Today I was going to go to the east coast of the UAE for some scuba diving activities.
I was going to the resort of Fujairah.
Fujairah is approximately two hours drive from Dubai and is popular with tourists who want to get away from citylife.
Many watersport activities can be conducted from here.
Diving on the east coast of the UAE is mainly reefs and a few small wrecks.
This was to be a short introduction to scuba diving before crossing the border at Dibba and into Oman for some boat diving along the Oman coastline of the Musandam peninsula.
The sea temperature in Fujairah was a staggering 29 degrees Celsius. In addition, the sea had a lot of planktons and thus the visability was poor. The sea was very green underwater and photography was therefore poor.
I saw a seahorse of approximately 20cms in size. A quite rare encounter for scuba divers.
After my two dives in Fujairah, I was going to cross the border at Dibba and into Oman.
The Musandam peninsula is the most northerly province of Oman and marks the entrance to the Arabian Gulf via the Straits of Hormuz.
The port in Dibba was where I was going to get onto our converted dhow boat.
Diving in the Musandam peninsula is mostly drift diving and therefore not recommended for novice divers.
The Musandam coastline itself is carved into countless fjords, bays and islands.
Marine life expected to be seen off Omani waters are five species of turtles, Eagle Rays and Devil Rays, and reef sharks. Occassionly Whale Sharks can be seen during the summer months. The colourful corals attracts tropical species such as Parrotfish, Batfish and Lion fish.
Omani water is plankton rich and therefore water visibility is reduced from that of other diving destinations.
After two days of diving from the dhow we head back to Dibba and eventually back to Dubai.
Arriving back in Dubai it was time to buy some tacky souvenirs to annoy people back home.
I brought a naff Shake my Sheikh salt and pepper shakers.
This was going to be given to my boss in the hope that I will get some extra overtime shifts at work (as well as a promotion!)
– The end –
For more information on Oman please visit:
Today I was going to visit the city of Al Ain located 120 kms south of Dubai. The fourth largest city in the UAE. Al Ain is known as the Garden City due to it greenery nature and it oasis. Al Ain is also the birthplace of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the first president of the United Arab Emirates.
The minibus from Dubai to Al Ain was 20 AED (£3.75) and the journey took one and half hours to two hours.
I was keen to visit the cultural sights that make up the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Al Ain. The citation of the Al Ain entry in the UNESCO World Heritage Site list describes Al Ain as having multiple locations for it citation. That being the examples of construction, agricultural use and water management in the desert since protohistory.
The designated Al Ain World Heritage Site is a serial nomination of 17 locations.
First on my sightseeing was the Al Jahili fort.
The fort has no admission fees. A lone security guy sits on a chair in the shade.
The fort is open everyday except Monday. The fort is also closed on Friday mornings.
At the time of my visit, there was no other visitors and except for the lone security officer sitting on chair, I had the fort all to myself.
in the northeastern corner is the two-storey building which was used for receptions and guests of the Sheikh.
The Al Jahili fort is one if the UAE most historic buildings. It was constructed in 1891 to defend the city and protect it palm groves.
In 1951, the fort was the headquarters of the Oman Trucial Scouts that protected the mountain passes and kept inter-tribal peace.
The scouts were renamed the Union Defence Force (UDF) upon the formation of the Unitied Arab Emirates in 1971.
In the southwestern corner of the fort is the round tower.
The round tower consists of four concentric tiers.
In the 1980’s the fort was handed over to the Department of Antiquities and Tourism which carried out restoration work to restore the fort to it original status.
I went for a walk outside the fort.
Another restoration phase in 2007-8 by the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH) saw the fort houses a Visitor Information Centre with a shop and cafe, facilities for outdoor cultural events and wider exhibition spaces.
After my sightseeing at the fort I then went to the Al Ain Palace Museum.
The palace is the former home of the late UAE founder, Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
The palace was built in 1910 and in 1998 the palace became a museum.
The palace has no admission fees.
The Al Ain Oasis is the largest oasis in Al Ain. The oasis is 3000 acres and contains over 147,000 dates palms.
It was easy to get lost inside the oasis.
The oasis is known for its underground irrigation system “falaj” which brings water from boreholes to water farms and palm trees.
The falaj irrigation is an ancient system dating back thousands of years.
Other crops grown here are mangoes, oranges, bananas and figs.
Inside the oasis there are remains of an old fortification and an mosque.
Heading back into the city centre, I passed the mosque.
I decided to go to the market.
An assortment of fresh fruit and meat is available here.
Next on my sightseeing was to visit the Al Ain National museum.
Al Ain National museum is the oldest museum in the UAE. Opened in 1971, the museum features displays on the city’s exclusive heritage and history.
