I read in a brochure about the Ras Al Khor Nature Sanctuary where you could see large flocks of Flamingos, we found the place on the map but that was the only place. One of the crew working at breakfast was exceptionally helpful and explained how to get there by public transport but I’d already asked the concierge about it and he was very keen to get us a taxi, After our last experience with the condescending VIP one (Black car, all black clothes including cap and tie – she matched the car to a “T”) we were a little reluctant but the concierge was convincing. He called up a cab and we got in then the concierge and the driver made every attempt to find out how to get to the sanctuary. The concierge managed to get a phone number for the driver so we set off, the driver with the phone number on a piece of paper clamped between his teeth. He tried to contact someone at the sanctuary but they weren’t answering. While driving he was also typing info into his GPS, then talking to someone else on the phone, presumably HQ, about the sanctuary. W-I-L no, no, L, L for Lima, D , no D for Dad, no, D, yes, yes, yes D for Dubai, F, no F for father. Eventually we decided it just wasn’t working out so we thanked the driver, gave him some dirham and got out.
We went to the Spice Souk, the Gold Souk and then the Fish Market where we were offered whole, big Tuna and Yellow Fin rather than Pashminas and copy watches. I needed a rest then because it was hot walking so we went to our favourite eating place, The Bayt Al Wakeel, where I had another fruit and icecream dish while Alex had a “Hangover Cure”, a delicious drink made from pulped fesh fruit. We walked back to the hotel through the backstreets avoiding as many “nice moustache” traders as possible and calling in at a very convenient little store on the way. We bought some flatbread and a bottle of juice to have in our room. Not a wildlife sanctuary but a cool, peaceful one.
Our flight leaves at 2:05am!
The Fish Market
Not fishing, meditating maybe
The Fresh Food Market
In the Spice Souk
No Farmers Union here
Old Timey Rules
The Gold Souk
Alex tried for a catch but the hit went wild!
Not sure about the cultural significance of hair dyed orange.
Fish chopped to order
We were very lucky and Alex managed to get us better plane seats but I think we’re just not good travellers so we arrived feeling exhausted. If we come back to Dubai again we won’t allow the airport staff to choose our taxi for us, again we were directed to a VIP “taxi” which is annoying when we’d be perfectly happy in a normal one instead of paying the extra for a flash black car.
This time we’re staying in the Carlton Towers Hotel and we dropped on the bed and slept for about 2 hours as soon as we got into our room.
For lunch we went back to a restaurant which sits over the creek, it was very busy, mostly tourists with just a few locals. A beautiful lady came around trying to convince people to have henna tattoos, she had sheets of designs but no one took her up on it.
Alex felt hounded again going through the souk but there was no other way to get from the water taxi to the restaurant – and back. The vendors were calling out to, “moustache” again and Alex wished he’d shaved before leaving Glasgow, he thought they remembered him but I think they’re just skilled salesmen saying anything to get you to focus on them.
All around us are so many wonderful sights but I decided this time I’d focus on the human faces of Dubai but there is a snag. My camera battery is only lasting for about 10 shots from a “full charge”, I’ll post this now while I have a connection but will try to add some photos later tonight.
OK, here is what I managed to snap today. I like to capture people just being themselves.
Faces of Dubai
Well, the holiday is nearly over, we said our goodbyes 😦 and set off down the road. As we drove through Drumochter Pass we were both remembering the journey in the winter of 2010 when we stayed in the wake of a big lorry which was creating a break in the driving snow. Frozen waterfalls lined the road. Today it was dry and sunny as we came through. Our first stop was Pitlochry, a lovely old town made even better by the locals’ conversations going on around us in the Heelin’ Cafe.
Driving down the main north/south road was very different from our journey north just a few weeks ago when we took the scenic route. We stopped to see, “The Kelpies” at Grangemouth which is a very industrial city but resurrecting some areas for relaxed recreation. The park area is near the Forth and Clyde Canal with nice walking tracks around some wetlands. After seeing The Kelpies we went on to try and find the “Falkirk Wheel”, unlike our last foray this time we were lucky and no roads blocked our way. We arrived in time to get on a boat which goes up on the amazing structure, the only one of its kind in the world. You’ll be able to find all the information about it via Mr Google, this tablet won’t let me create a link. I now know what it feels like to be in an Infinity Pool though this one was larger than most!
Great cafe, Pitlochry
This is the gatehouse not even the castle. Check out the turrets, little girl.
Pitlochry, main street
The Kelpies, Grangemouth
Opening the lock???? Grangemouth
Falkirk Wheel from ground level.
Falkirk Wheel – on the way up
Moving towards the tunnel after being lifted.
Moving back towards the Falkirk Wheel
Near the edge of “the infinity pool”.
A canal boat which has been lifted by the Falkirk Wheel.
I’m having big trouble getting online to post!!!!