Published: December 15th 2006December 1st 2006
Finally a break in my schedule and I am off to explore the big wide world again. This time to Jebel Hafeet, a 4000 foot mountain in Al Ain bordering Oman. The road was desribed as the greatest driving road in the world and I went to see if thats true!! I tied up all the loose strings at work and made some calls to mates who were interested in tagging along. But I realized my friends are all chickens down here. They keep talking about how they love to travel, camp, hike and make a fire and blah, blah, blah but when the real deal comes up its too cold or too late in the night or too long a stay!!! Travelling should be a full time hobby just like drugs or motocross. U gotta live the life of a traveller. So I left the wannabes alone and headed out alone into the dusk.
Packed up my esentials and drove out at 9.30pm on thursday and after a couple of stop overs at some rundown fuel stations I reached the top of the mountain at 12am. On my way up I did see other people in rest areas which
reassured me that I was not the only one crazy enough to climb a mountain in the middle of the night. It was a huge white lime stone laid out in the middle of the world's largest sand desert. Looked like a cherry on top of a white birthday cake's icing. With nothing much to do I went off to sleep and I realized that the new corolla is way too small for me to sleep in. I cursed myself for not bringing along a sleeping mat and a bag. It was so freakin cold I had to wear the balaclava all the way down to my neck!! Trust me it was chattering cold.
4.30 am and I woke up to the most beautiful sunrise in my whole life. It was amazing. A single streak of light coming down from a bunch of clouds. I got a pic dont worry, but it was great to be there witnessing it. And I had it all for myself! I pushed off to this resuarant called 'Top Of Jebel Hafeet' which infact is half way up , bought a coffee and some breakfast. Once done I started climbing the baby, which wasn't
all that hard but the air was a little thin and made breathing a little hard. Two hours later I was jumping a fence to get to the other inaccesible areas of the mountain which was strictly forbidden :) I spotted a wild mountain cat in that area. It was more like it spotted me, thinking I was dinner it kept following me everywhere. Bit unnerving but after some time it gave up and disspeared into the rocks. Phew!!
At the very top there is this particular spot where you can see the entire empty quarter spread out like a carpet infront of you and as the clouds pass you can see the shadows shifting on the sands. What a sight. Almost made me think I was watching The Beach, only no waters. Coudn't take my eyes off the place for almost an hour. Kept thinking about the dynamics of life and all that shyte. But it was still cold and I had other places to see. So on my way down I took an alternative way back and followed a dry wadi. You will be surprised how many different animals live in the desert, I saw a whole
bunch of them. Lizards, birds, bugs, snakes, scorpions and the occasional cat. Climbing down was a wee bit harder coz of all the loose rocks and slipping foot holds.
Back at the car park I loaded my stuff in the car and went to the hot water springs - Green Muzzafara, to take a dip. Now I did not think it was appropriate to take a camera out and clicking pictures of half naked arabs, so sorry no pics. The place was quite good though. The water straight out of springs will defnitely scald your skin so the government people arranged a pool like which allows the water to get a bit cold for swimming and soaking up. All the usual bull was given anyways- that the water is healing and blessed, will cure diseases and on and on.
Next up was a Archeological museum. With all the fossils lying around I though it would be something of a mini jurrasic park but it was total waste of time. Turns out they made it for families to make barbecues and not for fossils. Some mounds of sand were named ancient sites and fenced off very well. The rest
The Empty Quarter
How can anyone take a look at this and not change for life??
is all grass and water ponds. Well it costed me only a buck to get in so no fret. I socailized with some Austrian tourists who were promised heaven and earth by their travel agent and were terribly dissapointed. Too freakin bad innit? Day was coming to and end so I wished them luck in Hajar mountains, their next destination, and off I went to home.
Well that weekend went well, lets see what we can do for the next one.
There are more photos below