The museum is housed in the same compound as the Sultan Bin Zayed Fort (also known as the Eastern Fort) which was built in 1910 and is well conserved.
The museum is 3 AED (£0.60) admission. As with other attractions in Al Ain, the museum is close on Mondays and closed on Friday mornings.
The Eastern fort was constructed a 100 years ago by Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan and served as a residence to his family since then and until he succeeded as the ruler of Abu Dhabi in 1922.
It was converted to a museum and opened to the public in 1971.
The fort is quite small and is only 35 metres in length on each side.
After my sightseeing, it was time to head back to Dubai and my luxury *ahem* hotel.
Tomorrow, I was going to go scuba diving on the east coast of UAE and Oman.
To be continued….
For more information about the UAE please visit:
I am back from my six days visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). I was able to do some sightseeing and cross over the border to Oman for scuba diving.
In summary, I spent two full days in Oman and three full days in the UAE sightseeing and shopping.
It was hot at this time of the year. The temperature was 39 degrees Celsius whilst the sea temperature was 29 degrees Celsius.
My hotel was in the old part of Dubai known as Deira and was near to Dubai Creek.
Dubai itself is a city famous for its modern architecture and luxury shopping malls. The city has expanded at an enormous rate over the last few decades and the population now stands at 2.5 million (mostly expats and immigrants). In the 1950s the population was 20,000 people. With the discovery of oil, the city rapidly expanded and it wealth has led to ultramodern projects such as the Palm Jumeirah artificial archipelago project. Many of the construction projects in Dubai are now on hold due the 2008 banking crisies and the current decline in oil prices.
When I arrived, my first sightseeing was to Dubai Marina. This is a residential district of Dubai where many westerners expats live.
Many of the skyscapers here are residential blocks.
Having known many expats living here over the years, a lot of these residential towers were built by dubious developers and many expats have lost their investments to these crooks. That is typical of how things are done in Dubai. So becareful if you are considering investing here.
The Torch Tower had a twenty storey fire last February. At the time of construction I had spoken to many expats who purchased off plan into this tower and many expressed concerns about the poor construction of the tower including lack of fire protection coatings. Their concerns proven to be correct.
All over the marina, new towers are still being built.
I took a small RIB boat from the Marina to visit the artificial archipelagos.
Taking the boat out, I saw the Palm Jumeirah artificial archipelago project and also the Burj Al Arab hotel. The hotel was opened in 1999 and it is a symbol of modern Dubai.
This hotel is the world’s only 7 star hotel. Living on my £145 per month army pension, I was not able to afford to stay here for my holiday.
With gold plated toilets and personal butlers to chauffeur-driven Rolls-Royce services, this hotel has been repeatedly voted the world’s most luxurious hotel.
From the marina, I had to cross the famous Sheikh Zayed Road to get to the metro station.
I took the metro back to the old city.
Whilst on the metro, I passed the Burj Khalifa tower. This is the tallest tower in the world, standing at 829.8 m (2,722 ft) tall. The building gained the official title of “Tallest Building in the World” at its opening on January 4th, 2010.
Arriving in the old city of Dubai, I first went to see the Creek.
Dubai Creek is the old part of the city and was originlly a small port for numberous dhows that traded with East Africa and India. It is still used for trade using the traditional dhows.
A short walk later, I came to the Al Fahidi fort.
The fort was built in 1787 and is the oldest existing building in Dubai. It is now a museum and is 3 AED (£0.60) to get in.
After my sightseeing, I went to do some late night shopping.
The Dubai Mall is the world’s largest shopping mall based on total area. Opened in 2009, it has over 1200 stores.
In March this year, more than a hundred foreign labourers protested in front of Dubai Mall due to overtime wages not being paid. Despite all the ultraluxury developments in Dubai, there is a lot of poor pay within the city.
The Mall comes with a interior aquarium so that shoppers can stare at the fish whilst shopping.
The Mall of the Emirates has over 700 stores and a ski slope! The Middle East’s first indoor ski resort and snow park.
After buying my sexy gal a sexy skirt and several dresses, I headed back to my faulty air conditioning hotel room.
The next day I was going to visit Al Ain, the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
To be continued….
For more information about the UAE and Dubai please visit:
Today I was going to visit Dalyan and the river delta.
At the town of Dalyan, traditional turkish boats take tourists along the river delta to the various attractions for 35 TL (approx. £8.75). Along the way I got to see the rock tombs, the mudbaths and Iztuzu beach also known as Turtle beach as well as Kaunos ruins.
The small boat was packed with over thirty tourists and was very crowded. Most of them were inconsiderately smoking in such a small confined space!
