To RAK & back

Published: January 5th 2014
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Being 'winter' in the UAE, it is a good chance to plan a few weekends away to actually be outside and go to the beach!

Yes, we can still wear our summer clothes... my year round summer dress & sandals ensemble, just , which one today?.... But it is cool enough to need a jacket or light top for the evenings... when it can get down to, oh, 18 degrees and around 25 to 27 degrees during the day.... These kind of temperatures in this part of the world will see people reaching for their winter jeans, boots, jackets & scalves!

For us it is the best time to get away and spend as much time outdoors as possible. At this time of year, we can get away to Ras Al Khaimah, better known as RAK, for a quick escape, about a 1.5hr drive north from Dubai.

Visiting one of the resorts, we can comfortably sit outside for breakfast... make it from the car to the reception without breaking in to an exhausted sweat from the overpowering heat... It almost feels 'normal'... we have more energy, we can make choices, shall we go here or there, instead of being stuck indoors sheltering from the oppressive heat.

Visiting the beach we can choose to lie on a deckchair for the afternoon, or go for a stroll on the beach, and hey,we can even have lunch at an outdoors beach cafe! I know these all seem like normal everyday things... but I tell you, living in this part of the world where it can be 45-53 degrees everyday for months and feel like you are walking in to a fan forced oven.... for months.... these so called normal everyday things have become special treats we can appreciate for 4 months of the year!

Unfortunately we usually only have time for a quick break away in between work, so we have not had the pleasure of exploring much of what RAK has to offer.. Our visits are often motivated by the need/desire for a restful weekend lying on a sun lounge!

I do find it uncomfortable and it was a shock when I came to RAK for the first time a number of years ago... that , although we have the privileged opportunity to be staying in a nice hotel... the streets we drive through are full of very rundown houses and shops. RAK is one of the older Emirates, and has a longer history... I am saddened to see that much of the city is living in poverty and hardship, which sits alongside expensive hotels . I guess, these conditions exist in all countries, to varying degrees. We are driving through the older parts of town, which are by the sea, where pearl diving was once the main industry... and of course, this is where the hotels are now situated.

I do find lots of character and inspiration in these old shops, colorfully decorated, and seeming to belong to a bygone era. It feels down to earth, humble, dealing with the necessities of life.

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