For the heck of it

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Weekend at Jebel Hafeet

The climate in Dubai is cooling down a bit right now, with winter just around the corner. Well don’t say “Yay!!” yet. The temperature has been hovering around 26-30 degrees – usually it is well over 40! So, if you are in Dubai or anywhere in the UAE, now is the right time to visit places such as Ras Al Khaimah, Al Ain, or better still… Jebel Hafeet. Why? Because according to a study, the Jebel Hafeet road has been awarded “the best road to drive in the world”! So, it was weekend for us, and we HAD to check it out.

The Road Going Towards Al Ain.

We (me and two of my roommates) took off at 3:00 pm on Friday (28th September 2007). A drive to Jebel Hafeet takes around 1.5-2 hours. So we were planning on reaching Jebel Hafeet by 5 pm, because by 6 pm, it would start getting dark and hence we would miss the panoramas and the view of the winding roads from the hilltop. Since it is the holy month of Ramadan here, we figured it would be great if we could pack some munchies from some restaurant. McDonalds was the obvious choice. Then, we went to Spinney’s, grabbed a couple of water bottles, some snacks and candy bars.

My roommate's Peugeot 206.

For those ignorant enough, the holy month of Ramadan spans an entire month. During this month, many restaurants are shut during the day, and they only open at Iftar timings. Smoking, drinking or eating in public is prohibited by law in most countries such as UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, and so on – so if you are caught doing any of these, you might end up in jail for up to 3 months, in the UAE. It might be worse in other countries such as Saudi Arabia. So, we were careful enough to not be seen eating in public.

The beautiful desert on both the sides of the road.

Here's one more view of the endless "sand land".

The introduction of Salik has been a pain in the ass and my roommate didn’t have a Salik tag on his Peugeot 206 – so taking Garhoud Bridge was out of our options. We hit the Business Bay Crossing, before coming on to Emirates Road, and driving towards Al Ain.

Inside Al Ain. Beautiful trees on both the sides of the road.

And we were on our way to Jebel Hafeet. It was amazing to see that on both the sides of the road, we could only see dunes and dunes of sand. We couldn’t resist stopping for a while to snap up some images.

Getting ready for a photo shoot.

We didn’t have any maps on us and this was our first time towards Jebel Hafeet. So, we had to follow each and every sign on the road – we couldn’t afford to miss one.

Yay! We found the desert!!

Luckily the signs were as easy as they could get. Every road sign had an entry such as “Tourist Destinations”. Need we say more? So we followed the “Tourist Destinations” sign, till we came across a sign that yelled “Jebel Hafeet” with an arrow pointing to the left. And we liked what we saw.

I can jump, too!

Though we weren’t yet on the Jebel Hafeet road, we could see a mountain in front of us with beautifully lit winding roads, all over it. It seemed as if the mountain was decorated with a bunch of twinkly lights! So we started to drive up the mountain – the roads were as smooth as butter. It was a piece of cake for my roommate’s hatchback.

The zigzag roads were amazing to drive on. The roads were clearly marked – two lanes going upwards and one lane coming down, with barricades on the edges. Finally we reached the top of Jebel Hafeet – it’s something like a table-top mountain, except that the “table-top” bit is man-made.

The Jebel Hafeet Table Top.

We got a really nice view of Al Ain below and the Oman road. By the time we reached the top, it was Iftar time already. We had a quick cuppa, before we started descending from the mountain and hitting our way back home.

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