On the way to Iztuzu beach, we passed the Lycian Tombs.
After a few kilometres, the boat arrives at the back of Iztuzu beach.
Iztuzu beach is a reserve and turtles lay their eggs there, it is lovely and unspoilt.
Turtles can be seen in the waters around the boats.
The beach is very busy with daytrippers from all of the nearby resorts.
You can walk the 7km along the beach from one end to the other, but take plenty of water as there are only two beach cafes on the beach and very little shade.
The beach is closed to the public at nighttime due to turtles activities.
Beach wardens protect the nests.
After spending a few hours on the beach we headed to the mudbaths for a quick bath in the mud.
The mudbaths are said to have mineral properties to rejuvenate the skin.
Our last stop on the boat trip was to visit the Kaunos ruins. Kaunos was an ancient and important seaport. It has both Greek and Roman influence. The ruins date back to the 10th century BC.
Due to the silting of the bay of Dalyan, the ruins of Kaunos are now located about 8kms from the coast.
The theatre is still used for performances.
A little lake forms what used to be the main seaport.
The city was abandoned in the 15th century AD following a malaria outbreak.
On my return back to my appartment I was horrified to see a Praying Mantis (Mantis religiosa) on my balcony.
Fearing for my life, I had to run away! Something that I am well used to from my army days.
On my last day of my holiday I was going into the mountains to Saklikent Gorge. It is 50kms from Fethiye. The gorge is 20kms in length and 300 metres high.
The gorge is one of the longest in the world and I was going to walk several kilometres inland. With the water running down the gorge, the walk requires wading through the water up to waist height or in my case (as I am only 30 cms tall) being totally submerged.
A wooden walkway at the start of the gorge is the entry point into the gorge. After a few hundred metres, the walkway ends at a cafe. From here onwards, tourists must wade through the water. Safety ropes are in place for handholds. Tourists can only wade through the gorge in the summer months for safety reasons.
Finally, I went white water tubing down the river. After a knackering day at the gorge I headed back to the apartment where I spent my last night to a night of love with a sexy gal (I had to pay her fifty Euros). Then it was back to work the following Monday *sniffs*.
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For more information about Turkey please visit:
After a relaxing day at the swimming pool with a sexy bikini gal, today I was going to visit the ruin village of Kayaköy. The village is abour 8km south of Fethyie.
The bus drops off tourists at the bus stop and from then it is a short uphill path to the centre of the village.
Whilst walking up the path I nearly trodden on a path.
This village has over 300 desserted buildings. The Greeks lived in the village untill 1922.
Many of the abandoned buildings were damaged in the 1957 Fethiye earthquake.
In the messy fallout of World War I and the collapse of the Ottoman Empire led to the land grabs of the Greco-Turkish War (1919–1922). The resounding loss of the Greeks in this war ended with violence and retribution, which was often aimed at the remaining Greek Orthodox community within the new Turkish borders, and in turn, against the Muslim Turks in Greece. Hundreds of thousands of Greeks fled the violence in Turkey, which led the governments to agree to a mutual compulsory population exchange starting in 1923 in order to staunch the bloodshed.
Nowadays it is a ghost village popular with tourists. The village is preserved as a museum village, consists of hundreds of rundown but still mostly standing Greek-style houses and churches which cover a small mountainside.
The admission fee to this village is 10 TL (approx. £2.50).
Some of the building you can safely go inside.
The centre of the village is a a very prominent church.
Goats and other livestock are in this village amongst the ruins.
In 2014, Kayakoy also took centre stage in the closing scenes of Russell Crowe’s film “The Water Diviner”.
In the quietness of the village, wildlife can be seen.
The other side of the village is a hill with a chapel on top of it.
The whole village can be looked down at from the chapel.
I was at the top of the small chapel hill.
I was going to trek from the village to the coast.
The Lycian Way is a 540km way-marked footpath around the coast of Lycia in southern Turkey, from Fethiye to Antalya.
I was going to walk the 8km section from Kayaköy to Ölüdeniz. This little section of the Lycian Way goes from the village over a hill line and follows a path downhill to the Ölüdeniz and the famous lagoon beach.
The walk takes about two to three hours.
After a quick beer I took the bus back to my appartment and for some quality time with my sexy gal.
Tomorrow I was going to visit Dalyan and Turtle Beach.
To be continued….
For more information about Turkey please visit:
I am back from my two week holiday in Turkey.
I was staying in a self-catering appartment in Göcek near to the tourist resort of Fethiye. By staying in Göcek I was away from the tacky all day English breakfast cafes and Sky Sports TV bars that is awash with sunburnt rowdy English louts who are on their tenth pint of beer by midday.
