Al-Imārāt al-ʿArabiyyah al-Muttaḥidah - United Arab Emirates
See Wikipedia article on the UAE.4/12 The boat arrives a lot later than we were told, but this doesn't matter to us. The formalities take 2 1/2 hours and we discover that vehicles are carried on this ferry as freight, which means a lot of paperwork and expense. There is some confusion among the crew as to where we should go, so we end up not going through immigration with the other passengers. While doing the paperwork we end up walking out of the port without entry stamps. When I ask the very friendly customs staff about where to go for immigration they are very concerned and escort us to the immigration hall. There, we have to undergo an iris scan! With the aid of Lars' GPS we find the flat of Stephan in Sharjah, who very kindly puts us up in his roomy modern flat, with a luxury room each! First impressions: most people speak good English, the place is quite well organised and people are very friendly. Prices are more or less on par with Europe, i.e. very expensive for us.
7/12 We ride into Dubai daily, seeking out the embassies. The UAE cities are very large, modern and busy, with almost permanent traffic jams. The roads are very large, but not large enough for the traffic. I get a visa for Oman, but apparently I could get it at the border, too. For Yemen we don't need visas, they tell us. Lars takes his expensive camera in for repairs. He's dropped it in Iran and the main board is broken. It takes 3 weeks to get parts from Japan, so that's not an option. His bike also has problems. We are hoping that a friend of Stephan's will let us use his backyard to carry out repairs. At the German consulate I apply for an introduction letter for a Pakistani visa. It's expensive and takes a day. One parcel for Lars arrives. It's the important one wth all the sweets. No sign of either parcel for him or me with our spare parts.
When the sands shift the roots can get exposed.
There is some greenery in the desert after the rain and these bushes have flowers.
PC280030 PC280031 Dubai City: glitzy scyscrapers, building cranes and 14 lanes of traffic jam
2/1/2007 We intended to leave after Xmas, but the repair of Lars' camera takes a lot longer than he was first told, so we are still in Sharjah. It should now be ready on the 10th. Since I don't need to be back here before March I'm not worried. Over the Eid/New Year holidays we go with Stephan (in the car) to the Musandam peninsula. The idea is to leave the UAE, as our permits are running out, explore the peninsula, which is an Omani exclave. On our return we get new permits for 30 days. While the UAE is mainly flat (at least the parts we have seen so far), this peninsula is very steep country indeed.
Leaving the UAE takes a long time, as many Indian expats are heading in the same direction as we are, overwhelming the UAE border officials. The Omani side is rather quick. The ride along te coast road to Khasab, the only town in the exclave, is spectacular and a biker's dream. The town itself is rather sleepy. We hire a speedboat for a trip through the scenic fjords.wadi, there are lots of trees and the ground is green and damp. It's the ideal place for a camp, only spoilt by a very strong and gusty wind that starts up in the evening and goes on all night. Dibba. Not being Omanis we won't be allowed to go right through, but we want to go to the top of the pass for the views. However, Lars' bike needs some more attention, so this gets cut short. We make a quick dash back to Sharjah, where Stephan collects his trailer with bike, then we join his friends camping in the desert. To get there we have to ride a couple of km through soft sand and over dunes. Lars drops his heavy bike a few times, so we deflate the tyres which actually makes it quite fun to ride in places.
Oops! I think this translation mistake pretty well expresses how they do things around here...