The taxis are clean and fares are reasonable so we flagged one down and went straight to the Al Ain National Museum located downtown next to the Al Ain Oasis. After a short walk through the oasis we entered the museum. It was very quiet and for a while I think we were the only guests. A school group arrived and the children were well behaved, went through the museum in single file at rapid pace, with wonderfully short attention spans bringing back memories of past elementary school field trips. The students wore uniforms and most of the girls wore traditional head scarfs. The museum is well worth a visit and gave us valuable insight to the countrys' short history as well as a look back to the times of bedouins, nomads and early settlers.
Leaving the museum we wandered through the meat and vegetable market making our way up “main” street towards the Al Jahili Fort. Once again there were very few visitors and it was somewhat surreal to wander among the building imagining what life would have been like. Much easier without throngs of tourists. A surprise treat was the photography exhibit from British adventurer Sir Wilfred Thesiger and his 1940’s crossings of the Rub Al Khali (The Empty Quarter) desert. The images were humbling and awe inspiring at the same time.