I’m sitting here regretting not taking notes first thing after the pool. I sat here hungry for three hours being somewhat productive. I set this morning’s alarm for 6:15 but sleep in and shower – it’s 7:40a… and I thought I wrote a note about the bat in the pool. It’s no wonder blogging takes me so long as I have to go through notes, photos, and texts to remember all the details.
I checked out and didn’t realize they’d kept my passport last night. I drove to Palma, UAQ – the bowling and resort side of the peninsula and didn’t find coffee, but a nice view. I stopped in a market on the way to the cemetery, with a huge wall around it and a security gate, to get some biscuits, date milk, apple fruitz, and a large water – that I didn’t finish today. I tried driving along the coast, but Waze Navigation just wouldn’t let me.
I set my next goal for the Ras Al Khaimah National Museum and though most of the doors were locked I found plenty to see inside. I’m surprised I’m not sick from the temperature difference of going in and out of these museums. I stopped at the Corniche before leaving that tip of land – and it’s nice. There’s a special path, a mangrove full of birds, Umm Al Quwain across the water, and a Costa Coffee where I get an iced mocha and cheese-tomato croissant. I wasn’t going to eat any just yet – until she warmed it.
Next was Dhayah Fort, or so I thought, and that I’d be there by 1pm. I made it to Shimal Settlement and passed the turn for Jebel Jais Mountain (tallest in UAE), and returned with some guy following me for 15 km before my stop-and-go annoyed him enough to leave. There’s too many goats and mountains, etc., for me not to photograph them all. The drive is beautiful, even if it’s supposed to be done around sunrise or sunset.
I’m glad I didn’t though because those crazy turns (that I drove straight through on the way down) would’ve taken a lot longer. I was passed by four cars with Go Pros on and they stopped to take pictures of their cars with the hoods and suicide doors, on one, open. I used the toilet at the ‘top’ (couldn’t actually go because it’s now a blasting area) and was surprised that only in the Middle East will you always find a flush toilet. I’m grateful for the lack of port-a-potties.
I come down at 3:30p and head to Dibba, which will take me an hour, and stop at a Co-Op to pee. The only thing I have written down for here is to snorkel (because it’s the Indian Ocean/Gulf of Oman), but I can’t find the ocean. I do find their canal pretty though and think about stopping for food. I decide to eat more biscuits on the way to Al Bidya Mosque, knowing I can get there before sunset at 6:40. I arrive with half an hour of daylight left and climb over the short fence to get my hijab out of the car so I can see inside the mosque.
I do a crap wrap job and it’s off my head as I walk out, but I wrap it around my neck to save time as I climb the stairs to the towers. Not much of a view at the top of them though as the walls are high. I spot a stack of something in the distance and a trail leading to it. I jump the short stone wall and I’m on my way. If I thought I was sweaty on the way there, it seems to be worse on the return – I’m dripping and feel like I’m slipping in my shoes. The view is fantastic.
I take some pictures with a family in the parking lot, so one of the guys (that had been sitting on the curb the whole time) came over and asked for a picture. I was already in the A/C of the car and wasn’t getting out, so I just smiled. I drove into Al Aqah looking for a hotel while I waited for Le Meridien’s website to load, Booking.com to find something in Khorfakkan, and Waze to find the hotel.
I’m glad I decided on Oceanic in Khorfakkan as the base price was 225 dirham cheaper, and I wasn’t expecting 20% tourist tax, making my tiny room 450Dhs ($122) for the night – Meridien was 600Dhs starting. My room comes with breakfast at 6:30 and beach/pool access, which I take advantage of. I check out the room, get my bag, change into a swimsuit and am poolside 40 minutes later, but go out to the beach to escape the kids.
I take off my shoes and jump in the surf for a swim from the steps to the rocks, using the work light from the men adding tiles on the wall as my guide. The coral underfoot is beautiful and I look forward to another swim in the morning and possibly a snorkel adventure. I go upstairs, detour to the gym in my suit for a look (not bad), before a shower and putting my sweaty clothes back on for dinner at 8:30. I have three plates of veggies and two plates of cakes, with half a glass of water.
I head to the room to relax, and realize I forgot my phone cord in the car – back down I go – and somehow an hour has already passed. I think I’ll do tomorrow’s planning after sunrise and before snorkeling while I eat breakfast.