Saturday, November 05, 2005

Sun and LOTS of Sand

I went on a desert safari this weekend!! It was AWESOME!

We started off at 3 pm when the driver picked us up from home. We drove east, all the way to the Dubai-Hatta road (which is almost in Oman). We stopped at this spot where there were 3 small shops. Two were grocery stores and the other one sold souvenirs at outrageous prices to stupid tourists. Of course, the grocery was raking in money cos it had the advantage of being located in the middle of nowhere! My friend was outraged when he was told the price of a Kodak film would be 25 AED (it usually it costs 7 AED!).

We bought ice creams and Pepsi and waited for about half an hour there, waiting for all the vehicles to gather before we went dune bashing. I got tired of all the waiting so went and asked one of the organisers [let’s call him CG, for Cute Guy ;o) ] why we had to wait for everyone else. He told me that dune-bashing is always done in a group, cos we were going into the desert and if anything happened, we could get help.

We finally set off into the desert, and though I’ve lived in this country for the major part of my life, I had never experienced the power of the desert before. I had a newfound respect for those Bedouins who crossed the desert on camels and survived. And for the Arabs who made this country what it is today from what it was. I, had sunscreen to protect my skin, sunglasses to protect my eyes, and was in the climate-controlled environment of a powerful Toyota land cruiser. The Bedouins had nothing but the will to survive. It was just a sport for me, dune- bashing. But for them, the desert was a way of life, one which I can’t even begin to imagine.

I soon realised what CG was talking about when he called this a group activity. We were going up this particularly high hill when our vehicle just slid sideways, sand flying all over, covering us. And there we were, the left side of the vehicle stuck in the all-encompassing sand. And the harder our driver tried to get us out, the deeper we sank into the sand. Everyone stopped. The whole group! Our driver got out and started scooping the sand away from the tyres. Another, more experienced driver got into the cruiser, and two others came up and directed from the outside. A lot of the people in the other vehicles took videos. I couldn’t take pictures. I was too busy hanging from my seatbelt! But I did take pictures of other vehicles stuck in a similar manner, although our land cruiser was stuck in a more dangerous angle.

After dune bashing we were taken to the campsite. We went for camel rides and then when we got back. The campsite was this huge ground which was surrounded by small tents. One of the tents served Arabic coffee and dates. Another tent had Arabic costumes that we could wear and take pictures. There was this lady in one of the tents who was applying henna tattoos, which was really cool! I got one on my leg. :o)

There was a stage at the centre and a lot of low tables around the stage. We had cushions for seats. It was very comfortable. It was a nice cool evening. Everything was just perfect!
The food was delicious! We started off with shawarmas, and then there were barbequed chicken legs, lamb chops, and kebabs with homuz (which is a dip made of chickpeas, really delicious with above mentioned bbqed stuff!) and rice and Arabic bread and chicken curry and lots of other stuff too.

Then there was the belly dancing. Boy! Can she move or what!

I’ve posted a few pictures. But really, it doesn’t do justice! And anyway, I was enjoying myself too much to be bothered about taking pictures!

It was a perfect kind of day! My best Eid ever! :o)


Jithu said...

the vehicles so precauriously rolling thru the sand! it'd've been a breath-taking journey i guess.. liked the second pic very much, may be bcoz of the absence of non-natural things like cars, 'humans' et al. and the belly dancer, she is HOT!!! ;-))

silverine said...

The second picture of the swirling sand is cool!

sheela_b said...

It sounds an awesome venture that i'd always want to go for. So, Sonia,u finally got a life for this weekend,huh? Happy for u and get a little jealous :-)Maybe I should try it once when i visit Dubai someday.

ToOothlEss WOndeR! said...

i thought I was gonna make YOU jealous!
now just look at that!
but i'm not gonna give up.. no ways.. next year, we'l do a himalayan safari on bikes and post the snaps.. nan na na na na!

and i particularly liked the belly dancer ;-).. i suppose they dont have that kinda stuff in the himalayas. :-(

by the way, my trip ended up nasty, i got bruised again, because the rocks had too much moss, and it was raining everyevening.. and i lost quite some blood to the leeches, and the snaps have tot come yet.. so, on the whole the trip was a decent disaster, and that's why i am NOT going to do a post about it..

lash said...

second one looks gud..

Mirage said...

