An Early Return


I buy snacks at the mini market inside Al Massa Hotel at 9am, climb into a Mitsubishi outside that was unlocked, then get in mine and get on the road. The Palace Museum doesn’t open till 3pm, but I’m there at 10am anyway. I try finding an Oasis (there are some listed on the UNESCO site) and end up trespassing on one to see what it’s about — a paved path (foot or water) through palm trees. I think I find a Heritage Village, but it’s just a sheesha bar next to some forts.


I drive as far up Jebel Hafeet “empty mountain” Road, built in 1980, as the military outpost, hotel, and palace will allow. The road is built with an 8% incline to get you 3,900 feet closer to the top with 60 curves cutting through the rocks; making this stretch of pavement great for cyclists training, especially for the competition in January. I take in the views as the bends and mountain allow — a car missing its front axle, an Arabic message in stones, and civilization living in the distance, in case the mountain collapses.



Jebel Hafeet


I drive towards Dubai at 11:30am and Global Village doesn’t open till 4pm but doesn’t even look ‘open’ yet. Dubai land’s office looks cool, but I don’t know where the rest of it is. The Miracle Garden I wanted to see is closed and I don’t feel like seeing butterflies at 1:30 in this heat. I drive to Burj al-Arab Jumeirah and attempt to make a reservation for the afternoon tea, then cancel it. I’ll sit in the car for an hour at Fairmont trying to find something to do with the evening at 4pm, but nothing is panning out as they all need to be reserved in advance. I call the airport and drive there to finalize my early departure. 


I will be leaving 21 hours earlier than planned. I turn in the rental car, with 815 miles added, and am back to the airline gate by 6:30pm. I walk two laps after perusing the duty-free while I eat a cone from McD’s. I land and Caleb has offered to take Manal and Wasan home (not sure from where). We go to Manal’s in Isa Town and she’ll take Wasan from there. I’m grateful because it’s already 9:30pm and Wasan lives at the other end of the island. I’m ready for sleep and will unpack a bit while Caleb makes cheese-tomato tortillas (aka quesadillas). We eat one and then go to bed. 


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