Walking past a pyramid-shaped mosque, it was impossible to miss the building of the Scientific Center: partly hidden behind trees, I could already see the sails on top of the building. Before entering the building, I went to the small harbour next to it, squeezed in between the sea and the Scientific Center, where I saw several traditional wooden boats on display. The largest and most impressive one was a dhow, but I also liked the smaller sambuks and other boats used for fishing the Persian Gulf in the pre-oil era. I entered the air-conditioned Scientific Center building, skipped all the entertainment and food sections, and directly went to the aquarium which was the only reason for my visit.
Stepping into a dark room, my eyes had to adjust. There were many displays and educational opportunities, but this time, I just wanted to enjoy the sights. Besides, probably because this was a day off, there were many groups of kids around, who were already fighting to be in front. I saw penguins, an odd sight considering I was in the Middle East, otters, and other marine animals in smaller tanks. I especially liked the colourful tropical fish that looked brilliant in this setting; most of all the sea horses, elegant lion fish and the incredible stone fish. One other special sight was a tall tank full of smaller fish, with a computer screen and a lonely kid right in front. The dark blue light radiating from the tank somehow gave it a futuristic look. I moved on until I reached the largest tank of the aquarium.
The largest tank, obviously, also holds the largest animals, and the first ones I saw were black- and white tipped reef sharks. The most elegant animal in this tank was probably the spotted ray, which was flapping its enormous wings, always followed by its long tail. It could almost have been a bird circling the sky. I wondered how it felt, confined in this space - it could not really gain speed, it could not swim forward, and was forced to always make turned, go up or down, and swim around the other fish. Walking to the other side of the same big tank, the first thing to notice were two big sharks who, unlike the small reef sharks I saw before, had a mean-looking face. The sight of the light filtering through the water from above, with the silhouettes of people gathered in front of it, was, again, beautiful. At the same time, kids were running around here, rushing to the tank, and slamming their fists on the glass of the tank, shouting "Shark, shark!" It was easy to understand their excitement. The aquarium had given me a good opportunity to finally see all those animals I had so often seen while scuba-diving, in a different way, and take pictures of them. When I opened the exit door, I stepped out of this underwater world, and my eyes had to adjust again to the bright light of the real one.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Scientific Center (). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Scientific Center.
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