On a clear night, the road can be seen from all of Al Ain.
On a clear night, the road can be seen from all of Al Ain.

Views from Jebel Hafeet



AL AIN // Unloading their bicycles from their car's roof rack at the base of Jebel Hafeet, the German tourists Johannes and Frida Schwarz look up at the peak.

As they mount their bicycles, Johannes tells Frida: "See you at the top."

Frida laughs: "Yes, after I get there first."

With that they start racing up the mountain which, at a height of 1,240 metres, is the UAE's second highest peak after the 1,527m Jebel Yibir in Ras al Khaimah. Ahead of them, on what the motoring website www.edmunds.com calls the best driving road in the world, is an 11.7km stretch of road on an eight per cent gradient featuring 22 turns.

On a clear night, the road can be seen from all of Al Ain. Each weekend, thousands of people - tourists, motorists and local residents alike - make the trip up the mountain.

Tetsui Yakamora, an American engineer who lives in Texas, is staying with his parents from Nagoya, Japan, at the Mercure Jebel Hafeet hotel. He is here to see the Al Nahyan palace.

"We have been in Dubai for the last five days and enjoyed it but wanted to come to Al Ain," he says.

"The tour book said that this is where Sheikh Zayed is from and that many forts and palaces are here.

"We are spending one night at the hotel so we can see the view of the city during the day and then at night."

But having reached the peak, he is underwhelmed. "More could have been done with this space," he says. "I would have liked to have seen a museum dedicated to the mountain's history and how this road was constructed.

"Instead there is a cheap restaurant, a cafe and this empty parking lot. This space has much potential."

Driving back down to the Mercure Jebel Hafeet, which stands 915m above sea level, he walks around the hotel.

"The view from here is mesmerising," he says, looking down from the hotel restaurant to the Hot Springs Green Mubazarrah Resort at the mountain's base. "Tomorrow morning we will go down there then go sightseeing in Al Ain."

Mr Yakamora's seven-year-old son was similarly underwhelmed by the mountaintop. "I didn't like it. I got [car] sick. But I like the pool," he says, paddling happily.

But for Jack, a Syrian IT engineer in his 20s, the car park on top of Jebel Hafeet has an altogether different purpose - practising skids in his car.

"It's flat, long and wide," he says. His friend boasts that most of the skid marks on the car park's asphalt are Jack's handiwork.

"It's not really that dangerous at night because there is hardly anyone up there," says Jack. Still, the only protection at the edge of the car park is a rusting metal railing. Beyond that is a sheer drop of hundreds of metres.

For others, Jebel Hafeet is a place for a romantic evening getaway under the starry sky.

"This is where I met my husband three years ago," says Maria Trinidad, a worker in an Al Ain restaurant. "It's the most romantic place in Al Ain.

"On our anniversary, my husband brings me up here. We watch the stars and when we see a shooting star we promise one another to be back up here in another year.

"Sometimes we wait all night just holding each other waiting."

She has never been disappointed by the heavens, she says.

"Every year we see a shooting star. To us it's a sign from God that the next year will be a good one."

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Haltia.ai
Started: 2023
Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends

TYPES OF ONLINE GIG WORK

Design, multimedia and creative work: Logo design, website design, visualisations

Business and professional management: Legal or management consulting, architecture

Business and professional support: Research support, proofreading, bookkeeping

Sales and marketing support: Search engine optimisation, social media marketing

Data entry, administrative, and clerical: Data entry tasks, virtual assistants

IT, software development and tech: Data analyst, back-end or front-end developers

Writing and translation: Content writing, ghost writing, translation

Online microtasks: Image tagging, surveys

Source: World Bank

The burning issue

The internal combustion engine is facing a watershed moment – major manufacturer Volvo is to stop producing petroleum-powered vehicles by 2021 and countries in Europe, including the UK, have vowed to ban their sale before 2040. The National takes a look at the story of one of the most successful technologies of the last 100 years and how it has impacted life in the UAE. 

Read part four: an affection for classic cars lives on

Read part three: the age of the electric vehicle begins

Read part two: how climate change drove the race for an alternative 

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: PlanRadar
Started: 2013
Co-founders: Ibrahim Imam, Sander van de Rijdt, Constantin Köck, Clemens Hammerl, Domagoj Dolinsek
Based: Vienna, Austria
Sector: Construction and real estate
Current number of staff: 400+
Investment stage: Series B
Investors: Headline, Berliner Volksbank Ventures, aws Gründerfonds, Cavalry Ventures, Proptech1, Russmedia, GR Capital

Schedule

November 13-14: Abu Dhabi World Youth Jiu-Jitsu Championship
November 15-16: Abu Dhabi World Masters Jiu-Jitsu Championship
November 17-19: Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship followed by the Abu Dhabi World Jiu-Jitsu Awards

Kill

Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Klipit

Started: 2022

Founders: Venkat Reddy, Mohammed Al Bulooki, Bilal Merchant, Asif Ahmed, Ovais Merchant

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Digital receipts, finance, blockchain

Funding: $4 million

Investors: Privately/self-funded

Naga

Director: Meshal Al Jaser

Starring: Adwa Bader, Yazeed Almajyul, Khalid Bin Shaddad

Rating: 4/5

The burning issue

The internal combustion engine is facing a watershed moment – major manufacturer Volvo is to stop producing petroleum-powered vehicles by 2021 and countries in Europe, including the UK, have vowed to ban their sale before 2040. The National takes a look at the story of one of the most successful technologies of the last 100 years and how it has impacted life in the UAE.

Read part three: the age of the electric vehicle begins

Read part two: how climate change drove the race for an alternative 

Read part one: how cars came to the UAE

In-demand jobs and monthly salaries
  • Technology expert in robotics and automation: Dh20,000 to Dh40,000 
  • Energy engineer: Dh25,000 to Dh30,000 
  • Production engineer: Dh30,000 to Dh40,000 
  • Data-driven supply chain management professional: Dh30,000 to Dh50,000 
  • HR leader: Dh40,000 to Dh60,000 
  • Engineering leader: Dh30,000 to Dh55,000 
  • Project manager: Dh55,000 to Dh65,000 
  • Senior reservoir engineer: Dh40,000 to Dh55,000 
  • Senior drilling engineer: Dh38,000 to Dh46,000 
  • Senior process engineer: Dh28,000 to Dh38,000 
  • Senior maintenance engineer: Dh22,000 to Dh34,000 
  • Field engineer: Dh6,500 to Dh7,500
  • Field supervisor: Dh9,000 to Dh12,000
  • Field operator: Dh5,000 to Dh7,000
The Roundup : No Way Out

Director: Lee Sang-yong
Stars: Don Lee, Lee Jun-hyuk, Munetaka Aoki
Rating: 3/5

Poland Statement

All people fleeing from Ukraine before the armed conflict are allowed to enter Poland. Our country shelters every person whose life is in danger - regardless of their nationality.

The dominant group of refugees in Poland are citizens of Ukraine, but among the people checked by the Border Guard are also citizens of the USA, Nigeria, India, Georgia and other countries.

All persons admitted to Poland are verified by the Border Guard. In relation to those who are in doubt, e.g. do not have documents, Border Guard officers apply appropriate checking procedures.

No person who has received refuge in Poland will be sent back to a country torn by war.


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