No real food available at rest house and we brought very few provisions with us so we'll head back to Abu Dhabi. The fellow and the desk told us buses come by so we head out to the roundabout, see none and begin to walk, full sun, lots of trucks/commercial vehicles going by. Finally, after 20 min. of walking a taxi stops and takes us to the bus station. A nice security fellow from Pakistan talks withus, he's been here 7 months, day work, good pay...no work in Pakistan, had to leave to support is family. Had been in UK for 6 years before returning to Pakistan but within a year all his savings were spent. We asked if there was a place nearby to get yogurt but he said nearest market was half mile away. He said "I will get for you" Next thing we knew he had a bag wth yogurts and flavored milk shakes and spoons! He refused any money even when pressed!
The bus driver back to A.D. was the same nice fellow who drove the bus there yesterday, from Sudan! Made good time arriving about noon-thirty. It is amazing how green with trees and eve grass ii is all round Liwa, even lots of 'farms', 'forests', I even saw a corn field and a pivot irrigation system! Could not believe my eyes! But all just surrounded by desert. Lots of minions to do the work, no litter along the highways, buses go to every farm or town work area, must be 1000s of miles of irrigation pipe to maintain.
Went to bus stop to go to Jas Is. and Ferrari World waited 45 min during which time 3 other tourist types showed up, 2 from Australia and an architect from UK on business. Architect said business had been good until 2008 but now recently the government has halted many projects and those that remain have 15 bidders instead of the 5 there once were.
Wiki Info Ferrari World
At Ferrari World everything is WAY over the top $$$-wise! Just to get in for the rides is $75 US...needlesstosay we only sttayed long enuf to buy a T-shirt then headed back to main bus terminal and on to Sharjah. Easy getting tickets, Sharjah Bus Transport, bus pulled up w/in 20 min. but it had been sitting in the wrong spot in the station so when it did pull up it was already half full. Got on but the only seats avail. had some heater vent spewing out heat at floor level. The AC didn't help much but we pulled out 10 min. later, the driver telling us it would cool after door was closed. NOT! After 15 min. of driving we pulled into a gas station and sat there for 15 min.(I thought it unusual because buses are fueled before picking up passengers). Another half hour and we're in a line up of trucks, semis, and commercial vehicles stopped! We're sitting here for at least a half hour and I go out to ask the driver why we aren't on the highway just 100 meters away where traffic is moving right along. He says he has no permit to drive on that highway! What? Now I'm questioning whether this company is real or a rip! The bus is full, lots of 'locals' so I ask how long before we get started again? Just 10 min. is his answer. I walk up the line of perhaps 10-12 trucks, trailers, other buses and see we are waiting at a gas pump! All these vehicles are lined up for GAS! He lied to me right to my face! Could not believe it. We are now 1 & 1/2 hours on the bus and less than a half hour out of Abu Dhabi! This trip which we thought would save us time is going to take 4-5 hours, the AC doesn't work so we're sweating profusely (it's 40° C = over 100° F in the bus), and I'm not taking it well at all! I think this ranks as one of the top 5 WORST bus trips I've ever taken anywhere!!
Not only that but the driver is lousy, he lies and steers the bus in a back and forth motion so the entire bus is constantly swaying back and forth giving me the feeling of being on a boat!! Almost seasick nausea!
Didn't get to Sharjah until 9+, and tried to get a taxi to Sharjah Heritage YH but none of the drivers knew what we were talking about! This a hostel within 5 minutes of bus station (according to internet page), and no taxi driver knew it existed! We were hot, frustrated, at the end of our patience so we decided to return to Dubai & hostel there even tho it is much more expensive ($30 vs $18 US).
Today was a break day, just washing clothes, reorganizing pack, Bon doing her personal stuff...nothing big. We did meet an interesting fellow who's been here the whole time we have but never introduced ourselves. Zito Zartielly, Brazilian, who's here to establish business partnerships with Arabs. He's been working at it for four years and is just now starting to see some active interest on te part of the Arabs. He told us that when he first came he would introduce himself and have coffee with them explaining who he represents in Brazil, etc. Then the Arabs would say, 'Fine, come back in a year.' They are very suspicious people who are not in a hurry and want to get to know you before doing anything. But once you have their trust in you and they sense you are worth putting their confidence in you then all is well. They are not interested in money, just information! But if you do gain their trust you can never drop the ball or abuse it, if. you do you will never do business in any Arab country again, period! They are all connected, know everything about everyone and that tribal connectedness is the core of their relationships with everyone! He is of the opinion that Arabs are worried about what is going to happen between now and 2015 when the major share of US's 12+ trillion dollar debt comes due! They think Chinese money is fake, only Germany can hold up the euro, Italy is the only country which manufactures quality equipment/machines, and Spain is o the verge of collapse (Greece is a forgone conclusion)! Very good ideas coming from him! He (and he says most Arabs he's talked with) like Obama and
Great news this am! Iran tour agency emailed that our Visas have been approved! Just need to pick them up Wednesday, so now just aj question of getting the M$$$ney here, ha! Bon as always, has a plan. I have tried to help with logistics in te past but I just waste my time since she does it all over again her way and, although the end result may be the same, in the end she trusts her own work as being most thorough! I must say, I tend to cut corners, not get ALL the information, and sometimes these omissions come back to bite!
