Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Crossed: One of the things to do before you die.

The list I have of those things to do before I die is long and myriad. But I can cross one out now: going on a desert safari.

We stopped over in Dubai for two nights en route to KL. This is my second time in Dubai. The first time was just a day trip so everything was a big haze of ultra modern skyscrapers and Arabic mysticism. I remember dying for almost half the day for want of coffee. It was Ramadhan and hence, no eating in public places.

This time, it was a better planned trip. SJ, our old uni friend, now based in Dubai, was waiting for us at the airport (what do we do without old friends? All I can do is hug them for being part of our lives). The roads have exotic, raspy names which I can't pronounce and almost immediately the gleaming glass towers spiral into view.SJ had some work at the Emirates Mall so we spent some time in what is the biggest mall in UAE, stacked with British high street labels. Yawn. It even strangely had a very popular ski complex: offering some skiing in the desert. How bizarre.

The highlight of the day was taking a traditional Arab dhow (barge) cruise around the Dubai creek for authentic Arab food. A meat eaters heaven because there's every type of imaginable kebab apart from salted vegetables and the best hummus I've ever had. M had some local tea called Ismaili tea and I tried some very potent Arabic coffee. All this with sultry Arabic music straining in the background. After that, we sat around the Dubai marina area for hookah/sheesha. I got a real thrill that I was smoking sheesha in the Middle East. (I am quite sore that the photo M took of my apple flavoured sheesha was not clear. Sob).

The next day, we sauntered around the markets in the older part of Dubai called Karama. I wanted to bargain at local prices for bric-a-brac, not in the posh area of Souk Madinat Jumeirah (where Jumeriah Beach and the world famous Burj Al Arab is). After a light lunch, we were prepared for the biggest reason for our stopover. Oh, be still my beating heart.

The desert safari, a truly fabulous experience. Our hired four wheel drive whizzed and whoozed around the desert. I held on tight and clenched my fingers as we went on some serious dune bashing-rollercoaster on the desert. Yee haa (though for a brief few moments I suddenly had damning visions of what if a desert storm happened. The driver later told me that desert storms only unfolded in much bigger deserts so all's safe here. Phew). We stopped around for photos and watched camels being fed at a camel farm. By a real-life Beduoin. How cool is that?

Then, we were serenaded by the most beautiful sunset we had seen in all our lives (my camera doesn't do it justice). A fierce, red glowing ball suspended on an orange sky with golden sand dunes stretching endlessly. A truly spiritual moment. It felt like a gift from the desert.


Anonymous said...

breathtaking! oooh, your adventures sound so exciting! I haven't been to Dubai before. now you make me wanna book the next flight out there, not buying anything (since it's so expensive) but just to soak in the sights and sounds...

30in2005 said...

lovely lovely!

UglyButAdorable said...

breathtaking indeed..amazing ainit how the bedouin can live in the desert like that.. i was told by the tourist leader once that it's not the Saudi's govt not helping them but they choosed to live like that..simple..

Blabarella said...

Ooooh, wonderful wonderful!! Hey, you come here and take me on another desert safari lah! I doubt H is game for stuff like this. Harumph!

Kak Teh said...

jane, indeed breathtaking! I was in awe and at the same time scared of the desert when I was there - but you made it look so tantalisingly beautiful.

Anonymous said...

wow!!! I love it!!! I can't imagine being able to do what you do! enjoy it while you can, ok?

starlight said...

thank you jane, for adding yet another destination on my travel list! And isn't it wonderful to be able to cross one item off the before-i-die list!

Jane Sunshine said...

May: Adventures is a good word. It was really fun, fun, fun. And dont worry about buying if you shop where I did -at the more local areas-which are more affordable.

30in2005: Yes, indeed.

UbA: Indeed,the bedouin seemed to be enjoying a simple, wholesome life.

Blabs: Yeah, maybe we could do it again with you! I am seriously thinking of Cairo next year-we can all go on a Nile Cruise and what not. Ah, dreams.

Kak Teh: Yes, the desert is so awe-inspiring yeah. Am glad you had a lovely time in the Middle East.

Marsha: Ha ha. Are you hintingthat I should be enjoying all these until those kiddies come wailing? Indeed. Indeed.

Starlight: Yes, its a great place for a stopover. And yeah. How lovely to cross out one from that list!

Lydia Teh said...

Jane, I love sunsets and that was truly awesome. Thanks for sharing the pix.