The morning always come too quick when you're knackered doesnt it? Si went down for breakfast and bought me some up, he's a darling, and the gang discussed the plan of attack for the day. Not wanting to waste the day it was decided we would head out on a desert safari for some dune bashing. We were being collected at 1430hours from the hotel which meant there was a free few hours for me to chill out by the pool. It was shaded which was a bit of a bummer, but lovely and warm nevertheless. Again time whizzed by and before we knew it we were in the bar waiting for our transport to pick us up.
Two 4x4 rocked up on time and we loaded up, 4 in each vehicle. We headed out to the desert in a two month old Toyota, I want tot say it was a Landcruiser, but I dont know if it was for sure, in a rather delicious pearl white colour, with a tiny bit of sparkle, whats not to love about that?? There was an option on the trip to race around the sand dunes on dune buggies and quads. Having done Weston Beach race, I didnt think it would match up in the thrill stakes, so Si and I opted out of that bit. Also we have a lot of travelling to do and an injury is not really the thing to pick up this early in the trip. The ones who did it really enjoyed it and we waited for them under the shade in some comfy seats. As you would expect, there was a shop with the people trying to sell you scarves for riding on the buggies. Something they said you needed to drive the buggies. To be fair I'm sure they would have saved a vicious sand blasting of the face. The boys were slightly disappointed that they were having to follow a guide around the dunes who kept trying to get them to slow down. I believe that sometimes they did and sometimes they didn't! Whilst waiting we were approached by a vendor trying to get us to take a camel ride, we declined, they are bloody uncomfortable! We also declined a photograph with an Eagle, Hywel had had a Harris Hawk, so there was no novelty in that. To give them credit they took the refusal very well.
We left the buggy zone when the boys came back smiling from ear to ear. I think it's safe to say they enjoyed themselves, and continued on towards the dunes for some "bashing". In a convoy we pulled off the road and the drivers got out of the vehicles and let some air out of the tyres ready for the sand. Once done we set off, and it was a good bit of fun, and bumpy as a bumpy thing! We were thrown about like ragdolls, for the duration which was to be expected. At sunset we stopped to take in the sight of it dropping from the sky turning the desert all shades. It sets very quickly in Dubai, as it does in Bahrain. One minute its day and then in a click of the fingers, its night. The desert was silent, and people were talking in low voices just enjoying the sight. As the sun had gone down, we loaded up again and went to a camp in the dessert. I was expecting a Tent and was surprised to find a stunning building instead. The vehicles parked up on the sand and the entrance was brick paved and totally accessible. To the right of the entrance there were camel rides availabe , this time they were included in the price. A lot of people were taking rides and there was a lot of shrieks and squeals coming from the participants. Walking in through the entrance, we were greeted with Arabian Coffee, which if i can get it in the UK I'll be drinking frequently. It's very mild and subtle and leaves no nasty aftertaste after drinking. Massive dates were available too so we obviously grabbed a handfull. They taste completely different here to the ones we get in Tesco, I've concluded that they don't travel well.
The inside had tables all set up ready for food and we were guided to our table by one of the drivers. He told us he would come and collect us at 1940hours and in the meantime to enjoy. Soft drinks were included in the package and food. Alcohol was available at a bar, but we didn't bother as there were enough soft drinks. Normal coffee was also on offer and to be fair it was pretty rank. It came out of a jar and was served with ideal milk, I hate to say that I left it. The ladies were offered Henna tattoos, there was one design that was included in the package, and there were two books full of other designs that could be paid for if you so wished. Obviously we had hand tattoos and with the instructions to leave it an hour before rubbing the dried henna off, went back to our table.
At 1800hours (ish) the show began, with a belly dancer jiggling her jiggly bits. The dancing was mesmerising and really impressive, I have serious hair envy of the dancer, thick dark curly hair down to her waist which she flipped in a rather spectacular fashion The first part of the show was followed by food. Oh my days it was an assault on the senses, definately something to suit everybody, all piping hot with so many diferent flavours and options. There was quite a scrum to get to the food but being closest to the serving area we zipped in ahead of the rest. As i say, the food was excellent and there were some full plates being carried back to tables. I have no issue with people piling their plates up, I do however have an issue with the same people leaving the majority of the food. I confess i filled my plate up with salad, rice, chickpea curry, vegetables and various other delicacies , but i also cleared it. Go me. I'm no quitter when it comes to food ya know! Desserts in the desert (yes I'm hilarious) was a rice pudding that was served cold had a really delicate flavour combination of vanilla and maybe rosewater. A bread and butter pudding, and various other deserts. They were quite sweet, and i could taste honey in a few of them. I am quite the bee and honey expert. (not). The food remained available for the duration of the evening and people were popping up and refilling. It was all superb
Once food was finished the show resumed. This time there was a guy in a full skirt that had fairy lights on it. I want one, like really want one! it was a two layered affair, brightly coloured and as he spun around quickly in a circle it fanned out and became something that was a cross between a UFO, a parasol, and a kiddies spinning top! How he managed to spin around for as long as he did with out a). spewing and b) falling over is nothing short of a miracle in my opinion. Even more impressive, he was able to walk off the stage in a straight line. Amazing. He was followed by a fire dancer, don't be misled into thinking he was dancing through fire, because he wasnt. He was spinning lit balls, (not his own lit balls, props) and the grand finalle was filling his mouth up with flamable fluid and spraing it out into the flames. the finalle, was another belly dancer, Bob enjoyed her performance immensely, and was engrossed from start to finish. Methinks Bob enjoyed it a little too much...
Being we were in the desert, I was expecting it to be cooler after the sun had set, but it was a lovely temperature to enjoy good food and company. Our driver appeared and we all loaded up and took off, back throiugh the dunes at speed. I say speed, but I suspect we were going the same speed as we did in the daylight, it just felt faster in the dark!! With 4x4's coming from all directions in the desert from the numerous camps the ride out was a bit more exciting. It was a shame when we hit the main road and headed back towards the city.
We passed by a spectacular looking Palace, which belonged to the Sheiks brother. Having seen that one i can only imagine what the Sheiks is like..
Dubai at night in my opinion, is Dubai at its best. It's very pretty and impressive. Day time not so much, to me, it just has no soul and is artificial.
The return to the hotel saw me go straight up to the room, but having had a brilliant day I was more than happy for bed.
Much love Flairey