In December 1971, seven independent sheikhdom's in the southeastern most tip of the Persian Gulf were brought together into the new country of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The festival celebrating this event was ongoing during our visit in February 2015. We're pleased to have been part of it.
We were in country as part of a photo expedition team, so we didn't get a chance to assess the country for roving. But we can tell you it's worth a quick trip to snag some photos and grasp a quick sense of whether it's worth a longer visit.
Take a ride aboard an elevator to the top of the tallest building in the world in Dubai. Or check out a skyscraper in Abu Dhabi, and you'll see two glistening, modern cities springing up out of the desert where tribes fought over territory only a few decades earlier.
The police drive around in Mercedes and Lamborginis. Photo-radar cameras abound. Some of the wealthy engage in an unofficial, unspoken contest: get as many speeding tickets as possible to see who can get the highest fines — and then go to court to see if they can get their case dismissed!
New, clean, bright, shiny and modern abounds here. The waters are azure and the beaches lilly white. And there’s sand – lot’s of it – as far as the eye can see, uniformly tan in color.
Emerati’s are proud of their country and culture. They’re welcoming. And they want to share their thoughts and feelings about it with the west. They want others to know they are pleased and eager to be among the nations of the world contributing to the global throng of progress. And — they're anxious for westerners to understand they DO NOT agree with nor are they representative of or connected to the Jihadist terrorists.
Having said that, snapping photo’s in the UAE is a bit of a challenge. There’s rules about what one can and cannot do around the iconic mosques and the peoples of this culture because their religious beliefs. And not all residents are eager to pose for pix as most are in the Far East. Remember to ask permission before you flick pix!
In fact, there’s a difference between Emerati’s and residents. Emerati’s are because they IS. They are born into their status as descendants of the founding families. All the rest — immigrants — Indians, Pakistanis, Nepalize, and mixtures of those born here are simply residents. They can never be Emerati’s.
We had a grand time in this country. From the mosques, nights out in the desert sleeping under the stars, watching the camel races (a hoot!), light painting in the desert and more, the UAE is certainly an interesting place.
Traveler Security Alert!
As of March 25, 2017, travelers to the United States from Abu Dhabi International Airport cannot carry electronic devices larger than a cell phone or smart phone in airplane cabins. Laptops, tablets, cameras and e-readers must be put in checked baggage. This ban does not affect flights leaving from the US towards Abu Dhabi.
When we get a chance, we'll put up a slide show of pix from this place on this page. We think you'll enjoy them.
Tom, for RoverTreks