We are still getting used to having Fridays off and having to start the week on a Sunday. But the feeling of finishing work on a Thursday always feels like you have a long weekend ahead. Thursday evenings are always short as most people in Dubai finish work around 6 or 7 so trying to go out for dinner always ends up being a late night out. Which is what happened to us. A few of us met up at Cargo, Pier 7 in the marina for dinner which was delicious and a very social atmosphere. Our waitress was South African which made it even better as she made sure we ordered our drinks before the happy hour was finished. After a great night out we all got to bed around midnight.
Friday morning we woke up at 6 and got ready to go into the desert. The humidity has been terrible in Dubai recently, so much so that it looks very misty outside giving you the impression that it is cold, but when you walk out the stoep door it’s a hot and sticky air that hits you not a cold and fresh one. That is why it is important to leave early if you want to go into the desert so that it isn’t too hot. Coming from the Karoo in South Africa we are used to a dry heat and not this humid, sticky heat in which you can hardly breathe. Sounds terrible…. but it is! Great news though is that it won’t last too much longer and then the Dubai “winter” months will be here and we will be on the beach all weekend or just out and about rather than stuck in one air-coned room to another!
Coffee, ouma rusks, eggs, bacon, rolls and tomato sauce were all packed and ready to go. We met up with Sean on the drive to Al Qudra Cycle track 30 min outside of Dubai. From there we go off the tar and drive until just before the dunes where we deflate our tyres to 1.1 bar. Justin then met us there and off we set over the dunes to find an oasis.
Being a passenger when dune bashing is not as fun as driving but it is exciting non the less. You have to be so careful as there are so many steep drop offs that could do some serious damage. And I’m sure lots of people have done serious damage to their vehicles there as you can get quiet carried away with so much open space. Each vehicle is meant to have a red flag attached to it which is about 2m higher than your car, so that when you are on another side of a dune other vehicles can see you and won’t go crashing into you. These red flags we have not yet found but I’m sure we will be needing them eventually.
Breakfast was delicious! Yes it was pork bacon and yes it was All gold tomato sauce and Ouma rusks from home! And yes there really is water in the desert with real trees. The oasis we found was lovely as there was a breeze blowing and so many birds that it felt like we were in the Kruger! All that was missing was the monkeys and bees. There were so many people out and about walking dogs, riding horses, cycling and running that it makes getting up early so worth it!
Once breakfast was done we set off again over the dunes and came across the Arabian gazelle which is a breeding programme the Sheik has set up, hence the oasis’s you find every now and then which provide drinking water and shade for them. There were hundreds of buck and the excitement got too much for the boys whose South African routes kicked in and they put foot chasing them across the dunes. They look a lot like springbuck but are smaller in size. We didn’t chase them for too long as we would probably get into big trouble, so instead we had to go and buy some biltong later to make up for not being able to make our own here.
It was a quick and fun morning in the desert hopefully next time more friends can join.
Until next weekend … 🙂