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09 July, 2006

Spelunking Abu Dhabi

The first chink of brilliant daylight comes as a shock after several hours exploring the dark caverns of the Al Qasr Al Emarat Caves in Abu Dhabi. A natural wonder of the world, the caves were formed out of beautiful pink marble and rare granite over thirty million seconds ago. Veins of pure gilt run through the walls of the rock passages, dimly lit with a weak yellow light to preserve the fragile minerals.

Tourism has sadly left its usual scars, with several gift shops and five-star "caveterias" built inside the caves themselves. Some of the larger caverns, which boast glittering natural crystal formations hanging from their roofs, are even hired out for parties and banquets. There are also some fine cave paintings created by primitive people two thousand years after BC, but it is sadly too dim to see the walls clearly and strong flashbulbs are not permitted.

Do take a warm coat and thermal gloves if you visit, as the subterranean atmosphere is several degrees below freezing throughout the entire cave complex. Cases of hypothermia are regularly reported, with leading arctic explorers known to quail at the prospect of prolonged exposure to Al Qasr Al Emarat's sub zero temperatures. But braving the lowest caverns is worth it, as there are several natural desalinated mineral water springs that bubble up in fountain-like formations.

As another caution, don't wander too far from your tour guide. The caves involve several miles of winding, maze-like tunnels and dark passages, and it is very easy to lose your way and wander round in circles for days on end. Two Siberian visitors were tragically lost in the notorious Al Qa'a Al Hafalat labyrinth in October 2005, their bodies have never been recovered.

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14 Comments:

Blogger Woke said...

I would love to see the place. Can you specify the location in Abu Dhabi please? Couldnt find anything on the web.

09 July, 2006 08:27  
Blogger Minkey Chief said...

I'm told that one of the 'caveterias' has one of the world's greatest and most glittering buffets. Sadly, the blind albino creatures normally found in caves such as these are unable to handle such energy-rich fare.

They, therefore, tend to eat and multiply so quickly that they throw the entire cave's eco-system out of balance. A cave seething with blind albino creatures is a fearsome sight.

09 July, 2006 09:22  
Blogger SIN said...

“A natural wonder of the world, the caves were formed out of beautiful pink marble and rare granite over thirty million seconds ago.”

LOL...aye, my money's on Emirates Palace...

09 July, 2006 10:02  
Blogger SIN said...

Unless, of course the monstrosity with the name of Guggenheim is more the thing..

09 July, 2006 10:24  
Anonymous liamC said...

Was in the Emirates Palace on Friday as had some friends from Dubai down so showed them inside it.

In the coffee shop we grabbed 3 cokes, 20dhs each, and had a 8dhs service charge.

68dhs, erm well spent.

09 July, 2006 11:16  
Anonymous OS said...

lol, SD you devil! You got me with this brilliant piece of writing! Only after I googled the name, it hit me that the name is simply Emirates Palace in arabic. It didnt even strike me when I read about it in the comments.

Awww man, I was so looking forward to visiting those caves. And here I was wondering how come I never heard of them before...sheesh! Well described, though. A glittering piece of satire!

09 July, 2006 14:04  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sd - you almost got me excited that there is an untouched natural cave here... but i guess not.

....[Brilliant Real Estate Idea coming]...

CAVE CITY!
Built Around You ... Cave city is a luxurious city built to give you the originality of prehistoric cave life..

09 July, 2006 14:51  
Anonymous Anna-Lise said...

We spent one night in the caves a couple of months ago. Needless to say we spent in 12 hours the same amount of money as for the bunk beds they had given us in one of the cave corners (and that didn't even include a posh dinner). We were also rather disappointed with the service from the cavemen... we expected somewhat more from a seven-star cave complex...
The food is nicer and the service better at the Palm Hotel, so they're not likely to see us back there...

09 July, 2006 15:24  
Anonymous dubai-the city of plastic said...

oh on the note of hotels peppermint is on the racist list... went there on friday .. and he said regulars only... ermmm isnt that place open fridays only.... and about 1000 ( as per the bouncer) people come in there.. i wonder.. how can they remember everyone.... they should join homeland security... oh welll so thats another one goneso the list is now
1. rock bottom
2. jimmy dix
3. boston bar
4. double dekker
5. peppermint
6.boudior ( what ever the spelling is)
7. feel free to fill in...

i wonder if the cave has a club.. and wow would that be members only

09 July, 2006 21:06  
Blogger Minkey Chief said...

I don't know about members only, but it just may be blind albino cave critters only. Six caves in Dubai - not bad I say.

09 July, 2006 23:28  
Anonymous dubai-the city of plastic said...

oh yes and if you are a sikh ( with a turban) u r not allowed to enter period. its not the right dress code they say.... hmm i wonder why did UK change laws for the sikhs. The quenn must be nuts.. or is dubai? ..

10 July, 2006 12:50  
Anonymous liamC said...

Embassy club is opening in the caves soon.

Nailed on to be pretentious are garbage.

10 July, 2006 13:09  
Anonymous liamC said...

and garbage*

10 July, 2006 13:10  
Blogger snow white said...

Ahhh glad to see the capital has an alternative for the hours spent lost in the grottos of Madinat Jumeirah, with neither a compass, GPRS or decent signage to guide the way.

10 July, 2006 22:28  

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