Published: March 30th 2012March 27th 2012
Yes, they smell. And they are very tall.
As we wait for our tour guide from Arabian Adventures in the lobby. Emily's excitment levels rise dramatically. She is desperate to ride a camel and get more tattoos. Jake is not so keen on the camel idea, but we are all looking forward to driving over the sand dunes in the Dubai desert and a new experience.
Hashim, our driver, arrives to collect us in his Toyota 4wd. It's a 40 minute drive to the desert conservation area where the tour starts. He was born in Zanzibar, has some Arab heritage, and has lived in Dubai for 34 years. He has been doing the safari tour for 15 years, so we feel like we re in good hands. Hashim is not a talkative person. So Emily decides to fill in the quiet time. She does not stop talking for the entire 40 minutes - mainy about camels and tattoos. It is going to be a long ride in the desert. When we arrive at the meeting spot, it is about 35C and noticeably hotter than downtown Dubai. We get some cool drinks and sit down to see a falconer fly his bird and tell us about the history of the Bedouins and their Falcons. This fills in time while the drivers prepare their cars for the dune driving. There are about 150 people on this safari. Hashim lets some air out of his tyres and we are off across the desert. The temperature slowly creeps up to 39C. The kids love the ride - like a rollercoaster in a car - we slip and slide across dunes in a big convoy of 4wd vehicles. Hashim does a great job of making the drive exciting. We stop a couple of times to get photos and experience the desert, including a "sunset" over a large dune. Nick's iPod is just about out of power with all of the photos and video he has been taking - We can't wait to see the YouTube edit! A short ride later over more dunes we arrive at the camp. The camels are there and Emily struggles with whether she can hang on for the camel ride or needs to visit the ladies first. The camel ride wins. Sue and Emily get on one camel and Nick and Damian get on another. Jake is over it all and just wants something to eat. Those camels are tall and Emily gets a little scared and manages to finish the ride (in tears). The dismount is all a bit overwhelming for her but she manages to hang on. Damian manages to get sucked in by one of the Camel carers after he offered to take photos for us. After a 20 Dirham tip, he finally gives the camera back. The tip was ok, but when we viewed the beautifully out-of-focus shots afterwards, we did remember that we will never hand the camera to anyone again during this vacation. We have to remember to avoid that trick before we get to Roma. The Arabian meal at the camp was lovely and we even managed to drink a couple of glasses of wine. After the belly dancer finishes, we decide to leave early. We need to be up at 6am for our transfer to the airport so we have to pack quickly and get to bed.