You probably don’t know much about the United Arab Emirates (UAE)? Neither did I before this trip. It’s a young country, formed in 1971 by the federation of seven emirates – Abu Dhabi (which serves as the capital), Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah, and Umm al-Quwain. Of the population of over 9 million nearly 8 million are expatriates, mostly Indians and other Asians who are there building the country’s infrastructure and working in service sectors.
We found this destination when were looking for a holiday on Tenerrife where most of the decent accommodation was expensive. For less money we could spend a week in Dubai in a climate warmer than the Canary Islands and tick off a new geocaching country at the same time!
Arrival in Dubai was at 00:50 local time so by the time we reached the hotel it was closer to 02:30. We had to wait for other passengers who didn’t get their luggage right away or got stuck in the long immigration queues. After a good nights sleep and a leisurely breakfast we started walking from our hotel in the Jumeirah area to the nearest cache. We chose it both for the price and because it was quieter than the down town hotels with their 24/7 traffic outside.
National Day Street should have been an easy find but I couldn’t see the cache anywhere so we walked on to Jumeirah Mosque where we found Eat Pray Love, which although it was at the right spot didn’t match the cache description at all. From here we took a taxi to the Dubai Mall, which is probably the worlds largest mall and after spending a few Dirhams on coffee went over to Burj Khalifa, the worlds tallest building. The whole country is built on superlatives. At Burj Khalifa, I was able to log an earthcache Build Your House on the Rock.
Jumeirah mosque with geocache in foreground
Some of many high rise buildings in Dubai – note the sand everywhere
ds8300 at Burj Kahlifa – the worlds tallest building at 818 meters
Another superlative is the worlds only “seven star” hotel where the room rate starts at 61,000 AED/night – roughly 150,000 SEK/night or 16,600 USD/night. We heard that a cocktail costs 27,321 AED – roughly 61,100 SEK or 7,400 USD. There are 27 floors to the hotel and it’s height is 321 meters hence the pricing of the drink.
Hotel Al Arab – “seven stars”
As I don’t like to stay in just one place we took a tour to the eastern coast of the UAE passing through the town of Masafi and the Hajar Mountains on the way. The trip passed through the emirates of Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah, and Umm al-Quwain. As we were on a tour bus we couldn’t steer where we went but on the route along the coast between Dibba Al Fujairah and Fujairah we stopped at Al Badiyah to look at the country’s oldest mosque and luckily there was a cache nearby that I could grab in the ten minutes that we stopped there. Historical Bidiyah Mosque was a traditional cache with a regular size container, which is nice in a world of micros.
Friday market Masafi
Friday market near Masafi – pots and pans
Hajar Mountains eastern UAE
Al Bidayah watch tower above the oldest mosque in the country
Cache found at Al Bidayah on the east coast
Portuguese Fort at Fujairah
Later in the week we revisited National Day Street and found the nano that was hidden at GZ. I should have seen it on our first visit. From there we walked the few hundred meters to a new man made island called Pearl Jumeirah where there is Emirate Flag Pole Series : Dubai but I didn’t find the cache, just a couple of workmen’s helmets and reflective vest plus a load of rubbish. The cache is probably still there but I am not a fan of rummaging around in trash.
The older part of Dubai is centered around the creek so we walked up there from our hotel, a round trip walk of around 8 km. After having visited Dubai museum we took the ferry across Dubai Creek for one Dirham and explored the north side before returning to the south bank where we walked up to Dubai Promenade, which was another nano, but at accurate coords.
Other trips around the city took us to some of the high rise centres of which there are several and on to the metro system to reach an even more exclusive mall where we definitely didn’t buy anything – nor did we go skiing on the indoor ski slope!
Mall of the Emirates
One of many expensive shops
Ski slope at the Mall of the Emirates
Typical attire for the locals
Clementines – 65 SEK/kg or around 3,33 USD/lb
On our last day we took a trip to Abu Dhabi, the sixth of the emirates that we visited during our stay but apart from the usual tourist sights of the world’s third largest mosque – the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, covering 21 hectares and having room for 40,000 worshippers, the Emirates Palace Hotel where just about everything is gold, (it should be as it cost 3 billion USD to build! ) and Ferrari World, we didn’t have any opportunities to look for caches.
Sheik Zayad Mosque – Abu Dhabi – the world’s third largest
Sheikh Zayad Mosque – Abu Dhabi
Emirates Palace Hotel – another seven star hotel
Hotel Emirates Palace lobby
Fountain at Emirates Palace Hotel
Abu Dhabi high rises
Reflections in Abu Dhabi building
We saw wild camels and this one
Ferrari F12 Berlinetta – I prefer red though
So, after a week in the UAE I had logged five cache finds and seen a lot of amazing sights. Would I go back again? Doubtful, but it was still worth the experience.