The first thing my husband and I did after landing in beautiful, sparkling Dubai was to take a very touristy adventure out into the desert. Along with two other couples, we climbed into a Toyota Forerunner and were driven out over the sand dunes. The only way to describe the ride is to compare it to a sandy roller coaster at an amusement park. Fortunately the SUV had been fitted with extra protection inside. At first I thought that the bars along the roof were places to hold on for dear life. I believe they were there to support the top on case it rolled over.
The driver took us to the top of huge dunes that had to be 20 to 30 feet high and then he would accelerate on the downhill side, turn and race up the next hill. The motion would have been comparable to forced skids if we had been on a paved road. After a while I realized I had absolutely no idea where we were. If the driver had had sinister ideas to kidnap or abandon us, we would have no idea which way to go or if we could even travel in a straight line! Fortunately, he was honest and we were in the company of 20 different SVUs doing the same thing. Finally we reached our destination.
As we pulled up to one of the final dunes, he let us out of the vehicle to take pictures of the sunset. I was so excited to use the concepts I had learned during my recent photography class last fall on my new camera. But no! The sun was sinking very quickly! I had to figure out which settings to use on my camera! I tried a few that came to mind but I feel I missed a few. Anyway, sunsets in the desert are very stunning and romantic even if shared with dozens of other people.
With the last few rays of sun, we headed to our destination – an area that was set up like an old fashioned Bedouin village, where we dined on typical Indian food and watch belly dancing. The food was served buffet-style. It was pretty good food and abundant. The tour operator made sure that we had enough options to satisfy everyone’s needs. I forgot, they did offer a few non-Indian alternatives, like spaghetti with sauce, but I ignored those since I could have them at home any day. The after dinner entertainment was a blast. First a gentleman dressed in local costume danced on center stage then a beautiful woman displayed her belly dancing skills.
First I had the time of my life. As you can see from the photo, I road a camel! It was out of this world! Having ridden horses when I was young I thought it would be a snap. Since the camel had to kneel down for me to climb up, the process of him (her?) awkwardly standing up one leg at a time left me holding on with white knuckles. Once up and walking, the animal didn’t walk with the smooth gait of a horse but one that felt like he was walking for the first time. It felt like the movement of each leg was not timed with the others. Not clippity-clop but clippity-clop-clop-clop. Unfortunately the ride was too short…
This may have been the most fun experience of my life! Who would have thought that a girl from Sylvania, Ohio would ever ride a camel in the desert at sunset!
The next morning I was able to dump out a half cup of sand onto the floor of my beautiful hotel room. I’m glad the floor was tiled so clean up was easy. My shoes will never be the same, as some of the desert will remain lodged in them forever. I will have memories of this adventure forever!
Visit KachisKitchen.com for Indian recipes and cooking tips.
All text and photographic content are property of KachisKitchen.com and are not to be used without permission of the author.