This week will see my tenure in Al Ain draw to a temporary close.
Al Ain (العين The Spring), is a beautiful oasis city, about 150km east of Abu Dhabi and is the fourth largest city in the United Arab Emirates. I shall pack the last of my bags and head off back to busy Abu Dhabi, my UAE base since August 2008. Al Ain, has really grown on me - quaint, rustic, almost a semi-rural existence. It is known as the Garden City of the UAE, with it's tree-lined avenues, parks and landscaped roundabouts. There's an urban border with Buraimi in Oman and in Al Ain, you will find a higher proportion of Emiratis than elsewhere in the country.
Star attraction in town? Well, there's Jebel Hafeet, Al Ain Zoo, Green Mubazzarah (hot springs), Al Ain Town Centre, several oases, museums and a growing number of malls. The sand dunes, just outside the town, are breath-taking, and the lights on Jebel Hafeet can be seen for miles into the distance at night.
For the last couple of months, I've led a school team of educational advisors and have really enjoyed my work at Mohammed bin Khalifa working alongside an Emirati Principal, Ms Amal who is quite a formidable lady, up there amongst the best of them. I've been travelling back and forth to Abu Dhabi to see my family a couple of times a week and it seems that ultimately, the big city calls, wanting me back.
There's a notable Pashtoon expatriate community here in Al Ain. Where I have been staying in Al Jahli, the Pashtoons are from Waziristan, Kohat and Khost. A mini-Pakhtoonistan, so Salaamoona Pukhtano!