Our excitement to travel to Oman and Abu Dhabi took a quick reality check today.
Anything that could have gone wrong today. . . did.
We were ½ hour late out the door, not bad for our group, but late nonetheless
Off to Oman. . .
First stop in Ajman. As I mentioned yesterday, we are still trying to remember the adjustment to the work week. We arrive in Ajman, it’s Friday morning, everything is closed. We snap a picture of the mosque . . . Gregg sits in the back, broken hearted as we drive through the souk – closed for business on Fridays. “No souks!”
Continue heading to Ras Al-Khaimah, aka R.A.K City. Again, everything is closed, this city actually looks abandoned. At this point we are starving, the only source of food we can find is the mall food court. Are you kidding me? I’ve had a lifetime’s share of food court experiences on this trip.
We grab food and continue on to Oman. . . we had long since abandoned our Mapquest directions and resorted to using google maps. . . and subsequently all of Matt’s data. The drive to Oman is beautiful, beautiful homes scattered throughout the desert, we leave the coastline view and drive towards the interior. .
Before we even realized, we were no longer on a road. . . driving along, five deep in our chevy Malibu. . .
We approach what appears to be a very small border control area. . .
“No entrance, Emiratis only”
In the famous words of Gregg Silver . . Oh boy . . .
Google maps had served us wrong. The guards were nice enough, and pointed us back in the right direction. On our drive back to the main road we began to realize this was likely some type military entrance or training area. Get us out!
We head to the ‘correct’ Oman border, park, head inside, hand over our passports
“Yes, one car for the five of us”
Apparently, when you cross the border with a rental car you need a specific form provided by the rental agency. Travis had informed them of our plans but they had failed to inform of us of the need for this form. . . boo to Budget rentals.
At this point . . .we are feeling completely defeated.
It must be said though, the border patrol agents are as nice as they come. They worked to provide alternative solutions, another rental from town, hiring a taxi, even a bike. Our phones where not working since we were now in the Oman territory and switched over from Du. . . (oh….duuuuu). The agent proceeds to hand over his personal phone for our use, many thanks to the UAE border patrol.
We were informed Travis would need to be in person to receive the form, the closest location was back in RAK city approximately 30km . . . off we go.
You must understand that this was no ordinary excursion. . . today would mark Travis’s 30th country in his passport. . . a monumentuous occasion and we were determined to make this happen
We arrive at the Budget store in RAK city, more paperwork and forms to be filled and transmitted between offices. Faxed back and forth. I think they should have been apart of the GAP program.
However, the Budget agent did go above and beyond to assist in getting our paperwork worked out.
By the time it was completed it was about 5:30pm and the team was at a cross roads. Continue on to Oman, getting at most an hour of sunlight or head back to Dubai and begin again tomorrow. The only problem with tomorrow is that we were planning on Abu Dhabi. Ultimately we decided to try again tomorrow. . . back to Dubai
Once we arrived back in our city we agreed on dinner, Lavash . . .Travis simply needed to try the 5 AED shawarma. Like everything else, this journey proved more difficult . . . the highway system is not exactly intuitive at one point we pulled up the Google maps and saw the roads were literally intersecting from every single direction.
Now back at the apartment, eating my cold Falafel wrap and I have somehow developed a cold. . .
Here’s to tomorrow. . .