Our trip to the dessert began around 4 in the afternoon. The tour company came and picked us up from our apartment. The car was a four door Toyota SUV. We stopped and picked up three other people on the way- so we had a car full. The women with us were from Egypt and had a 7 month old baby with them. I was surprised by how well the baby was behaved- she didn’t cry once the whole time. She was about the age of lil’ Aubrey but was so much smaller. We picked them up from this area that looks like a destroyed city. Really it was a complex of about 50 high-rise buildings, all under construction. I asked the driver if they were office buildings. He said that every single building was apartment space. That sure is a lot of people. There were a few buildings that were half done and this is where they stayed.
We drove on a highway for about 30 minutes literally into the middle of nowhere. On the way we stopped at a gas station and the driver filled up the car. This is the first time we had been at a gas station (a “petro” station). I’m sure everyone is wondering what the price of gas is here. About $1.25/gallon!! I’m pretty sure it’s been about 15 years since I’ve seen gas that cheap!! Before we hit the sand we stopped at strip of stores to use the “toilet” and let the air out of the tires. Apparently this makes the tires wider and helps them to not get stuck in the sand.
The next section of the tour was basically a roller coaster ride in a car. We drove up and down sand dunes for about an hour. Every once in a while we would stop and take pictures of the scenery- brown sand for miles. I understand now why so many people in the Bible found God in the dessert. The whole ride I was holding on for dear life! There were many times when the car almost flipped over. I’ll tell you what- I would definitely consider buying a Toyota after this experience. That car could do anything!
In the middle of nowhere a camel farm suddenly appeared. I think they’re the funniest looking animals! They had ropes tied around two of their legs so they wouldn’t run away. The next part of the tour we left the very steep dune area and went up the road to a little flatter area where the camp was. On the way we stopped and took pictures of the sunset. Apparently it was the first time in 15 days it was clear enough to see. The sky was actually blue out in the middle of the dessert. We saw our first clouds while we were there also. Next, we roll up to camp and there are two arches leading to a round stage covered with Persian rugs. Around the stage were low tables with pillows on the ground to use as chairs. Around the camp were different things you could do.
The first thing we did was go on a camel ride. They’re a lot taller than you would think they are and they’re definitely not the nicest animals. We were guided around the camp area and the whole time I felt like I was going to fall off this 10-foot beast! Also, before dinner Derek and I got Henna tattoos. Derek got a scorpion on his forearm and I got a flower on my calf. They put this brown liquid paste type stuff on that has to dry for an hour and then you scrape it off. It’s supposed to last about two weeks.
Next was the dinner buffet and the belly dancer. There was more food at the buffet then I ever could have eaten. All kinds of Indian food (I think!) There was chicken, lamb, beef, and some other kind of meat I couldn’t name. During dinner a belly dancer, dressed in sparkles came and put on a show. She tried to get the audience involved- key word being tried! When she got a group of guys to go up there and dance with her, I forced Derek to go up there. I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time!! No worries- I got a video! The last number of the night Derek and I both got up and acted like we knew what we were doing. Our driver of course came over and took pictures on my camera so we have this humiliating event on film! After dinner all of the regular guests were taken back home and the evening was over. Derek and I as usual were the only crazy ones to sign up for the overnight safari!!
After everyone left it was just me and Derek and about 5 guys that were working there. They made us a bed so we could go to sleep under the stars. It was all so romantic! (gag….) lol While watching the stars they set up a shisha for us. Shisha also known as hookah is flavored tobacco you smoke out of this fancy contraption. They come in all shapes and sizes and flavors. Derek and I walked around in the dark for a little bit before we went to bed. While it had gotten cooler than it was during the day, it was still very warm. I probably slept a total of an hour the whole night. The whole night I tossed and turned; I was hot, scared of bugs, and miserable. I usually don’t mind sleeping/camping outside but I don’t think I’ll ever do it in the desert again! Give me a 7-Star hotel any day!! (We made reservations at the only 7-star hotel in the world that’s also the tallest hotel in the world for next weekend!)