Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Northern Emirates, Musandam (Oman), and...Dibba?!

After a week of exploring Dubai and witnessing the rapid development and wealth that has transformed Dubai in the last several years, Isa decided that we needed to see what the UAE was like as a whole, and get a glimpse of countries next to the UAE; to this end, Isa engineered an adventure - a road trip that would take us through the northern emirates of Sharjah, Ajman, Umm al-Quwain, and Ras al-Khaimah, as well as Musandam, which is part of the Sultanate of Oman.

Beginning in Dubai and heading north through Sharjah and onto the northern emirates, the scenery changed very quickly from skyscrapers to more modest buildings and housing complexes that reflect the economic realities of the UAE. Traveling through the northern emirates augmented what we have been learning in class in regards to not only the economic disparities that exist between the emirates, but also the interlinked history of the UAE - Dubai does not, and never has existed in a vacuum.

As we continued to move northward towards Musandam, one of the most remarkable observations that we all had was how rapidly the scenery began to change. From desert and semi-arid land, we progressed towards a more rocky terrain that eventually gave way to full-fledged mountains; entering Musandam was like entering another world. The mountains that had started in the UAE rose higher still and became cliffs, brushing right up against the sea and creating some truly spectacular scenery.

By the time we had left the coast behind, we had decided that we were going to push through the inner mountains of Musandam and aim for Dibba on the opposite coast of Musandam, before eventually heading down to the emirate of Fujairah. However, there was one little problem...there isn't a finished road from northern Musandam to the opposite coast. Naturally, such a fearless leader as Isa Blumi was not to be deterred by such a small inconvenience - after all, we were in a Toyota minivan, what could go wrong? As it turns out, Toyota minivans are not very adept at going up mountains on unfinished roads; instead, as we discovered, they prefer to slide backwards towards the edge of massive cliffs; sadly, our fearless leader decided that this was the end of the road (literally!), and we headed back to Dubai once Isa managed to reverse down the cliff while making sure not to back off the mountain. Well done Isa, well done.




9 comments:

  1. All part of the adventure...I had full control of the vehicle at all times...but just in case, I ordered the students to abandon ship as the white beast slid precariously down the mountain track. The above photo is really misleading as the track was rather steep...I am flashing a victory sign as my backward slide had more or less become an orderly retreat. I think the students will agree that Musandam was pretty magical.

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