A Different Side to the UAE

Most of my visits to the UAE have been spent in and around Abu Dhabi, and I had got into the way of thinking that the country consisted mostly of flat, featureless desert with a few bustling high-rise cities. So it was a welcome change to see some very different...

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Eco-City in the Desert: a Visit to Masdar, UAE

You might not expect to find an eco-city in the middle of the desert but Masdar, just 11 miles from Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, is just that. In fact, the contrast between endless miles of sand and the gleaming high-tech city is just one of many seeming...

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Camel Racing in the UAE

Camels seem to be a bit of an obsession in many of the Gulf States. So much so, that a teacher told me that, when he asked his students what they most prized, they all said 'camels'. They were quite definite that they favoured camels even above their cars (women, of...

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Qatar prepares for tourism

I started trying to write an article about the historic sites of Qatar, but gave up because I found myself writing "it is closed for redevelopment", or "you used to be able to go there, but you can't any more". When we went on our trip to the north of the country our...

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Eating out in Doha

It is possible to eat very well in Doha, whether you want Arabic or international food. The large number of expat workers in the city means that a cosmopolitan cuisine is available, and there is a wide choice of outlets, from hotels and restaurants, to cafés and...

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Abu Dhabi’s Desert Hinterland

Yesterday we took our hire car and drove through the desert. I say desert, but actually the first part of the journey was on a not particularly interesting motorway between Abu Dhabi and Tarif, with what seemed like never ending construction and industrialisation for...

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A Trip to Al Ain

It was in Al Ain that we had lunch in a little back street cafe, whose other customers were all Arabic men.  Most of them were playing cards or backgammon and smoking shish, and were quite happy when I asked if I could take their photograph. With a bit of sign...

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Eating Out in Muscat

Although Muscat is growing as a holiday destination, most tourists confine themselves to the coastal area of Qurm and find their culinary needs well catered for in the many hotels. However, for anyone who chooses, as we did, to venture further afield, eating out in...

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