Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Safari etc.

Before my safari trip, I had time to wander around the area a bit. I found the gold souq.Interesting.I had lunch (fattoush and fresh mango juice) at my hotel restaurant and then wandered a bit more.The safari trip was great fun. I was picked up at my hotel at around 3:30. There were 6 other people plus the driver. Since I was traveling alone, the driver, Ahmed, had me sit in the front seat. I'm glad for that, knowing now how the day went.Basically all the safari is is going through the desert 'dune bashing'. Going up and down the dunes feels pretty much like a roller coaster (though, thankfully without the loops). We went along the tops, down the sides (sideways!), up and down and around and over. One guy in the very back seat got sick. Because of the shocks, the back bounces a bit more than the front. I am pretty sure if I had been sitting in the back I would have been sick as well. :SI was a bit disappointed, though, as we didn't get a chance to do the sandboarding. Maybe because of the sand storm? It was very windy and blowing the whole day. When we did get out to take pics or take a break, it was hard not to get sand in the eyes. I will have to wait until I return the end of April to go sandboarding, I suppose. The camel riding isn't really camel riding. More like just getting on the camels for a 2 minute walk, only long enough to take pictures. I didn't do that.
Ahmed, my driver, seemed to feel the need to protect me as when we stopped, he stuck near me when ever we stopped. At the first stop before dune bashing, he shared his snack with me and gave me a drink (vitamin C drink). While on the dunes, I had his phone in my bag under my knees (incase things in the truck started flying?). He has been doing the safaris for 6 years so knows what he's doing. He said he's never rolled but most of the other drivers have at least once. Apparently the day I chose to go was very dangerous because of the sand storm. The dunes were changing, and the tops were softer, plus the tracks they normally follow had disappeared. Luckily, since he's been doing it for so long, he knows very well the ways to go. Ahmed said it's most dangerous when it rains (which is very rare). Sometimes up to 80% of the trucks roll then because they slide. I took a couple of videos of the dune bashing, which I will upload as soon as I get a chance.
After going around the dunes for a while, we went to the safari camp. It is enclosed by walls and around the inside, there are several tents. I sat with Ahmed and some of his Egyptian friends for a while and had a sheesha and tea/coffee mix - coffee mix, sugar, condensed milk and tea all together. Actually not a bad combination! :) The others went to get pics with the camels or disappeared elsewhere. I didn't get pics with the camels, but did get one with the falcon.Then we went to the tent with all the tables (which was closed to keep the wind out). It was getting quite cool by that point. The rest of the group then showed up. We sat for a while and then our buffet/bbq dinner was ready so we all went out to line up. There was one table/line for the women, and one for the men. So much food. Yum! Tahini, babaghanoush, flat bread, vegetables, rice, pasta, and then from the bbq lamb kebabs, chicken kebabs, beef kebabs, and ribs. When dinner was finished, the show started on the large stage outside. A belly dancer was up for a long time. Then a whirling dervish.
I got back to the hotel at almost 10PM. An hour later than expected, and very tired.
Argh. Uploading pictures on here is taking SO LONG!!
Oh. Just an added note. While I sit here at the computer in a little Internet cafe, there are cockroaches running up and down the walls behind the computer, and on the desk as well. YUCK!

1 comment:

Abu Dhabi/UAE Daily Photo said...

Good stuff, Laura. I just uploaded some safari pics to my blog, too. Let me know when you're back in my neck of the woods.