تَقَبَّلَ اللّهُ مِنَّ وَ مِنْكُمْ
May Allah accept (the fast and worship) from you and from us.
“I have always loved the desert. One sits down on a desert sand dune, sees nothing, hears nothing. Yet through the silence something throbs, and gleams…” ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
I was away from the social media this Eid and the day after, so my sincere apologies to my friends and readers for the late greetings. For all those who celebrated, I hope you had a fabulous Eid this year. And to those who are going through very difficult times, our prayers and thoughts are with you.
On the morning of Eid, we attended the prayers at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium, where the importance of peace, solidarity, tolerance, respect, and following the teachings of Islam and the Prophet Mohammed (صلى الله عليه و سلم) were prominent in the sermon. This was followed by a calorie-laden breakfast at a Pakistani Restaurant, where we ordered paya and nihari.
Lunch was at my place. My sisters promptly dashed off to the bedrooms to sleep, while my mother-in-law and I made some very fragrant Hyderabadi chicken biryani. My sister-in-law prepared kaddu ki kheer, which was very delicious.
It was during dessert that the impulsive decision was made, as always, to go somewhere. It took a while to decide where to go because first, we couldn’t agree on a destination and second, we’ve practically seen the entire country multiple times. We ended up driving towards Al Ain on a whim.
The picture above was taken on our way to Al Ain. There’s a huge stretch of desert all the way and, for some unexplainable reason, I just can’t seem to get enough of the red sand. The desert of Arabia is beautiful and mysterious. It is magnificent and commanding.
Somewhere during our long drive, the sand began to blow and notice how it has covered the entire road. It’s fascinating to watch the sand particles dance and slither it’s way across the road like a snake.
And after a while of driving through the desert, we were greeted by this:
Al Ain means the spring and is the greenest city in the country.
For those familiar with the emirates and cities of the UAE, Al Ain is famous for its towering landmark, the Jebel Hafeet (the post was written way back during my early days of blogging. The photos and narration are cringeworthy but I suppose it’s also proof that I’ve improved a little bit in the years that followed).
At the feet of Jebel Hafeet lies the beautiful park called Green Mubazzarah. This park is special because this was one of the last projects of Sheikh Zayed, the country’s founding president. I’m told that Sheikh Zayed was often referred as “the man who turned the deserts green”.
Everyone dips their toes in this stream where hot water flows freely all throughout the year. The initial skin to water contact isn’t too comfortable, but once you get used to the heat, it feels like your feet are getting a nice massage. I saw a little boy lying in the middle of the stream with his eyes closed.
According to local geologists, the hot spring source lies deep underground, the result of thousands of years of tectonic plate movement. This movement created fractures that serve as channels bringing water up to the surface.
There was news of a mild earthquake the other day. You see, the UAE lies near areas of active earthquake zones, the main tectonic area lying beneath Iran so that whenever there’s an earthquake there we feel the tremors all the way to Dubai and Sharjah. The occurrence of these seismic activity causes the fractures to occur, and through these fractures the water rises to the surface.
The water temperature of the springs at the Green Mubazzarah is between 40°C and 45°C indicating that it’s coming from as deep as two kilometres underground, as the water heats up by 25°C for every 1,000 metres that it travels to the surface.
The Historic Mubazara Dam
We had not planned on visiting the dam. Frankly speaking, we weren’t even aware of its existence. We just saw the sign on the way to Green Mubazara and thought, oh why not!
This dam was created by Sheikh Zayed in 1955. For a young country such as the UAE, it seems to me that anything that’s built before 2000 is considered historic.
Given that it’s the middle of the summer here, it was quite obvious that we weren’t going to see any water in the dam. But we wanted to see history with our own eyes, observe how things were built back in 1955.
Do you see the dam?
With us on Eid was a good family friend, Shahzad. Two years ago, this young man took us to see Thaddo Dam, located a few kilometers outside Karachi. It was a fun trip for all of us. Naturally, he was curious about Mubazara Dam.
There’s nothing else to see here except that tiny structure and I can’t seem to find any information online about this dam. However, there are several chalets nearby. I assume people drive out here during the cooler months and stay for a few days for BBQ and to enjoy being close to nature.
A blog post with more details of Green Mubazarah here.
How did you spend your Eid?