on the top floor of the building along with a nice collection of artifacts nicely displayed. Well worth a visit – a longer visit than we managed.

large model of the city of Prague made out of cardboard

This is the model. It was made by Mr. Antonin Langweil as his hobby. (I would like to point out that he was a librarian in his day job.) It is quite amazing.

As usual, to see all the pictures of the day, click here.

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Prague – Music, Books, Food

April 9, 2014

Posted by Kanga. Please do not reblog.

We headed up to the castle hill for a second day. DaddyBird stopped into a music shop to get a couple of Zelenka albums.

rows of compact discs in a music store

As we came out, we noticed that it had clouded up and was raining. There was much rejoicing.

quaint restaurant

We stopped in for lunch at a quaint restaurant.

cobblestone lane

We wandered on down the hill to the castle. We toured the Story of Prague museum display at the castle, but photography was forbidden.

view of rooftops from castle hill

This is what Prague looks like on a mildly rainy day.

tree lined path in a park

Back down the hill, we found another neighborhood park by wandering through a doorway.

bookstore

We stopped in at Shakespeare and Sons bookshop because Daddybird wanted to pick up a few Czech authors in translation.

graffiti on an archway showing a sheep's head

Graffiti is rampant as you may have noticed in some of my pictures, but it is mostly tagging and not artistic. It seems strange in a city so filled with art that the graffiti wouldn’t be artistic, too.

arched wooden door

I took several door pictures.

stein of extremely dark Budweiser beer

We stopped for dinner at a restaurant that was established in 1466. We had REAL Budweiser beer and a lovely meat filled meal.

To see all the pictures, click here.

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