A short way along the coast from Dubai, and joined to it by ten kilometers of urban development and an extremely busy motorway is the city of Sharjah.
The Emirate of Sharjah has much stricter laws than neighbouring Dubai, apparently it is illegal for a man and a woman to be in a car together unless they are married or related.
Sharjah is another bustling metropolis with tall tower blocks and busy scruffy narrow back streets.
Near the centre is a large heritage area where old buildings have been restored, along with part of the old city wall.
There are a number of museums in the heritage area - Here's just a couple of shots showing a small part of the display of ceramics and pottery, and a typical kitchen from a hundred years ago.
There are lots of mosques, ranging from tiny backstreet ones to this spectacular example by the shore.
The modern building behind is the Radisson Hotel, quite impressive in its own right but hardly in keeping with the mosque.
Sharjah is, like Dubai, a maritime city and the docks are as busy as Dubai's.
I also saw some oil rig platforms under construction
Among a number of impressive souqs in the city is the Central or Blue Souq, which has two enormous two storey halls connected by two bridges.
Back in Dubai, and along the shore of the Creek is a large number of modern towers, mainly offices.
It looks like the architects were allowed a pretty free hand with the styles.
I think this one is the nineteenth hole on the Dubai Creek Golf Course.
From My Hotel Room
For the last part of my stay here I have moved to a different hotel, and instead of just another block across the alley, I now have a better view from my window.
Nearby is the jumble of low buildings that is Al Satwa, and beyond is the office and hotel towers on Sheikh Zayed Road, and Jumeira Mosque with the sea just visible behind it.
A Change Of Scenery
I took a drive across the UAE to the East Coast.
The route passes through desert at first, and then climbs into mountainous scenery.
The rocky landscape extends right to the beach at some places, such as here at Dibba.
A short deviation from the coast road up into the mountains took me to Rifaisa Dam.
Not quite the massive construction I had expected, and they seem to have let most of the water out!
Fujairah is the biggest town here, and capital of Fujairah Emirate. The fort, constructed in the 1500s, has recently been restored - I saw pictures of it as a tumbledown ruin - but they haven't quite finished yet so I couldn't get any closer than this shot.
The museum has a number of interesting exhibits, housed in what I assume was once a palace of some sort.
Sadly, I was the only visitor on a Friday afternoon.
This is another hotels/restaurants/shopping development, built very impressively in the traditional local style alongside artificial waterways on which you can take an abra ride. The shopping mall looks very much like a traditional souq.
Dubai is full of mosques, every block seems to have one, ranging from little hidden ones to enormous spectacular examples. Here's just a few:
The Iranian Mosque has some very impressive mosaic decoration.
Here's a few pictures that don't fit under any other headings:
I found this camel giving rides on the beach, just like the donkeys at Blackpool!
The largest flag in the country marks the spot where the treaty to create the United Arab Emirates was signed in 1971.
A distant view of the towers along Sheikh Zayed Road, from the breakwater at the end of Jumeira Beach.
A future development called Jumeira Beach Residence is advertised by this enormous model which appeared one day in the shopping mall at the bottom of the Emirates Towers.
This shop would appear to sell mainly pots.
The majority of signs in the UAE are in English but the signwriters often struggle with what is, to them, a foreign language.
I particularly liked this large sign advertising a power boat race at Fujairah - It looks like Wednesday could be very dramatic!