Sand storms, niqabs, camels and perverts (!): The Arabian desert

So I decided to kick off my last day of travelling with a
desert safari. And it was great fun! : )

The safari began at 3pm where 6 of us and a driver make our
way over to the desert. Dubai is technically in the desert, so really all you
need to do is leave the city!

On our way to the desert I watched the city skyline
disappear into the distance. The view was very dusty…because a sand-storm was
about to hit!!

From city to desert…

What an experience! OK so it was probably pretty small as
sand-storms go, but it was another first time experience for me! We stopped
near by the beginning of the desert safari route, where we could use the
bathroom, buy drinks etc (still feeling extremely dehydrated from my mammoth trek
a couple of days earlier and worryingly a little faint I was straight on

As soon as I stepped out of the car the heat stuck, having
been in Dubai for 3 days now I was beginning to get used to this dry heat that
was so different from the moist, humid heat I was used to. However this time it
was combined with strong winds and sand! I quickly put on my sunglasses to
shield my eyes from the sand grains. People were rushing into the shop to buy
things to cover their heads and faces with, I thought this was a little
dramatic but hey each to their own.

The driver told me that it rains about 5 days per year, and
it looked like rain was coming! Wow, what are the chances that I am in Dubai
for one of those 5 days per year?! It did rain. Well kind of. There were about
5 rain drops! Ha ha Then the driver said to me ‘see…I told you it would rain!’,
this did make me laugh!

Speaking of the driver, he seemed to talk very kindly to me,
at first I thought he was just chatting to me because I was sat in the front,
but after a while it started to creep me out a bit…especially because I knew
that I would be the last to be dropped off on the way home and I would be in
the car alone with him! He kept taking photo’s for me for the entire day, he kept
kind of checking on me saying ‘Are you OK Hayley? What did you think of this?
Do you want to do this? Try this food?’ etc etc He even sorted me out with a
free quad bike ride across the desert that actually wasn’t that cheap!!! I knew
he was going to try it on… and lone behold he did! As soon as the other had got
out of the car he began asking me if I wanted to go out with him to a club (it
was Thursday night which is the weekend in Dubai), did I want to go for coffee
with him, will I take his number and call him, will I add him on facebook…. And
so on and so forth. I politely declined and luckily he left it there…but I do
feel somewhat uneasy around these Arab men!!! Well saying that, he was actually
Pakistani, and after the bad experiences I had had with the Pakistani men in
Malaysia I was weary of them too! But it was fine in the end and I didn’t hear
from him again!

So anyway back to the desert safari. We began by driving for
around 30 minutes across the sand dunes…and it was great fun!! There were a few
cars doing the safari, so we all drove along in a line, taking various
different turnings and angles across the dunes. It often felt like the car was
going to fall over when it tilted to the side and one of the women in the car
kept screaming-it was so funny!

Desert driving!

In order to be able to drive like this on the sand all of
the cars had to deflate their tyres-something else I learned new this day!

Camel riding

We drove to a camp where we had lots o fun to be had! First
of all I went for a camel ride, which was pretty short but an experience as I
had never been on a camel before-a bit different from the elephant or moto
rides that I had been used to in Asia! Then I headed over to the traditional
costume tent where I got to try on a traditional Arabian ladies outfit. I
honestly don’t know how they cope in that heat wearing all that black-it was
soooo hot!! I opted out of the niqab (the vail that covers the ladies face),
but seriously I do not know how they do it!!

Sporting traditional Arabian costume

During my last few weeks of travelling I decided I would try
any food given to me, after all you don’t have to eat it again if you don’t
like it! So I tried some dates and some other goodies that had on offer and
then I went over to the quad bikes and did a few (free!) rounds across the
sand. Quad-biking is actually pretty big in these parts-and good fun too! : )

Quad biking in the desert

Next I sat down to watch the traditional Arabian dance shows
and belly dancing whilst enjoying a buffet dinner. I had made friends with
everybody in my car by this point so we all sat together enjoying the

Arabian belly dancing

I could also have had henna painted, which I did want to but
thought it best I didn’t in anticipation of getting any job interviews when I
got home. Didn’t think it would look too professional!

So the day came to a close, and I watched the sun set over
the beautiful burnt orange coloured sands. It had been a lovely day. I was
feeling rather emotional, as I knew this was the end of this wonderful chapter
of my life, but at the same time I was happy to be going home and seeing all of
my friends and family again. Who knows what the future will hold when I get
home….but one thing I did know what that I was very happy on this last day of
the most fantastic 6 months of my life.

 I hope the future holds just as much happiness : )