Its been years since I’ve actually spent a night in Al Ain despite the Emirate having possibly the most Fijians – I’m told Fiji has the most competent and caring nurses in the world and Al Ain now looks to Fiji to get more fascinating Fijians into the Emirate. Which is a good thing since we are an endangered species in some ways with so few of us being around so having more Fijians in the UAE can only be awesome.
Anyway, Al Ain has always held a fascination for me and every year I tell myself to go to the Al Ain Aerobatic Show (everyone who knows me can vouch for the love affair I have with fast machines). Hey….not the dodgy kind. Only the kind you use on air, water and roads!!!!
But what really is attractive about Al Ain is the greenery because of the oasis as well as the beautiful forts. Talking about the Al Ain oasis, I never knew that it has such a wide variety of of fruits like oranges, figs and mangoes plus over 145,000 date palms. I kind of associated oranges and mangoes to different climates. The Jimi oasis I’m told by my local friends has native plants used for medicinal properties including a number of properties restored from 18th century onwards. It has a 14m tower which looks incredible.
Al Muatared oasis is most fascinating to me as I read a long time ago about a local from Al Ain using the concept of falaj (underground water channel) for plant cultivation. This particular oasis has thousands of palm trees irrigated by the Muatared falaj. The Qattara oasis is on the other hand is known for beautifully coordinated date palms, orchards and pathways together with historic buildings that include three forts and the remains of a souq.
Then there is the Hili oasis which I heard about from a scholar in archeology based in sharjah who I consulted with a while ago on traditional buildings such as the forts, mustansariyas etc he talked about in his book (The book was in Arabic and I had to spend hours understanding his work). The Hili region apparently has been used for living and farming for thousands of years and has its own falaj system. Speaking of Hili, it has 2 watch towers that forms a gateway to the village.
Another interesting structure is the Al Murayjib Fort that has 3 free standing buildings in a gorgeous garden. The Murabba Fort was built in 1948 in the centre of Al Ain with a courtyard. The venue is great for celebrations, events etc and looks very traditional. The Eastern or Sultan Fort near to the Al Ain National Museum (Note to self – visit this ASAP) was built in 1910. The Mezyad Fort stands out in its design with its openings on the floor, walls and the machicolations while the Jahili Fort is known to be the largest in the country and looks like an imposing castle. I saw a picture of this and it does look like something I would love to do a photoshoot of.
Its near midnight and I’m done with forts and hoping to venture into castles next. The last castle I stayed in was 5 years ago in Scotland (Blackcraig castle) and would love to repeat that experience soon where I have maids waiting to serve moi day and night. The diva side of Fijianchick is always a given 🙂