Saturday, 15 March 2008

road to Fujairah

We jumped in the car with the duo (T & C) yesterday without any particular plans. The car took us to Fujairah where we visited an old fort. The drive off the main road and up to the fort was a bit hair-raising given that it was a narrow road with lots of blind corners and we were armed with the knowledge that others are quite happy to do 140 kms on roads like this based on the assumption that there couldn't possibly be other cars around. We managed to get to the fort and back without mishap. The road took us past a new village that noticeably had one mansion and lots of dorm-like housing for workers. We continued along the road to the fort and ducked around the back where we were greeted with stunning scenery. There's a wadi rich with plant life and a hillside opposite dotted with caves.

Furjairah itself was interesting to see. There's a really weird seaside picnic area with multiple drive-in booths with individual shelters for cars alongside seating for 8 - 10 people. It was a little reminiscent of drive-in movie theatres back home. The place had a forlorn feeling of a bygone era. It looked like it would have been a happening thing in 1963. Other parts of the town were quite modern with high-rise buildings and international hotels.

On the trip home we headed back on a new road that is totally unsigned. It runs from Kalba through to Al Madam. It's a regular freeway with two lanes in either direction and is fully paved; an easy drive. There are a couple of tunnels along the way and some wonderful mountain views. Parts of the road have attractive fencing and footpaths which is quite strange given that it's apparently in the middle of nowhere.
There are a couple of government buildings and some very swish looking housing dotted here and there, but otherwise nothing.

One thing noticeable on other roads on the route was the free roaming camels. There were many on the sides of the roads. Two steps to the side and the'd be right in front of the car. From what I can gather this used to be quite common all over the Emirates, but it is unusual now. Rumour has it that if you hit a camel, you are liable to pay the owner the price of the beast. Rumour also had it that this was a bit of a racket in the past when unscrupulous owners would lead their old or sick camels onto the road and wait.

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