Dune Bashing

This weekend, for the first time in my entire six-year stay in this enormous construction site of a desert of Dubai, I went on a Safari.

It was brilliant.

It really was like in a Land Cruiser TV commercial where you see the car going up and down the dunes effortlessly. Except that I was in the car and it was anything but smooth, but that is part of the experience.

We set out at noon after being delayed by yours truly – I went down in the morning to see someone with a lorry has reversed in the parking lot and rammed into my car. Bugger ran off too as usual. Thankfully there is only a minor dent on the side door as well as a scratch extending the entire width. Everything else seems ok (knock wood). We called the police and an hour and a half later we called them again to “cancel our order”. They were busy with another accident (amusing they have like one patrol car for the entire city). I wasn’t going to let anything ruin my trip.

So we set off and met with the other Land Cruisers who were waiting for us in a remote petrol station that looks like it was featured in the recent Resident Evil movie. They didn’t have the AC and freezers working so everyone was buying the ice creams before they melted. It was funny.

We then rode off in a single file and suddenly swerved into the sand and our bumpy ride started. For the next hour we were dune bashing, going up and down dunes as if they were made of water. It was incredibly wobbly and I had my entire camera equipment with 4 different lenses (which I realized was idiotic of me because I bought with me a macro lens instead of a telephoto lens, sigh). Anyway, I tried to take photos when the car was reasonably steady.

A guy from another car couldn’t take it and we had to stop while he finished vomiting.

We were the only Arabs, myself and my friends. The rest were a German group who were utterly dull (no Asma I am not being racist), an incredibly cute Japanese imperial family (as in the entire family tree up to someone who is probably the last Samurai) and some odd man who was speaking in classic Arabic. My Palestinian friends were thoroughly entertained by this man while I was chuckling away at the Wasabi Clan.

After the dune bashing, we rested on a pretty high dune to watch the sunset and take photos. Man, treading up and down the dunes on foot is an exercise. The sand was incredibly soft and my entire foot up to the ankle sank in with every step. It is a good thing I spent the last weeks running because I had the stamina to climb the bigger dunes while my friends stayed at the bottom mihmihmih.

Later we went to this remote village-like tent made of straws and stuff, where we rode camels, had dinner and watched some belly dancing. The dancing was atrocious. I find it insulting when they bring non-Arabs to do the belly dancing. Utterly ridiculous. But it was fun as she forced the old man from the Wasabi Clan and his 573 year old wife to dance with her. It was hilarious.

Then my Palestinian friends got jealous and they all went down to the dance floor and circled around the belly dancer in a quick and light dabkeh dance.

But it was a different story how she ended up ignoring them and asked me, the photographer, to come up and be with her on a lead group dance. It was awesome and I sparked a lot of jealousy from my fellow hormonal friends. It was a testosterone fight all the way back.

Our trip had to be cut a bit short as the nocturnal animals started appearing and within minutes the camp was being overrun by enormous spiders the size of my fist and scorpions. It was amusing how the Wasabi Clan shrieked in horror and people started fleeing.

And that was the end of our trip.