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January 31st, 2011 | Asia

Back to Dubai…

The morning after the rain...

High rise hotels are fast becoming a reality in Fujairah, changing the skyline forever...

Another gray day dawned over Fujairah…

The Big Fella stood in a pool of water that was draining very slowly into an adjoining section of the walkway where he had been parked…

It had rained on and off during the night, the rain beating an irregular tattoo on the corrugated iron roof above me…

I awoke with a dry throat and blocked sinuses which foretold that a bout of unwelcome flu was on its way…!!

Out came the vitamins, the charcoal tablets and anything else I thought would stave off illness of any kind…!!

I swallowed the small pile of multi-coloured tablets in my hand, and ordered my body to make immediate use of them…!!

This was the very first time I could remember feeling “under the weather” since I started out on my ride around the world…

Enough with the rain...!! Any more of this and I'll be sick as a parrot...!!

On the main road outside the motel, the inside lane of the roundabout and a long section of road in either direction, was under water…

I saddled up and made my way out of town, a dark bank of clouds hanging above me spoke of more rain, but after barely half an hour, I was riding under bright blue skies, which was a huge relief…

I did not relish the idea of getting wet and feeling poorly at the same time…!!

Emirati playground, a bay just south of the Oman border...

Despite all assurancea that they would be treated gently, the Khor's live in a perpetual state of anxiety...

The road took us due north, through Qurayyah and past Oman’s tiny chunk of land, Madha, which apparently consists of barely four dozen homesteads, a telephone exchange and very little else…!!

The first large town that we breezed through, Khor Fakkaan, was still waking up, street vendors unpacked their goods, store owners carried boxes and bags to and from the small delivery vans that stood outside their premises…

Even though I had barely been on a road an hour, I stopped at a small coffee shop where the owner had been frantically waving at me from, and ordered a cup of coffee…

We chatted about the weather, the situation in Egypt, his small family that he was struggling to support, and a host of other topics which took two cups of coffee to cover, neither of which he charged me for…!!

“My gift to you and the adventure you are undertaking…!!”

He then proceeded to snap half a dozen photos of me, using his cell phone, while I got back on the bike and with a wave rode back out on the road to Dibba…

Fort Benzine, Dibba...

The long awaited sequel to "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers"... Finally, after 39 years in the making, "Seven Sheikhs for Seven Emirates" hits the big screen...

Not sure what the message to visitors to the town of Dibba is...!! "Stay out of the water", perhaps...??

From there I took the road that ran around the southern border of Musandam, and followed it until the turnoff to Ras al Khaimah, another of the emirates that formed the U.A.E. …

We took the first exit and headed for another of the Emirates at Ras al Khaimah...

This was one of the smallest, and until a few years ago, probably the least developed of the group… But things are changing quickly there… Workmen were swarming over the many building sites I passed on my way to the northern end of town…

Either this town is famous for its pottery, or the town fathers ran clean out of ideas...!!

Up until this point, I had enjoyed riding through the countryside, between the low hills that led from Dibba on the Gulf of Oman, across the peninsula to Al Khaimah on the Arabian Gulf…

Lunch was a tasty chicken burger, a few km's north of Sharjah...

When I turned south and headed down the coast towards Sharjah and Dubai, my mood changed… I was back amongst the hectic traffic, high-rise buildings and the litter that a larger population seems to leave in their wake…

A continuous stretch of development is taking place all along the coast, and after many miles of traffic lights, roundabouts and manic drivers, I finally saw Dubai’s famous skyline looming through the dusty haze that was enveloping the entire coastal area…

It took another half hour to work my way across to Deira, the suburb next to the Creek, where the Florida Hotel is located…

I found a parking spot in front of the alleyway that leads to the entrance of the hotel, and fought my way through crowds on curious onlookers who swarmed around the bike and fired questions at me…

“I’ll be back in a minute…!!” I shouted over my shoulder as I walked over to the glass doors that opened into the cool and welcoming lobby of the Florida…

There, I was warmly greeted by Azner and his merry men, and minutes later, a luggage trolley stood next to the Big Fella, ready to receive the kit I began offloading…

If anything, the crowd around us had grown even larger, completely blocking the pavement and spilling out into the road…

I tried to answer as many of the questions asked of me, and was eventually saved from further hassle by a traffic officer who came over to see what all the fuss was about… He used his siren to good effect to clear the road, and then began shouting at the crowd to disperse…

After a few minutes, with only two dozen or so folk around us, the bell-hop and I were able to get my gear into the hotel, and I was able to return to the bike and cover it… Two of the shopkeepers who had always greeted me on my last visit here, came over to help me, and looked to see which new flags now adorned my top-box…

“Aah… You succeeded in doing what you told us you would…!! Well done, my friend…!! Well done…!!” the shoe-seller said…

I thanked him, and agreed to join him later for a glass of tea…

And where exactly do you put your injured...??

But there were far more pressing things on my mind…!!

After a flurry of phone calls, I managed to arrange for my crate to be ready to receive the Big Fella when I arrived at Super Express the following morning, and then began sorting through my kit, trying to guess how long I would be in Dubai and Delhi without the bike…

I bargained on about a week, and hoped that the gods of travel were looking benignly down upon me…!!

As nice as it was to be back in the comfort and friendly surroundings of the Florida Hotel, I was keen to get across to India and make the dash to Nepal before my visa expired…!! Very keen, in fact…!!

It was beginning to look like it was going to be a close run thing…!!

©GBWT 2011

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