Ah well, just happy that her persistence with emailing these tour folks has paid off! I can't imagine what would be this result if the visas hadn't been approved. Now she is busy with $$$ thing, trying to arrange transport from Darwin to Cairns in November, booking a room in Dehli for when we arrive after Iran, ordering guidebooks from Amazon to be shipped to the Dehli accommodation, and looking for plane tickets back in December! She complains alot about being on the internet but I think, secretly just between you and me, she loves it! She can't stand not having at least 4-5 things on her plate at once. Oh, in addition, she got an email from Todd who wrote to say he'd prefer a red T-shirt from Ferrari World! Unfortunately, after debating and going back and forth for almost an hour when we were there two days ago, we decided on BLACK! Now she is in a quandry & thinks she must go back to exchange it! That's after spending half a day already, and it would require another bus to/from Abu Dhabi (2+ hrs) + 3 more hours out/back to/from Ferrari World for an exchange. I'm hoping Todd gets an email before she does all that and is OK wth black!
Met a 28 yr old Danish fellow who's returning home after 4 mo. travel, going back to study for his masters in primary education. Also, a younger Kiwi guy just beginning his travels. Nice being in a hostel to meet travelers, thank you Richard Schirrmann for coming up with the idea 100 years ago!!
Spent most of day uploading photos onto website...slow going but luckily, Saive, the guy who runs the computer gig here at the hostel is giving Bon & I a break in price - 3 hours for price of 2. Of course, we're together on computers a minimum of 10-12 hours, ha! Gotta pin down a hostel in Dehli and book airline tickets Darwin-Cairns today. Also, hopefully, our dear daughter (couldn't do this trip w/o her) will be able to wire $$$ so we can pay for our tour in Iran!
Today we went to Iranian Consulate and paid for our visas! Tomorrow we pick them up 8-10am, and then head for Abu Dhabi. Checked at Western Union and $$$ Tiff wired is there but we'll have to wait until we have our passports tomorrow to get the $$$. We went to Caribou Cafe in Dubai Mall where we could get Wifi so Bon could upload the India guidebook...it took 4 teas to get enough megabite credits for the upload, ha! Good tea though...I had to go to the 'john' 3 times while we were there, such are the sacrifices we must make!
Back at the hostel, Bon is double checking internet to make sure we have airline tickets she ordered yesterday! It took 3+ hours and even then at 1am she couldn't get the confirmation, only the authorization message came showing the tickets had been billed on Visa! Bon's a bulldog that won't let go once she's got the bone in her teeth, ha! Lucky for me (and Mari, since Bon bought her ticket Darwin to Cairns as well). Also she received word from the hostel in Cairns that we were a-ok for two more nights since we will arrive 2 days earlier than planned in Cairns (great news there as well!).
The computer crashed before Bon could confirm we have tickets Darwin to Cairns, so still up in the air on that.
Perfect timing all the way to get visas and bus to Abu Dhabi, then we missed by a 'mile'. Actually a minute or two, however, the bus (#190, the only one that goes to Ferrari World/YAS Island) only runs once an hour so miss by a minute miss by an hour! Now we're back on our original time frame which puts us back in Dubai & Dubai Mall ($$$ pick up and one last look at The Fountain) about 7pm. We're beginning to feel like real pros at these transport connections, but I guess we should now 3 times back/forth to Abu Dahbi, ha!
White, Sheikh Zayed Mosque
Wiki Info Leaning Towers
Magazine Info on Abu Dhabi Leaning Tower
Four fifteen and on the rod back to Dubai! And we arrive, get our diner, go see the Fountain performance, have tea at our favorite - Craribou Cafe...these Philippinos are great! When we order they automatically give us the next size larger and hand us the internet password for twice as much time! What generosity and thoughtfulness, I love'em! Hard to believe we finally made it to our last night in UAE - Arab-land...a great fountain show to send us off.
Now in last stages of leaving...washing clothes, repacking, internet details, Bon is very focused on 'what's beyond Iran' now - plane tickets, transport in general. I am just trying to get a few more photos up which at times is a very slow slog. This hostel has been good for us in that they are not intrusive though not always very helpful, except for one of the internet controller guys, Saive, who has been understanding. Also, we have met many fellow travellers from many places (Denmark, Germany, Aussies, Kiwis, UK, French) plus the workers here from Bangledesh, India, etc. Just at breakfast we met Natalie, a chef from Cairns, Australia. She was in UK and was asked to apply for several jobs here, got 3 offers and in the last week went to see each. Decided on a position with a new to open hotel in Jameira Palms area as head of catering! She loves to travel and has done a lot (in her 20s), been in the restaurant business since she was 14 working her way up...first, Cairns (a couple places, one on a large island nearby), in the town by the Big Rock (Austrailia name?), Fiji, and most recently in UK. She is really excited since she feels good about her selection of job and she loves what she does! We wished her well.
Another job off the agenda is booking a place in Dehli. Our only reason was so we'd have a place to ship Amazon LPs, but found that Bon could put most of what we need immediately on her Kindle and the rest can wait 'til we arrive in India and shop for used ones.