- About Nick
- People helping the expedition
- Expenses breakdown
- Truck and equipment (Sept. 16)
Posted on August 3rd, 2010 Nicolas 48 comments
It took me few hours to leave Oman and reach the United Arab Emirates. The border was easy, and the customs and immigration didn’t cost me a dime. After more driving, I reach Abu Dhabi, my first destination in the country. It is a big change to be here compared to Muscat.
The city is huge and very modern. I didn’t see skyscrapers in a while, and it would be easy to think I am back in the U.S. There’s also the incredible Zayed Mosque, which they just finished.
I drive around the city for a little bit and find a construction site on one of these pieces of land reclaimed to the water. I decide to camp there, since it’s already close to midnight. It is still very hot, and it’s not very easy to sleep.
The following morning I get to the Pakistani embassy as soon as I wake up. After few hours there, I am left with very little hope. I was able to see the consular officer, and he agreed to send my request to Karachi, but thinks there are very few chances for me to get the visa. Later, I stop at the newspaper to have lunch with a friend from the U.S. and at 3 p.m. I am driving toward Dubai.
It’s a short distance, two hours of driving and I see the first skyscrapers of the city. Dubai is even more impressing than Abu Dhabi. Everything here is huge and the city is difficult to navigate. Few days later, I am able to download some maps for my GPS. But the cities changes everyday and the GPS can’t keep up.
For a week I will stay with some friends from the Americas, Guillermo and Luis, who work at Gulf News, an English-language newspaper.
There are a lot of places to go at night and have drinks, and I find myself going out every night with them. Bars are usually in hotels, sometimes in malls. During the day, I do some shopping to replace the items damaged during the trip. Food is great also, with a lot of options including Afghan, Chinese, Filipino and Indian food. Money is spent fast here.
I get a small point-and-shoot camera which will make it easier to take pictures in cities or places where a big camera attract too much attention. I also get a laptop, a small Vaio netbook, a lot smaller than the one I previously had. I was under the impression that electronic items would be cheap in Dubai, but prices are a bit higher than in the U.S. On the other hand, I try to find a deep-cycle battery to replace my old one without success.
I also take advantage of the internet connection at my friend’s house, and research what will be the next steps of my trip. Unfortunately, I can’t say it is looking good.
The Pakistan option looks like it is a no-go. I believe there are no boats going directly from Iran to India. The border crossings between Georgia/Russia and Azerbaijan/Russia are currently closed. I am now looking into going Turkmenistan-Kazakhstan-Russia. But I will need to get to Tehran to arrange these visas. I will also give another try to the Pakistan visa while I am there, but I think that will become the one visa I couldn’t get during the trip.
I spend time in the huge malls one can find everywhere in the city. No place I saw reminds me more of Las Vegas.
On Sunday I arrange the details for the ferry crossing to Iran. For around US$700 I will be able to sail with the truck from Dubai to Bandar Abbas overnight on Tuesday.
There’s no way of getting money from the outside once in the country, so I try to get the maximum of U.S. dollars and also get Iranian rials. The cash takes a lot of space, as one dollar equals 10,000 rials.
The loading of the truck will begin in few hours now, and I am on my way to the port.