Illegal Alien – Al Fujairah, United Arab Emirates

After Muscat, we didn’t have far to go to hit our next port in the United Arab Emirates. I decided to make an early night of it but for some reason, I wasn’t too thrilled about this next port. We were not scheduled to go there to begin with and it didn’t really look like there was much to do or see when researching it.

I woke up still on the fence about whether or not to get off the ship. I had a light breakfast of oatmeal, muesli and fruit then finished it off with a cup of tea. As I peered out at the ultra boring port we had just land, I realized this was not the place for me. I was speaking to one of staff in the corridor down from my room when the hotel director passed by regretfully informing me I wasn’t allowed to get off the ship. What?! Not allowed, I thought? Surely it had to be a joke. Eddie has quite a sense of humor so I assumed that he was pulling my leg.

I called down to the office and sure enough, I was informed that none of the 11 Canadians onboard were legally allowed off the ship. We don’t have visa clearance and could be faced with a hefty fine if we were caught. The front desk was careful in their wording letting me know that technically they couldn’t let me off the ship, but they couldn’t really keep me on it either. I live for these kinds of loopholes. Naturally, I took the challenge.

When I went through the security gate, the guard swiped my card and a big red flashing note came up. He was about to say something and I interrupted him with a secretive “I know” my eyebrows raised dramatically. Amused by my secret-agentness, he winked with a nod then looked the other way while I scurried down the gangplank. I was hella impressed with the whole operation…it was fun to indulge my surreptitious side knowing it was really not hurting anyone. I could almost hear the Mission Impossible theme in the background of my brain.

There really wasn’t anything here that stood out to me so I fell back on my ol’standby activities. Supermarket tourist! The cabbie drove through the clean but almost deserted streets dropping me off at a “mall”. There were lots of stores in a row so plenty of exploring to keep me busy for at least a couple of hours. I went through all the aisles of the supermarket inspecting weird and wonderful products including some “Armella” which is like a Nutella knockoff. Clearly.
When I tired of the supermarket, I discovered the second level which had clothing and small appliances. Its much like Superstore back home which is a one stop shop. There were not too many people out shopping this day save for a few burka clad ladies and their husbands in tow. Not many children, I’m afraid. Not prime people watching that is for sure.

Since there were no kids, the small indoor amusement park was abandoned except for a few dreary staff lazing around near their stations. I had fun jumping on and off the rides for photo ops but even my silly energy barely stirred them from their slumber. They seemed bored out of their tree. Are there ever any kids in there?

Next I hit the wedding gown store and learned that these intricately jeweled dresses averaged 4000 UAE. Great! I thought to myself…if and when I ever need one of these things, this is where I shall come. Then I learned that was just to rent the thing. The shopkeeper snootily corrected herself informing me it is 45,000 ($11000 CAD) to buy. Oh. Nevermind.

There were some sweets to be had but nothing really stood out and all the shops began to look the same. I didn’t really need anything so back to the ship I went. I really felt I had completed my stint as an emissary of freedom. It was a bit ironic that in the paper that I picked up there was an article on the front page about the “diplomatic spat” between Canada and UAE. “Last December, the UAE Embassy announced Canadian citizens would no longer receive free tourist visas and would instead pay up to $1,000 Canadian dollars to enter the country.” Apparently Sheik Abdallah has come to his senses and is softening his hard stance on us harmless Canucks. Anyway, it’s not like I will be rushing back to Fujairah anytime soon unless I’m on my way to Dubai.

Grateful for rebelliousness.

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2 Responses to Illegal Alien – Al Fujairah, United Arab Emirates

  1. Lana says:

    Loving this journey of your Carmella … peace

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