Posts Tagged ‘United Arab Emirates’


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.


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.


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.


Al Bidyah Forts

March 15, 2014

Posted by Kanga. Please do not reblog.

stone ruins

We returned to the Bidyah area to take a look at what remains of a Portuguese fort. In the background is a roof structure which protects a much older fort that we visited previously.

stone ruins

The Portuguese fort dates from the 16th Century.

stone ruins

If you are wondering where this fort is, it is in Al Bidyah behind the Ice Palace.

three story building with ice palace restaurant

More information here and here


Mall Decor

January 14, 2014

Posted by Kanga. Please do not reblog.

holiday castle mall display

I think the Al Ain Mall may have won the holiday decorating competition.

Snow White and Seven Dwarves in front of a fantasy castle


Biker’s Cafe

January 13, 2014

Posted by Kanga. Please do not reblog.

Biker's Cafe restaurant sign

Recently, the Biker’s Cafe opened a branch in the Fujairah International Marine Club compound. They serve breakfast until 3 pm, so we dropped in Saturday “morning.” (It was nearer to 1 pm, but it’s all relative on Saturdays).

In America, the word “biker” has a very definite and complex connotation. Something like this:


By Visitor7 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

So we laugh a little bit when we hear “biker’s cafe,” because none of the patrons look like this, except maybe DaddyBird. The Vespa on display outside the door of the cafe implies that Mods are welcome, too.

black vespa on display

I ordered English breakfast. The eggs were bland, as were the beans. It was nothing to get too excited about.

scrambled eggs, potato patties, link sausage, fried tomato, beans, toast, beef bacon

DaddyBird ordered the “omelette” which turned out to be layers (in a clay pot) of bread, fried eggs, beef pepperoni, tomatoes, bell peppers, and cheese. Nothing like the expectations the word “omelette” inspires. “Style above substance,” he says.

clay pot containing layered bread, fried eggs, tomatoes, bell peppers, pepperoni, cheese

We’ll probably go back and try something else on the menu. Maybe that crab and avocado item I noticed after I had already ordered.


Drive to Al Ain Zoo

January 12, 2014

Posted by Kanga. Please do not reblog.

Our road trip to the Al Ain Zoo started with a camel in the road in the Maleha area.

two SUVs stopped for a blonde camel in the road

He was honked off the road and sauntered off to find a tasty bush.

blonde camel on side of the road

Then on to the Al Ain Zoo. We arrived just as everyone else was leaving. The zoo is open until 8 pm, but the sun goes down around 6:45 pm these days. We had about an hour of light left. Hyenas are scary in the daylight and even worse in the dark.


The zoo is quite nice and has good exhibit facilities.

oryx and gazelles

Above are oryx and gazelles. These are native animals. The oryx was hunted to the edge of extinction, but breeding programs are bringing them back.

white tiger

Unless you like massive crowds of people, it would be best to go late in the day, like we did, or on a week day not during school breaks, although you might still have to deal with school field trip students. In other words, prepare for a crowd experience.