To a visitor from India Dubai is synonymous with shopping for the yellow metal and electronic goods but for someone like me, they figure last in my itinerary as sight seeing is my priority and I found Dubai offers a lot in this respect.
The mandatory three hours before your flight departure is quite an ordeal as most of the time you find yourself standing in the queue for immigration. To avoid boredom I picked up conversation with a couple standing behind us. The elderly gentleman said he was bound for a conference in London and his wife began the conversation by asking me if I was a Gujarathi. Once we boarded the Emirates flight, the huge airbus reminded me of JAL, we took from Tokyo to Vancouver packed to capacity. The airhostesses in their Arab costumes spoke good English and the food served consisted an apology for masala dosa and a huge vada which was almost bland. We reached Dubai around 1.30p.m. (Dubai time) and I found weather was as warm as in Chennai and when I said what I thought to one of the airhostesses while alighting, she vehemently denied saying Dubai is very pleasant and wished me an enjoyable stay and so it was with our nephew and his family. Even as we were heading to his place the 41ST.National Day celebrations had commenced a week in advance with cars sporting national flags whizzing past us.
Our tickets for the Desert Safari were booked in advance but we had kept our fingers crossed as the previous evening it rained cats and dogs accompanied by thunder and lightening which seemed was unusual in the desert city (it appeared the last time Dubaiites experienced such down pour was more than a decade ago). Fortunately the weather cleared next morning and our programme for the day was on. Not having had the experience of a roller coaster ride I looked forward to one in the desert and what an experience it was, never to forget in my lifetime.
The driver of the vehicle which was probably a xylo insisted we wear our seat belts at the commencement of the journey into the desert. He stopped the vehicle and depressurized the tyres for the onset of the 45 minute adventure. Before reaching the desert we had seen a sparse growth of dried trees and spotted clusters of flamingoes. As we were being driven through the desert with its twists and turns, the sight of endless stretches of brown and gold sand dunes appearing like little hillocks glistening under the sun took my breath away and even as I was taking in the visual treat, suddenly we found the driver ascending seamlessly what probably was the highest dune (could be more than hundred metres) and descending with equal dexterity but the experience had us screaming, our voices reaching a crescendo with excitement even as our insides were churning due to nausea. Hats off to the driver, the professional that he was did not get distracted, on the other hand he appeared to share our delightful experience of dune bashing. After a brief photo stop we went on the last lap, a fifteen minute drive to the desert camp. The camp was buzzing with activity with women getting their hands painted with henna, (some men too had their arms painted), men donning Arab costumes and being photographed and people going on camel rides. There was a belly dance by a pretty woman who looked like an Italian but some in the audience commented that she was shaking her hips more though it is called a Belly dance. This was followed by dinner and the camp closed at half past eight and thankfully the return journey was on a level road.