Dune Bashing in Dubai

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Middle East » United Arab Emirates » Dubai
March 28th 2013
Published: March 30th 2013
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We thought we had the overflow from the shower worked out by slowing down the supply of water by just having the taps half turned on.But to no avail although it did take a little longer before the flowback started and then there was nothing stopping it.

As our body clocks still had not adjusted we were awake very early again so headed down to a supermarket a few doors down the road to but supplies for breakfast.For around NZ$6 total we fed ourselves with juice,yogurt,cornflakes,orange and banana plus a pastry.Even MacDonalds couldn't rival that !

We headed out to find the souks or marketplaces and took a ride across 'the creek' on a ferry.The Creek is not a river but just a stretch of water that appears about 5 km inland and is treated a bit like a harbour for mostly fishing boats.The large container ships etc tie up at wharves right on the coast.

It made for a different way of getting across to Deira than the Metro.

Deira is much more alive than Bur Dubai where we were staying with a frenetic pace of business life.Shop owners of a multitude of nationalities make up the business community and in the 4 or 5 streets that we walked to find the Gold Souk we must have passed hundreds of shops selling just about everything you could ever want.

We noticed many mainly Indian men with barrows sitting on corners looking as though they were waiting for work.We guess they are hired by the load to cart goods to the shops probably from warehouses.

With so Indian's we imagined we could have been in Mumbai or Dehli and not necessarily Dubai.

The Gold Souk was interesting crowded with tourists many taking photos of the large displays of gold including the world's largest gold ring with authentication from the Guinness Book of Records proudly showing in the front window.There were screens along the streets which gave current gold prices for the various levels of gold standards and people seemed to be taking quite a bit of notice perhaps because they were about to make a purchase and wanted to see how low they need to go to get a bargain.

Not wanting to be tired out for the afternoon trip into the desert we headed home around lunchtime for some lunch from the supermarket(fed again for less then NZ$5 for the two of us) with fruit,yogurt and pastries.And some relaxation time before the 4 wheel drive came to the hotel to take us out on the desert safari which included dune bashing and dinner.

There are a multitude of options as to who to go with and there was a fair range of prices.We had chosen a middle of the road one at around NZ$60 which also had an IATA licence which we thought was probably a better bet than some of the cheaper options that didn't have IATA behind their name.

The 4 wheel drive could take 6 passengers and so we arrived at another hotel to pick up the other 4 who we would share the trip.

There was a man and wife and their teenage boy and a guy who spoke with an American accent but looked to be of a nationality from the sub continent.

he gave our Indian driver/guide a hard time by saying how when he had booked the trip that he was guaranteed that the vehicle would be a 2012 or 2013 make and yet the Toyota was probably about a 2008 or 2009.He threatened to complain and after our first stop at a 4 wheel motor bike place where you could hire a 4 wheeled bike and go charging off over the sand dunes,he had been found a seat in another vehicle from the firm we had gone with and in his place was another chap from India who turned out to be quite chatty and interesting.

As we continued on to the real action of the afternoon,the dune bashing,we learnt that the man and his wife and teenage son were originally from Iran but had left to live in Dubai because they didn't like the Government of Iran and its policies any more.The man couldn't speak English but the son who was being schooled at an International School did all the talking and translating.All very interesting to while away the distance it took to reach the area where the 4 wheel drive would take us careering off over sand dunes.

It turned out to be a fun 40 minutes with the man and in particular his wife in the rear seats yelping every time the driver found a way to throw the vehicle around and up and down dunes all the while keeping the vehicle upright.

At last it came to an end and we stopped with 9 or 10 other vehicles on the top of a sand dune to take in the vast desert before us and watch the sun go down in a fiery ball all of which happened so very quickly.

At this stopping place Gretchen became very perturbed about the rubbish left behind by others and if we hadn't had a dinner and belly dancing show to go to I think she would have had all the people from the other vehicles out there cleaning up the mess.

However it was onto a desert camp where we were entertained by a magican,who really struggled to keep the large audience of probably 100 or so people with him and his tricks.Next came 3 guys who twirled around and around wearing heavy clothing like a skirt that flared out as they spun round and around.Their act was amazing and how they didn't fall over after about 10 minutes of spinning continuously from being giddy is beyond us.It was clear when they got a few people up from the audience who found it hard to get the heavy clothing to twirl that their act took a lot of practice.

The third act before dinner was a long haired belly dancer and she was excellent value as well with all her gyrating and swinging of hips.It is rather ironic that some women in this part of the world cover themselves completely up in black clothing except for a slit for their eyes and yet her was this belly dancer flaunting herself with sensual hair movements etc etc.

The dinner was tasty with typical Arabic salad type foods and BBQ meats of beef and chicken kebabs.

We shared our table on the ground with the 'American' who had been transferred to a newer vehicle earlier.

In chatting to him we found him not such a bad guy after all and he apologised for the way he had spoken to our driver earlier.

He was actually an Afghani employed on a contract to the US Army and had clearly spent a lot of time with Americans to pick up the accent he had.We had a long discussion about the state of his country and what might happen after the USA and everyone else leaves there next year.He seemed quite positive about the future although we did note that at one stage one of the reasons he was currently in Dubai was to complete'paperwork for a Green Card,so perhaps he had a way out if things didn't go the way he hoped.

We were pretty tired by the time we got back to the hotel but it had been a great experience shared with the ex-Iranians,th Afghani over dinner and the Indian gentleman who opened up on the way home about where he was from and showing an interest in what we told him about NZ.

We both agreed, today had been what our travels were all about,meeting other people from different races and backgrounds and finding out what makes them tick and just how different we are to them in our way of life etc.


30th March 2013

Sounds fun! So no boiled sheeps head on a pile of steaming rice for dinner then? ;-)
31st March 2013

Dune bashing
NO,thank goodness

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