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April 4, 2002

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The open border between UAE and Oman at the Buraimi oasis dispenses with formalities. Visitors can cross freely between the two countries at the sister towns of Al Ain, UAE and Buraimi, Oman. Idiosyncracies occur. Cabs charge double to cross the road between the two places. Many people instruct the cabbie to stop at the border, then they get out, walk 30 yards, and catch a new cab across the border. Prices are much better in Buraimi, due to Oman's weaker economy. We stayed at a hotel in Buraimi for less than half the cost of others nearby in the UAE. Since Buraimi is the much poorer sister to Al Ain, the fancy shopping infrastructure and rich residential quarters sit in Al Ain. This afternoon we entered Oman via Buraimi and headed towards our next destination, Muscat. Oman's borderpost is 50 km outside of Buraimi, so we received our entry stamps there. With the borderpost outside of town, Omani tourists in Buraimi get stamped out of Oman even though they're still within the country. UAE is stranger. There is no UAE borderpost at the bordertown of Al Ain so we didn't get an exit stamp. We've never left a country without an exit stamp before; should be interesting for us when we try to re-enter the UAE in a few days.
Jill demonstrates that you can walk easily from the UAE to Oman at Al Ain. No border formalities, just some Arabs who don't understand why tourists find this so interesting.
First thing we noticed about Oman - most decorated roundabouts in the world.
Omanis also have an affinity for watch towers. Old stone towers dot the country like forgotten chess pieces.