Earlier this year I had the opportunity to meet my parents in the UAE over the course of my school’s winter holiday. It was a nice escape from Saudi and everything that had been happening at work.
I set out from Dammam early Thursday morning, driving to the border at Batha, and continued on to Ajman, the Emirate just north of Dubai. It was a fairly peaceful drive until Abu Dhabi. Then it was stop and go for a few hours. I had an interesting time waiting over the midnight hours at Arrivals at DBX, then shared some jetlagged cocktails in the early hours of the morning catching up with my folks.
We spent some time on the Ajman Corniche enjoying the decent weather and taking in the interesting assortment of people, then enjoyed an evening sheesha at the Kempinski.
We took a day trip to Fujairah, on the eastern coast of the UAE, then drove through some of the mountains on the way back to Ajman.
We spent some time in and around Dubai proper, walking the Dubai Creek and its souqs, walking through the Dubai mall with all its extravagance, and took in the views from the viewing deck of the Burj Khalifa.
Another day trip involved an early morning drive north to the Khasab Penisula of Oman. We spent the morning on a mountain safari, driving up the ‘highway’ to Jebel Harat to take in the views. The afternoon involved a quick stop at a local museum and what ended up being a private dhow cruise through the Fjords to Telegraph Island.
Our last day trip was to the desert oasis of Al Ain, in the southwest. We had an easy drive to the city through the rolling sand dunes, spotting the occasional wandering camel herd. We had a nice curry for lunch, toured a few local museums, and drove through one of larger oases. Unfortunately it was the Prophet’s birthday, so we had to forgo booze for the evening and much of the next day, but it could have been worse.
The last day we opted to spend the day on the beach, mostly surrounded by Russian tourists who enjoyed the chilly ocean temps a bit more than we did, but it was relaxing nonetheless.
I set out early the next morning and had a fairly uneventful drive back to Saudi. It was good to see my parents and catch up face to face after five months abroad. More than anything, I was glad to receive some good advice and reassuring words after several months of not knowing if what I was putting myself through would ever really be worth it.
"If you're happy, then don't worry about it. Dipshits who think they know it all will always be there. You just keep living your life how you've always wanted to live it. There's always some poor asshole who wishes he could've done what you've done, so don't worry about it. Naysayers be damned. You've proved them wrong and you always will..."