Day 352 | Wednesday March 1
Earlier this week I started with arranging the visa for India. I found out that it takes a bit more preparation as for other countries. I needed all kinds of different documents including a letter from a host in India and a paper from the Embassy stating my address in Holland is legal. So today I managed to get all the paperwork and headed to the visum company. It will take 7-15 working days before the visa is approved and another 4-5 days to get the visa stamped. A shocker for me as I’m nearing the maximum 90-days on my UAE visa and it could mean that I won’t get the India visa before the UAE one expires. The solution is a quite good one: I could a road trip to Oman! I can use the 90-days in a 6-month period so I will go to the neighbors to save up some days and when I receive the phonetical that the visa is ready I will return to the Emirates and have 9 days left to arrange everything.
Today I had to leave my permanent apartment at the Sustainable City in Dubai. Not because of the visa issues but because I could stay there until the end of February. It was great to stay here as I could charge also my own batteries. A bit more privacy, building up relationships and a desk to work on really did me well.
Because the last days were very hectic I didn’t had the time to arrange a new place to stay and luckily Jan Willem who was my first host when I arrived in Dubai took care of me again.
Day 353 | Thursday March 2
A few weeks ago I was at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi. I was approached by 2 people from Dubai International Airport. They told me they want to promote electric mobility and wanted to organize an event to raise awareness. They found my story interesting and invited me to speak at this event!
So I could park my car right next to Terminal 3 of Dubai Airport, which was already an amazing opportunity. There were 3 other EV’s: a Renault Zoe, a Prius and the Tesla Model X. Representatives from Toyota and Dewa were talking about their vision on sustainable mobility and I had the honour to be the final speaker at the event, which took place inside the terminal.
After the event it was time to start driving towards Oman. Todays goal was to reach Al Ain. Between Dubai and Al Ain there is nothing but desert and I can drive here for hours, I’m still amazed by this amount of sand. In the afternoon I reached the city and was welcomed by Gitte, the wife if Mikkel. They are Danish expats and Mikkel has been following me for a while since he saw a post about me on Linkedin shared by a Dutch friend of his who is also a contact of mine, small world huh. Yesterday I posted a request on Facebook if there was anyone in Al Ain were I could stay and he responded immediately. We found out that I have been very close to their home in Denmark a few months ago.
Al Ain is also known as the garden city due to its greenery, it’s the second large city in the Abu Dhabi Emirate and the fourth largest in the UAE. It’s also the birthplace of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nayhan, the founder of the country.
Compared to Dubai and Abu Dhabi Al Ain is very low, in terms of the buildings. It’s not allowed to build taller as the palace in the city. Al Ain is more of a traditional town with more locals instead of expats. The UAE is mostly inhabited by expats, just 15% of the population are locals and the other part people who live here temporary.
Mikkel and Gitte have 4 children and their 2 youngest daughters life with them in Al Ain. Today Gitte had her 2nd day at a new job and Mikkel works at the airport in control tower. We had a very relaxing night and even watched a movie. That was really the first time this trip I did so.
Day 354 | Friday March 3
After a relaxing morning and nice breakfast I left to Oman, the border is only 10km from Al Ain. While entering the UAE in Sharjah was a very difficult, long and expensive process, exiting was not. Not many questions were asked, I got a few stamps and 30 minutes later I was at the Oman side of the border. Also there it was very easy to enter the country.
From the minute I crossed the border the landscape changed, I was surrounded by mountains and the sand was more darker compared to the red desert in the UAE. In the afternoon I reached Sohar were I met Mohammed.
Yesterday I contacted Mohammed on Couchsurfing and he could host me for a night. He is a 25-year old who works in a oil refinery, most people in Oman work in the oil industry. He introduced me to Karak, a traditional thea mixed with milk. Sohar is located on the Arabian Sea and we walked over the corniche for a while were mainly Indian and Bengalese people were barbecuing on their day off. Oman has 2.4 million citizens of which 2 million are from Indian nationality.
Mohd lives on the 2nd floor of an apartment so we had some hassle to connect the car but with the extension cables it worked out!