First stop today, and first stop of the trip, at The Emirates National Auto Museum, a national automobile museum in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The museum is located in Al Dhafra about 45 kilometres (28 mi) south of the city of Abu Dhabi. The museum has a collection of around 200 cars belonging to Sheikh Hamad bin Hamdan Al Nahyan in a pyramid building. The collection includes off-road vehicles, classic American cars, a Mercedes “rainbow” collection of different coloured cars, an 1885 steam-powered Mercedes, and the world’s largest truck. It has been featured on the BBC television programme Top Gear.

The Sheik is one of 7 despotic warlords ruling The UAE which has been described as a “tribal autocracy” where the seven constituent monarchies are led by tribal rulers in an autocratic fashion. There are no democratically elected institutions, and there is no formal commitment to free speech.

Both civil law and sharia criminalize consensual same-sex sexual conduct between adults. Under sharia individuals could be subject to the death penalty. Dubai’s penal code allows for up to a 10-year prison sentence for conviction of such activity, while Abu Dhabi’s penal code allows for up to a 14-year prison sentence.

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