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.

Crispy Rationale

Humans have conquered 3% of their brains; they conquered each other’s lands, they conquered the immediate space and even conquered what they think is accurate science, psychology, philosophy, and everything related to being human.

What humans failed to conquer, however, is thinking in a rational manner. Case in point: Entomophobia, or, simply put, fear of insects.

Let us assume for a moment that insects are inanimate objects, much like pebbles. Would you fear a pebble? That is 1 cm in length? Probably not.

Animate that pebble though, and it is a completely different issue. Suddenly, 1cm long insects threaten an entire race of an average 167 cm tall humans.

Back in college I lived in the same dorm room for 4.5 consecutive years. During those years I had my share of experiences with all sorts of things (ghost stories in a later post) and lots of fun activities (mostly involving gaming marathons with Hamza over the breaks).

However, due to a little crack in the window, I had my share of non human visitors.

My first visitor was a spider, a particularly large one at that too. She was completely harmless and, to my utter delight, found herself a home at that very crack, to capture all other insects attempting to move into my room. I befriended the spider, called her Deathbringer, and assigned her that daunting task as part of rent.

Can I move in with you please? *eyes sparkle*

Over the course of the years, Deathbringer has saved me from countless invasions from the outside. The area near the crack was always filled with dead, webbed insects, many of which were later devoured or were left alone as a threat to newcomers.

One day though, a hideous insect crawled in from the outside. It looked like a cross between a grasshopper, a cockroach, and a mantis. Although it had wings, it never used them, and preferred to crawl slowly and rather awkwardly across my wonderfully clean and Dettol-polished floors.

When I first saw the monster I panicked. I did not know what to do. I had neither Bygone nor Pif Paf at my immediate disposal. I never even thought of resorting to these chemicals as long as I had the spider as my guardian. The thing slowly crawled across the room, often stumbling at its own disproportionate legs.

I backed against the wall, as if approached by non other than Alessa from Silent Hill. The disturbing 3 cm monster threatened my very existence in the room. I could not find the spider, and, even if I did, I worried that throwing it to battle the crawling grassroachantis thing would bring about an all-insect war in my very room.

I climbed on my bed in an attempt to escape it. I “rationally” thought that it would never be able to climb the bed, and, if it did, I would jump across the room and escape through the door, where I only would pray that the rest of the tribe would not be waiting outside – that this was all a clever plot by the grassroachantis clan to lure me outside and then capture me.

I also “rationalized” that I could just drop something on it and it would squish into death. But what horror would that bring – I could not even begin to fathom the suffering I would bring upon the grassroachantis as it slowly crushed into its death, and, more horrific, of the cleaning I would have to do after.

Then it dawned onto me. My ultimate savior. The only “rational” thing to do.

I had a blue-flame-throwing lighter. One of those “jet lighters” that burn off half the cigarette by the time you take the first puff (note to readers: I don’t smoke, I use the the lighter to light up the awkwardly placed incense candles).

I grabbed the lighter from the side table and flung in an acrobatic maneuver over the grassroachantis in an attempt to catch it off guard. Bewildered, the grassroachantis froze in its position as if to play dead and dumb on my rather intelligent and quite “rational” mind.

I approached it from behind.

The grassroachantis twitched.

I turned on the jet lighter.

The grassroachantis instantly coiled and uncoiled as it silently screamed in pain, which, to my “rational” mind, was more forgiving than having to squish it. To my utter surprise, the grassroachantis suddenly became all red, like iron, before turning into white, all while at the same time twitching uncontrollably.

It lay there, dead, deformed and crisp.

Deathbringer moved out shortly after the incident.