We had the greatest time in Dubai, UAE. The best thing of all was meeting DD there after she finished participating with the Cleveland Clinic team at the Arab Health Conference 2008. The ground-breaking for the Cleveland Clinic took place in Abu Dhabi on January 27th.
We spent 3 days of fun, shopping and we even went on a desert safari. Imagine..., I've been in the middle east for 23 years and I've never ventured out to the desert!
Well, DD took care of that and arranged this outing, care of www.knighttours.co.ae, a compagny that specializes in taking people out to the desert in land rovers with expert drivers to "ski" down the dunes at high speeds. It's really unsettling at first until you realize that this driver has done it lots of times before although he tried to make us believe that this was his first time! First they let the air out of the tires so that the wheels can grip the sand better - sort of imitating the flat soft hooves of the camel - then we took off in a caravan of three cars. The sand stretched as far as the eye could see (but in fact we were just off the highway and not far from our bedouin camp ground which was next destination!) We went up and down the sand dunes practically flying off the tops and then sliding down the slopes. I really thought at first that we would, God forbid, topple over at some point but then I realized that these outings would not be going on every day if that were the case! So I decided to go with the (ebb and) flow of the sand which is BTW the most amazing color of red and is so fine and powdery!
After about a half hour of "dune bashing" we were led to the bedouin camp (with bathrooms and running water THANK GOD) where we were allowed to ride some very friendly camels and to visit the camel farm to see the baby camels (so cute!)
After all that running around in the sand we worked up quite an appetite so we were more than ready when they invited us for a delicious meal of kebab, salad and hummus with fresh, homemade, on-the-spot bread! To finish off our little repas, DD got me a little plate of traditional sweets - oum ali and muhalibiyah. This food tasted sooo good!
Thankyou DD for suggesting and arranging an outing that, for sure, we would never have done if left to our selves... it made her Dad and I feel the wonder of nature and God's lovely creation and it was great for our souls...
More on Dubai to follow...