Archive for the ‘Hatta’ Category

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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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Welcome to Hatta, finally

December 25, 2008

Our first stop in Hatta was Hill Park. The main feature and attraction of this park is just that, the hill.
One climbs up the hill…

At the top is this tower providing a marvelous 360 degree view of the area.
Above is the top of the tower, below is the view out the door of the tower.


At intervals up the path there are BBQ areas. These are rectangular walled areas with seating and a roof where families can picnic. You can see one in the bottom center of the picture above.
Above is a new construction of some sort. Possibly a shopping center or office building.




Next stop was the Fort Hotel. This is a posh hotel, but we just stopped in for a late lunch.
Below are bouganvilla. They are common, but usually small and straggly, unless they get a great deal of TLC due to the harsh climate. I took this picture for you, Mimi.


And here is the camel ride. We did not spend the Dhs 20 each to ride the camel. I’m not sure how exciting riding a camel around the parking lot of a hotel would have been. We were still suffering from the effects of our Germany illness, so were not up to this. I think I prefer to do the camel ride in a little bit more authentic setting.

We did not make it to the fort itself, which is the other main attraction in Hatta. As I said, still not feeling 100% well, so called it a day and drove back to Dubai. We’ll do the fort another day.

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Continuing on the Road to Hatta

December 23, 2008

Some of you may be able to remember the good ol’ days when Uncle Joe and Aunt Flo would come to visit and show the family the slides from their last vacation or, worse yet, the 8mm film made with a hand held camera and a total lack of cinematic technique. It seems to me that this blog is kinda like that, except that you aren’t a captive audience and you shouldn’t be getting motion sickness since I don’t have a 8mm hand held camera. So, here’s the next installation of slides from our long vacation.
Above shows how the sand builds up against the cement dividers in the center of the road.
There were a few little towns or wide spots in the road along the way. These five pictures are of one such wide spot where there was a long line of carpet/pottery shops.
This is typical construction, even in the city, where there is a long cement building with small shops side by side. It is not unusual for shops to be all the same product. This comes out of the souk tradition, where a market area specializes in a particular ware — the gold souk, the spice souk, the textile souk, the electronics souk, etc. This single building arrangement is like a strip mall, but the shops are smaller and the strip is longer.



Above is a tire shop. I have yet to see a tire shop with a big show room to display their wares. They are usually small hole in the wall shops. This one has the luxury of space to actually install the tires.
Above is the “supermarket” and a cafeteria. They seem to like the word cafeteria here and use it a lot. A supermarket is usually a tiny shop about the size of a one car garage. So, the big markets are called “hypermarket.” Also, notice that all the vehicles above are SUV or truck. We are definitely out of the city.
Above are three shops. The two on the sides that have two windows are unusually large. Most shops are like the one in the middle – about the size of one car garage.

So, we still haven’t gotten to Hatta, but hang in there. The next post. I promise!

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Trip to Hatta

December 22, 2008

Friday afternoon we drove to Hatta which is SE of Dubai about a one hour drive. I have 12 of these “road stretching in front of us” pictures and I will be good an not post them all here.
Before leaving Dubai, we passed this train station construction that is part of the metro light rail. I think this may be the first/last stop on this route.
We also passed the sewage trucks waiting in line to get to the sewage treatment station. (mentioned in “Lack of Infrastructure” entry in October)

As you can see it is a long line. The drivers complain that the wait can be eight hours long, which leads some of them to illegally dump elsewhere. There are stiff penalties for that, but it will probably continue to be a problem until the number of treatment facilities catch up to the supply.
Also, before leaving Dubai, we gassed up. We have yet to see a gas station with more than one pump per island. They don’t seem to know that they could be pumping into two cars at once. You might be pleased to know that gas prices here are about the same that you are paying (in Oregon). Although, the price seems to be at a fixed rate and never fluctuates, so they don’t bother to put up signs advertising the price. No competition.

I have oodles of dune pictures, too, but will only present my best so as not to bore you. The dunes stretch into the distance as far as we could see and the further you get from Dubai the redder the sand becomes. It was also still damp in places due to our recent rain.
As we were driving out, we could see quite a few people camping in the desert with their SUVs and tents. On the way back, there were exponentially more people camping and driving ATVs on the dunes. This is what the locals do for fun on the weekends during the winter.
You might have to enlarge the picture below to see all the SUVs and people on the ridge of this dune.
The young men were speeding around on their ATVs with few helmets to be seen.

The border between the UAE and Oman is not straight. The countries are like two puzzle pieces that snap together, so to get to Hatta which is in the UAE you have to drive through a “knob” of Oman. They don’t bother with border crossings and passports, etc., because after a few miles, if that much, you are right back over the border again.
As we got closer to Oman and Hatta, we began to see hills which became more and more impressive.
Some of the hills, like those in the picture below, show a strange erosion pattern. There are indentations that seem to have eroded from below. Not sure what causes that, not being a geologist.
So, at this point I will take a break and give you a break. We haven’t actually gotten to Hatta, so consider this a teaser for the next post.

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Find the camel

December 19, 2008

We drove from Dubai to Hatta today. Here are two pictures with one camel each. Can you find the camel?