Göcek is a small town in Fethiye district in Muğla Province, Turkey. It was named “Kalimche” in ancient times, and is located near to Dalyan and Caunos in ancient times.
The town itself has many marinas and is popular as a destination for yachting.
My appartment had an swimming pool that I was able to relax at.
For my first day of sightseeing I was going to visit Fethiye marina and also see the Lycian rock tombs.
It was good to take a walk along the marina.
Many boats here can be chartered here for daytrips to the islands.
In the marina I saw two turtles.
Turtles are common on this part of the Turkish coastline.
The historic region of Lycia was a geopolitical region in the provinces of Antalya and Muğla on the southern coast of Turkey.
The landscape of this region is scattered with over 1400 rock tombs. The tombs date back to the 4th century.
The Lycians believed that their dead were carried to the afterlife by magic winged creatures and thus they placed their honored dead in geographically high places such as the cliffside.
The fee to enter the tombs is 5 TL (approx. £1.25).
Getting to the tombs from the marina is easy as the tombs are easily visable from the marina. Just keep walking uphill to get to them.
From the top, the whole of Fethyie can be viewed.
Within the area of the tombs were wild tortoises.
They were a common sight.
After visiting the tombs I made my way back to my appartment for some serious sunbathing with a very sexy gal at the pool.
To be continued….
For more information about Turkey please visit:
Today I was going to visit the Acropolis of Athens, a World Heritage Site listed by UNESCO.
The Acropolis of Athens is an ancient citadel located on a high rocky outcrop above the city of Athens and contains the remains of several ancient buildings of great architectural and historic significance, the most famous being the Parthenon.
While there is evidence that the hill was inhabited as far back as the fourth millennium BC, it was Pericles (c. 495 – 429 BC) in the fifth century BC who coordinated the construction of the site’s most important buildings including the Parthenon, the Erechtheion and the temple of Athena Nike.
It cost 12 Euros to visit all six sites of the Acropolis of Athens and the ancient Agora.
The slopes of the Acropolis has many statues and monuments.
The theatre of Dionysus is at the base of the Acropolis and it was used for festivals in honor of the god Dionysus. It has seating for 17,000 spectators.
The Parthenon is a former temple dedicated to the goddess Athena, whom the people of Athens considered their patron.
The Erechtheion is an ancient Greek temple on the north side of the Acropolis of Athens in Greece which was dedicated to both Athena and Poseidon.
On the north side, there is another large porch with six Ionic columns, and on the south, the famous “Porch of the Maidens”, with six draped female figures (caryatids) as supporting columns.
In 1801 one of the caryatids and the north column of the east porch together with the overlying section of the entablature were removed by Lord Elgin in order to decorate his Scottish mansion, and were later sold to the British Museum (along with the pedimental and frieze sculpture taken from the Parthenon). The new Acropolis Museum holds the other five figures, which are replaced onsite by replicas.
From atop I could see all across Athens including the ancient Agora down below.
The ancient Agora was the central spot in ancient Athens. The Temple of Hephaestus is located at the north-west side of the Agora.
The ancient Agora has a small museum.
I headed to a viewpoint to look across the ancient Agora.
It was mid-November and warm enough for me to wear t-shirt and shorts.
Next on my sightseeing was the Panathenaic Stadium. The stadium is a multi-purpose stadium used for several events and athletics and hosted the first modern Olympic Games in 1896. Reconstructed from the remains of an ancient Greek stadium, the Panathenaic Stadium is the only major stadium in the world built entirely of white marble.
In the 2004 Olympic Games, the Panathenaic Stadium hosted the archery competition and the finish of the Marathon.
It could once seat about 80,000 spectators on fifty rows of marble steps and currently holds 45,000 spectators.
The next day, I headed to the mountains surrounding the city of Athens. I came across a wild tortoise in the forest.
The Kaisariani Monastery is an Eastern Orthodox monastery built on the north side of Mount Hymettus, near Athens.
The monastery was probably established in Byzantine times in ca. 1100.
I took the metro back to Athens city centre.
Shopping in Athens is a favorite pastime for tourists and Athenians and one of the best places to buy just about anything is the Monastiraki Flea Market.
After my shopping I headed to the marina on the coast.
I was invited by the Qatar’s former Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani to have dinner on board his supersize yacht (that was probably paid for by taxes and corruption). At dinner we discuss FIFA 2022 World Cup bribery and rigging. We decided that Germany will win the cup in 2022. The Al Mirqab yacht is one of the largest motor yachts ever built at a length of 133 metres. The yacht is normally moored at the Faliro coastal area of Athens.
It was time to head back to Britain and to put up my Xmas decorations.
– The End –
For more information about Greece please visit: