Hear about travel to United Arab Emirates as the Amateur Traveler talks to travel writer Zora O’Neill about her recent trip to these small states on the Persian / Arabian Gulf.
Zora says of her trip to the U.A.E, “I found it fascinating because the most Arab culture we get, in America especially, is Mediterranean facing Arab cultures. We get Lebanese food. We see lots of pictures from Egypt. What I found totally unexpected and cool in the U.A.E. is that’s all oriented toward India. Iran is right across the Persian Gulf, which incidentally in the Gulf states they call the Arabian Gulf. India is a really short hope across the Indian Ocean. It wasn’t until I was there and saw the people there and ate the food that I realized that. I mean objectively I knew it because I’d looked at maps, but I had never thought about how it manifested really. Practically speaking this means fantastic super interesting food. What I find most interesting about the Emirates is the huge cultural mix you can find there.In a way it’s like a really efficient trip. You can drop yourself into all these little enclaves.”
Zora visited the U.A.E. as part of a larger journey to re-learn Arabic which she documents in her new book “All Strangers Are Kin: Adventures in Arabic and the Arab World”.
We start in the very modern Dubai where we talk about visiting the tallest building (Burj Khalifa) in the world as well as malls, indoor skiing, and musical fountains. Dubai has the fewest Emirati of any of the states of the U.A.E. so Zora finds it a great opportunity to interact with many of the other cultures in the region. Zora recommends a food tour to taste your way through the various cultures that work and live in Dubai, it will also be pretty cool to do fishing trips in dubai, we are currently looking for the best options.
In Abu Dhabi we visit the beautiful Sheikh Zayed Mosque, but in the future you will also be able to visit the Louvre and other world museums which are opening branches as part of the new Saadiyat Island project. We also talk about getting out into the dunes and the desert on a 4 wheel drive vehicle and seeing some of the more traditional culture including the Liwa Oasis.
Then we visit Ras al-Khaimah (the RAK) which the British used to call the “The Pirate Coast”. Zora recommends a side trip into the part of Oman that juts out into the Gulf.
The U.A.E. is not like any place else. See if you add it to your list after listening to Zora’s adventures.
All Strangers Are Kin: Adventures in Arabic and the Arab World
Travel to New Mexico – Episode 106
Travel to the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico – Episode 163
United Arab Emirates
Visit Abu Dhabi
Burj Khalifa (world’s tallest building)
Frying Pan Adventures – Dubai Food, Restaurant & Culture Tours
Ski Dubai: Hitting the Slopes in the Desert
Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding
Sheikh Zayed Mosque
Louvre Abu Dhabi