Saturday, May 18, 2013

Dubai Desert Safari

Firstly, apologies for the lack of posts lately. I've had this one sitting in the scheduler for awhile now, but just wasn't feeling the motivation to get it done. I really need to start regularly scheduling some time on my 'to-do' list to post about some of the cool things I've done over the last few months. This post is actually way overdue, since these pictures were taken in June last year! My sisters came to visit me for a few days in Dubai, the first time any of my family had come to visit since I moved to Dubai in 2010. Better late then never I guess!

We had limited time, since they had both taken tie out of busy work schedules, but the main motivating factor was that Madonna was performing in Abu Dhabi. My eldest sister is the biggest fan, and I said to them, why not come for a quick visit AND catch the concert? Lucky for them, since Madonna then cancelled the Aussie legs of her tour. So at the age of "more than 35", eldest sis finally realised her dream of seeing Madonna perform live, something she'd wanted to do since she was a teenager.

Anyway, on to the photos. In the short time we had, we decided to do the typical Dubai Desert Safari. I'd originally wanted to go with the company affiliated with my employer, but a friend told me try another one that she'd been happy with. She must have got them on a good day, because while we had a fun time, there were a few aspects that we really weren't that happy with, but I think it was due more to the individual guys taking our tour than to all of them being that way (I hope)

Old area of Dubai
Earlier in their visit we did the whole Gold Souk/Abra ride thing, which was fun but very hot in the middle of summer. Cheap though, at 2dhs or so a ride. Whee!

Dubai Creek

After calling it quits since it was too hot, we took a ride to check out the Atlantis Hotel. Unfortunately, since my prior visit they had blocked off access to all except hotel guests, so you couldn't see any of the awesome rooms that I had seen. Shame, but understandable, since hordes of tourists had been turning up with tour guides too lazy to actually guide, and had just dumped them to wander for an hour or two.
The famous gold vending machine. You can buy small (really small) bars, coins and pendants, some with touristic stamps of Dubai landmarks on them. Still worth $$, though.

After Atlantis we went to our hotel for the pickup. The 4WD showed up, along with a khandoura-and-dishdasha wearing driver who turned out to be Omani. Two couples were in with us, making for a bit of a squishy ride. After driving about 30mins, we took the usual stop at that random petrol/snack shop on the Al Ain road then headed into the desert for the start.
Real dunes!
It was a liiiiitle disappointing that instead f getting to sandboard, they parked up with some other cards and we ended up waiting about 30mins for a bunch of other cars to join us, while the drivers sat around talking and smoking. I'm not sure if there was never any sand boarding on the agenda, or if we just lucked out and got the lazy ones. :/ So, took the chance for some happy snaps.

I got sand... in my shoes....

I love the colours in the sand, so pretty
Once the other cars arrived, it was time for some dune bashing. While it was fun, our driver seemed to get particular kicks when people were asking to tone it down, lol... Stopped just in tie before we all got car sick. So, if you get easily motion sick, skip this bit, haha!

After the dune bashing, we got a bit of time to sit outside, by this time it hard started to cool down so we could take some pics together. If you didn't know any better, we could have been the only people there :)

My fave photo from this outing

After the desert, we headed back to a camp, on the way stopping for photo ops with camels. We had all seen them before, so no big deal, but the other tourists went nuts, it was kind of funny.

An A380 on its way somewhere fun...

I really like this photo, camels are actually very interesting to photograph and
are capable of so many expressions.

Then it was to the camp for traditional henna painting, dinner and a show. We did the henna, me completely forgetting that I would still have the marks at work. oops!

Luckily I had 2 weeks off, so the henna marks were mostly gone by the
time I had to fly again. Good thing because my trousers no longer fit at
that stage- too much eating!
The show consisted of a belly dancer, and then a tanoura show and a whirling dervish. He was good, went for at least 7 minutes non-stop. Don't know how they do it!
Yummy dinner.
All in all it was a fun outing with my sisters, I'd like to do it again for the full experience, so I think next time I'd try a different company. Want to see the falcons again and also try the sand boarding :) If you visit Dubai, do try the desert safari, especially if you only have a short time. Combine it with a visit to the Gold Souk and an abra ride and you have the traditional UAE experience....

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