As you may glean from this post, my senses are still reeling from the wonderful sights and smells of the Middle East. With that, I have tons of photos and words that I want to put on this blog! Yesterday, I can’t decide to put out first so I just decided to do a series for every place I went to. But I will start now with the latest activity I, with a colleague and friend, did, which is the desert safari.
When I was in the thick of my travel preparations, I just knew that I had to do this. One because I haven’t been to real desert. And two, how many times in my life would I encounter a camel? So I asked a friend who works in a travel agency in Dubai to book us a trip. We forked over 130 dirhams or roughly PHp1,500, which I thought was not bad at all. It covered dune bashing, camel ride, shisha, henna tattoo, traditional Arabic buffet dinner, and some performances, including belly dancing.
We were picked up at our hotel by our Pakistani driver at around 3:30 p.m. Since there were only two of us, we had to share the 4×4 with two American guys. Thank God they weren’t the chit-chatty types so we basically kept to ourselves. The drive to, I suppose, what you call the Dubai countryside was quite scenic. In reality, all you see are the seemingly endless sand dunes. It was very relaxing in a way despite the sun beating down on the landscape.
After about an hour’s drive, we turned off the highway into a smaller road that led to the dunes. From there, we were tossed like toys throughout the ride. But that’s where the fun lies, right? I couldn’t take pictures by then as I was concentrating too hard on not throwing up. haha. My tummy was hurling a lot. Thank goodness I ate hours before, or else I would be sick over all that wide expanse of sand.
It was great that they made several stops so we can enjoy the view and take souvenir shots.
I loved it that we got to see the sun set. Nice!
And then my most-awaited part. lol.
I was bracing myself for a little discomfort since I was told that the camel’s back was bony. It was surprisingly comfortable actually. We lurched a little as it got up, and I was afraid for a minute that I was going to be thrown off its back. But the 5-minute ride around the paddock was uneventful albeit a bit smelly. One item off my bucket list, wheeeee!
The buffet and the show were a few stones’ throw from the camel enclosure. The sand has turned cool by this time as the hot day began turning into a cool night. We took seats at one of the set tables, and found that we had to sit cross-legged to have dinner and watch the shows at the center. The shisha, henna tattoo painting, trying on the traditional Arabic garb (which we wore for five days so it didn’t exactly excite us anymore), and other stores selling souvenir items were off to the sides where guests could enjoy them. We just sat, people-watched, and waited for the food and show, which took quite a while. I got a little impatient by then, my mind already halfway to the hotel where I had to do last minute packing for our very early flight back home the next day.
I didn’t enjoy the food as much as I thought, and it took us forever to get home. But overall, the experience was truly memorable. I was very glad to do this. It doesn’t make sense when you’re in a foreign land, and you stay in your hotel or hit the malls. Super loved it!