Published: February 20th 2010February 7th 2010
our kayaking group
Here we all are ready to go kayaking in the Abu Dhabi mangroves.
Well I am here to report another interesting thing I did (okay not really but I am pretending it is!). I went kayaking in the mangroves of Abu Dhabi and afterwards a bunch of couch surfers (Abu Dhabi group) met up to go camping in the Liwa desert. The kayaking, which I have never done before was pretty good. Amanda was my kayak partner and I told her right from the start...expect us to tip over. But after thinking about it, I forced myself to stay afloat as...let's face it...Jaws could be lurking. If anyone was to be eaten during that outing...it would have been me. You never know...it could happen! Anyway, some people did tip over...mainly because Romain was pushing them in.
It was really cool to see all the small crabs and fish everywhere. The crabs were of all colors and would sometimes climb up the branches next to us. They were a tad scary as they looked a bit like huge spiders. I'm still looking for one by the way...I think the reason I don't see spiders is that the government sprays insecticide regularly. I MUST LEAVE BEFORE I DIE!! Who knows what they are
using...DDT probably! Anyways, we kayaked for a few hours and I loved it so much I may go back. After a few hours we
then took off for camping. It was a 2 and 1/2 hour trip to the desert. I was prepared this time...rain coat, chair, extra food, extra clothes, warm blanket, tent. Can you believe the second time I was to go camping they announced rain!! THIS IS THE DESERT! That is very rare...and for it to happen twice? I also brought plastic bags to cover my head and protect my things. Liwa is the name of a vast, almost barren desert region, that extends from the southern part of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, all the way to the border with Saudi Arabia; and south of Al Ain, all the way to the border of Saudi Arabia and Oman (at the village of Um Azumool, the most southerly village in the UAE). It took a while to get there...we had a convoy of at least 7 cars and I was last...Hey! I drive a Mitsubishi Lancer 1.3...what do you expect? I had people calling me telling me to drive faster! Not only is my car crap but
The actual mangrove
These are areas where baby sea life come to grow. It is like their nursery. Once they are gone...we are in trouble. In Abu Dhabi...they keep dredging the bottom...disturbing the habitat. Progress will come at a high price.
there is this lovely dinger that goes off when you hit 120 km/h, and it does not turn off...it just keeps dinging. It did not rain luckily but there was a SANDSTORM! Can you believe it? Rain the first time and now this! What you basically see is a lot of blowing sand and high winds. I am still finding sand in weird places...my coat pocket was filled with it.
We arrived by the side of the road and got out to look for a good place to camp. When I say ..."Camp in the desert" I do not mean a camp ground...no, no, no! I mean pitching tents in the middle of nowhere! I thought it was funny, before we left, I asked Heather if she brought toilet paper. She looked at me and said:" There are no toilets there?". I had to explain...to her horror...that we were going to camp IN THE DESERT.
Anyway, we arrived and started to go back and forth from our cars, up and over the huge sand dunes to out camp site..the lowest point we could find to escape the whipping sand. I pulled out my tent to discover....I did not have the
Amanda and her crab friend
The guide picked up one of the many crabs laying around and gave one to Amanda so we could take a picture. She kept going on and on about how it was pinching her...baby...so she let it go before I could get a close up.
right tent poles...I had brought a tent WITH NO TENT POLES! Luckily...Shaneez shared his with us. Next time I vow to get it right.
We made a fire and barbecued lamb kebobs (I'm going to end up liking lamb after all) and put sweet potatoes close to the fire to cook. That has to be the best thing I have eaten here. The skin gets really crispy and the inside is all mashed. Yum!
We sat around the fire and a couch surfer from Korea delighted us with tales of all the things his countrymen find tasty to eat...live fish and snake, testicles and my personal favorite, dog. I have officially checked Korea off my list of places to visit!
A funny story...In the middle of the night Amanda whom I was sharing a tent with along with Heather decided to go to the bathroom. I did too so I followed her. I am pretty sure I was still loaded by this point so I could not figure out why I was having such a hard time following her. I figured I was just tired but I eventually made it. The next morning I went over a ridge overlooking our
life in the mangroves
Everything here is perfectly balanced...the vegetation that grows filters everything and keeps the mangroves livable for the animals that take shelter here.
camp site and could see Amanda and my foot prints leading from the tent to the biggest, highest sand dune that I could see. Amanda had picked the most difficult place to go hide to go to the bathroom. I will no longer be following Amanda to the bathroom in the middle of the night.
The next morning, we could see this little footprints everywhere from animals that had been out and about in the middle of the night. We could not figure out what they were but I shudder to think... We survived it anyway and it was another great adventure!
I am counting the days,
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