Thursday, May 12, 2016

Al Ain Oasis

I am in Al Ain, in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.  I am here to make a presentation about international collaboration on service-learning at a conference on education. Al Ain is an hour east of the city of Abu Dhabi, and an equal distance south of the city of Dubai. Al Ain, Abu Dhabi and Dubai together form an equilateral triangle.  I took advantage of a lull in the conference to run through the oasis.  

The oasis is the reason that there is a city of 650,000 people here in the middle of the desert.  I don’t think I have ever been at a real-life oasis.  So I was curious.  I found that the oasis is fenced in all around.  It took me some time to find an entrance.  Subsequently I found that there are many more.  Outside one of the entrances, I found a strange structure.  

It is criss-crossed by many paths, some of them paved and wide enough for cars to drive through.  Others, however, are little more than narrow, winding dirt paths.  

It is dotted by many mosques.  But the one thing that is plentiful is palm trees.  Specifically date palms.  

I could’t find the source of the river.  But I did find water flowing through some of the water channels.  

Outside the oasis, on the street, it was 40 degrees Celsius. But inside the oasis, under the palm trees, it was almost cool.  Even though it was 40 degrees outside, it felt more comfortable than summer in Hong Kong because it is dry here.  

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