Belated happy Eid!! Wow girl u had some fun!! Desert safari...woohoo!Sigh! I'll go on one too...someday!!

Thanu said...

Never though deserts were fun. But the picts look amazing. Glad that u had a great Eid

Keshi said...

Goshhh Sonia seems like u had a very unique and beauuuuutiful experience last weekend! WOW! I wish I was there too...

Lots of sand, sun and people...what a great place to be...I have never been to a desert even though Aus is full of deserts...some day soon I will, now that u brought out the desire in me :)


Joker said...

looks like you had a good time and i hope the break has relaxed you as well. Hows you feeling now? :-)

hope you have some more pics.. of the landscapes et. al.

Sonia said...

jithu: yes, it was amazing! i loved every minute of it! :o)

silverine: it's really very beautiful in real life!

sheela_b: yup! finally had a great weekend! and you should try it! it's REALLY cool!

toothless: lol! no i doubt they'll have belly dancers in the himalayas! and i'm sorry ur trip wasn't good! i'm sure the himalayas will be better!

lash: lots of people seem to think so! dunno why though!

mirage: Eid Mubarak to you too! i did have fun! you must go too one day! and if you do, call me, and i'll join you! :o)

thanu: deserts can be a lot of fun! next time i'll ride those dune buggys and go sand boarding too!

keshi: yeah, it's really great! you shud try it! and now i feel like i should charge the tourist company commision for promoting it! *grin*

joker: i had a great time! :o) and the break was just what i needed! totally relaxed and happy! i do have more pics,but they all have me in them! :o( so i'll have to edit a few b4 posting!

First Rain said...

Wahhhh :(( I want a desert safari tooo!

Glad that you had a super time. :D

Keshi said...

lol Sonzz u should :)


hotICE said...

Lucky you!!! I'd been for a Desert Safari only once! Thrilling it is!!

nice one.. keep it going

Rahul said...

well! That was quite something sonia, and here iam piled with homework. I too have been mystified and enamoured by bedouin culture. Zionist literature introduced them to me, bashing them; but since, i have been exposed to many aspects of the desert culture and have loved it all. But one thing i hate is being in the desert myself, i'll be parched inside out in no time ;-)

Sonia said...

FR: you really should try it sometime! if ever you come here, give me a call and we'll go! :o)

keshi: hmm! yeah, i really should! see how many people have commented they wanna go? ( but i think that's cos of the pic of the belly dancer more than anything else!)

hotice: this was my first time too! it's really great! i'm gonna go again without my parents and have more fun!

rahul: you wudn't be parched don't worry. like i said, you'd be in the climate controlled environment of a toyota land cruiser. and we go to the campsite at night, and it's cool then, and there are LOTS of drinks and all! trust me, you'll have the time of your life!

lash said...

next post please.. :))

KJ said...

Sorry. Had missed out your earlier 4 posts. was just going thru them.
looks like u had a good time this LONG weekend. Hubby dear had gone for the desert safari 15 days ealier. to his badluck there was NO
belly dancing as it was Ramadan.

i was :-))

how was diwali?


Kahini said...

Grin. You gonna learn belly dancing? Might as well since you're there!

Sonia said...

lash: i've been in a weird mood lately. so gimme some time.

kj: diwali was ok, ate too many sweets, lit a lot of diyas, wore sari to work and tripped and stumbled all day!

kahini: you gotta have the belly for it too! and i unfortunately do NOT!

Lost in trance... said...

WOW! Glad you had that time out you needed badly :)

ToOothlEss WOndeR! said...

8-0 a weird mood is the best muse! make the best of it before it goes away..
shit, i wonder what a weird mood feels like!

hey, cheer up girl!, i would say, write and then listen to some elvis - not the other way. write, and then listen and then dance!

just look at all the readership that you have!


the wise old man said...

You should try dune bashing on a three wheeled buggy. Did it the last time I was in Dubai...and its bloody awesome!!

dee said...

i was going to read the post, but then i saw the belly dancer.

Sonia said...

lost in trance: yup! :o)

toothless wonder: naa, it doesn't work that way for me.

zerish: i'm gonna do that next time. also sand boarding.

dee: and then what happened?

susubala said...

All lovely pictures...Rare scene for us in India....

Hope u enjoyed the Belly dance...Great...go ahead..