TravellingMarc

Friday, October 27, 2006

Camping

OK... We have finished the Holy month of Ramadan. With the shortened school day, you think it's easy living, but it's not. Since Muslims are suppose to fast from sun-up to sun-down, it's illegal to eat or drink I public (removing temptation.) Its hard on the older kids, and adults who are expected to fast. Virtually nothing gets done during Ramadan. The day is compressed, so it's high paced, and energy draining. Our school was ordered by the Ministry to re-segregate classes, and abandon the coed system we had just adopted. It was frustrating. Thank goodness it's over. And to help ease our suffering, Ramadan is followed by Eid, a nice little holiday (1 week for schools and many offices.)
Many people take advantage of Eid and go travelling. I planned to stay because a friend was suppose to visit me from Korea. Unfortunately, Eunji couldn't make it, and I was left with no plans, which was basically pretty good.
What did I do... well I relaxed. Went for a picnic in town. Went camping to 3 days. Even went skinny-dipping in Oman. (And updated my blog...lol)
Eleven of us, in three vehicles, ventured to Hatta, which is part of the UAE which borders and crosses into Oman. It's a mountainous area that has little rivers, watis (naturally vegetated areas, unlike Oases which grow up around springs) and pools.
We camped for one night near one of the Hatta Pools. We did a little exploring, a little drinking, and a lot of lounging in the water. It was relaxing.



At night, because Eid is a celebration, people were setting off fireworks, and shooting pistols (not to comforting.) The most spectacular fireworks were the shooting stars that we falling all night. There is no light pollution in Hatta, and the sky as crystal clear. The sight of the cosmos made the trip worth it on it's own.
Most of us were up fairly early in the morning. It was amazing how long the days lasted. It was nice and cool, so we decided to walk down to the pool. Well, lot's of people had the same idea, so we opted to go to our more secluded, small pool. We decided it was too hot to stay there and to really explore the area and thought how nice it would be to take a shower, so we'd moved on the the beach, which was a few hour drive away.

The beach we went to was on the East coast of the UAE, near Fugirah. With no facilities on the public beach, we opted to spend the remainder of the day at a hotel beach, use the facilities, and then camp on the public beach next door. The little hotel was about 50 Dhr. each to go to ($15) but to go to the Le Meridian on the other side, would have been 300 Dhr (about $75). So we didn't use a 5 star resort, we had it as our backdrop the whole night. We also had firework shows, stunt drivers (not really, just people getting their cars/SUVs stuck in the soft sand) and the ocean to sit and watch. The wind died just before bed time, so the sleep was again, not very comfortable. Still to early in the year for camping I was told... uhmm yup. We weren't that comfortable in Fugirah. We woke up to a car full of drunk teenagers getting stuck 5 meters where we were camping. Some of us decided to get going. We rode the highways back. It hadn't been a bad day, just not as good as the first. Happy to be home, I relaxed the rest of the day away.
I'm hoping to go back to Hatta on my bike when it's a little cooler, and explore the heritage village, a few more of the pools, a waterfall and a few other sights It's quite something.

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