Up early as we were told to be ready between 8 – 8.30am, we were waiting, but as usual they did not arrive until 9am. We were in a Land cruiser! and sadly others had booked the best seats, so I was right in the back! either Geoff in front of me, we were sharing the trip with Russians who did not wish to be friendly! or speak to us! except to say hello and goodbye!
We drove for miles, stopping on route for coffee at a seedy looking place, in the middle of nowhere, I chose water, back in the car, onto another market place which was selling carpets and pots, I fancied one of the clay pots, but as it was three foot high, not sure how I would get it home, then onto Hatta, the landscape has changed now, we are going through the dessert, then we can see mountains in the distance, it makes a change to see trees growing naturally! We passed camels roaming, donkeys and sheep.
We left Dubai, and entered Oman passing through the checkpoints, and back again, before we finally arrived in Hatta. First stop was an old restored village, which had all the normal things, that you see in a heritage village, having already been to one in Bahrain, and Dubai we strolled around, and up to the top of a fort, which had a good views of the valley below. It was fascinating seeing how the buildings were made years ago, and the heavy use of the palm trees in their construction. Dates were and still are very important out here, as they used to be the staple diet, and are still relied on very heavily today, making honey, milk and many other things.
We then drove up into the mountains of Hatta, where we found a huge reservoir with a dam, set into the mountains, it was very peaceful there, but the water seemed very low! Not sure it would ever get as high as the dam, and need the overflow, but guess they would know best!
Now onto the bit we had been waiting for, driving through Waddies, and the off road experience, which was advertised as being exhilarating! We drove for a few minutes, through a waddy! basically a puddle! then round a sharp bend! down a hill, and then stopped. We walked through and over the next waddy, where the Russians decided to have a swim we could not be bothered! as there was not that much water! and it was cold. It was interesting seeing how the water had moulded the rocks, they were very smooth, in places.
Back into the car, and we were hoping for more of the off-road experience, but sadly that was it, so we had driven for five hours basically to do ten minutes off roading, I think that could be classed as a CON!!!! We were both very disappointed.
On the way back, I took a photo of the police at the border, suddenly we were being chased by an Arab, who made us go back to the checkpoint, a nasty officer came out carrying an AK45 and started questioning the driver, apparently we were not allowed to take photos! Still it made the trip a bit more exciting!
Tired, hungry, and fed up, we decided to go to buffet lunch at the hotel, which turned out to be very nice, mainly curries, but it was good tasting the different dishes.
After lunch we went for a swim in the Hotels heated pool, which was lovely, very refreshing, then back to room, for a shower before going out.
We walked to the metro, and headed for the Dubai Mall, we have to get our tickets for the morning, and as it is an early start we wanted to see where and how we get there, good job we did, as it took us ages, for a start you have to walk a good mile from the metro to the Mall, it is all covered, with walking escalators, but it went on and on. We have to allow 1 hour from leaving the hotel to get to the At the Top, desk, there are lifts, but these go into shops, which would not be open at 8am! So we had to plan a route via escalators, we have to negotiate four floors, with escalators in different parts of the building. Having worked it out, we then went outside to watch the fountains.
Every half an hour the fountains play, to different tunes, they are amazing, we came in on the Three tenors! they then played some Irish music, and the last was Japanese, the fountains have been choreographed to play to the music, they were amazing.
Time to go home, my feet are killing me, as I have done all this walking in high heels, so back along the Mall, up four flights, along to the Metro and a slow walk home, absolutely shattered, the evening had made up for the morning trip!