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Phespirit goes to United Arab Emirates
Dubai     June/July 1999

AROUND UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

Map of United Arab Emirates

1 Dubai

Phespirit checked into the Oasis Beach Hotel at Jumeirah beach. Although it is a nondescript little four-star by local standards, it is still by far the most luxurious hotel Phespirit has ever stayed in.

A complementary bus shuttles guests from the hotel to the World Trade Centre, Deira City Centre, and the Gold Souk three times a day. Phespirit called in at them all.

Deira City Centre is the name of a vast shopping mall close to the Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club. Phespirit made the mistake of thinking he could safely step outside the air-conditioned mall and wander over to the yacht club in temperatures approaching 50°C. He made it to the club gates but was so overwhelmed by the heat that he feared he would collapse before he could get back. Plenty of cold drink was gulped down when he finally staggered indoors.

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2 "Snoopy Island"

..... is not the traditional Arabian name for the triple-peaked mass of rock that rises from the sea opposite the Sandy Beach Motel in Fujairah. Rather this is the name given by scuba divers who noted its uncanny resemblance to the profile of Snoopy on his kennel in the Peanuts cartoons.

Phespirit stopped for a swim in the sea at the Sandy Beach Motel on a scorching hot day. He approached with caution, having been advised not to walk barefoot on the sand as it would embed in the flesh of his feet like molten glass.

The Arabian Sea, though, was like a gorgeously warm bath .....

..... filled with flying fish.

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3 Bithnah

Set in a wide parting of the Hajar mountains, the Bithnah oasis is absolutely rammed with palm trees. At their heart stands a bulky, impressive-looking desert fort.

Sadly, Phespirit was only able to observe it from a distance.

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4 Hatta

Phespirit called in at the Hatta Fort Hotel for a spot of lunch in the middle of nowhere. The hotel sells itself as: "a green oasis amidst the stark beauty of the Hajar mountains." An accurate description that should accurately convey an impression of being trapped and isolated in manicured luxury.

The food was good, though.

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5 Margham

This area of the desert has the biggest sand dunes. Nothing else; just very, very big sand dunes.

Phespirit stopped to take a photograph from the roadside between Hatta and Dubai.

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  1. Dubai
  2. "Snoopy Island"
  3. Bithnah
  4. Hatta
  5. Margham
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Dubai "Snoopy Island" Bithnah Hatta Margham