Update: I’m moving to the desert. I love it. Its beautiful simplicity intertwined with the Arabian culture is absolutely breathtaking. The colors of the sandy dunes shining off of the bright blue skies without a cloud in the sky is one thing that everyone needs to see in their lifetime. Oh, and also, this place is made for Instagram. Everywhere you look, every angle you position your camera- BOOM! Quality insta right there. I had a fantastic experience on my desert safari, and so I’ll give you a little recap.
I was collected by my guide at around 4:30pm, and after picking up another family of mother, aunt, two young children, and a friend (who all live in Abu Dhabi), we drove 45 minutes out into the isolated area of clear skies, camels, and sandy hills. First thing on the menu was the safari around the sand dunes. This consisted of about 15 safari cars speeding and bouncing up and down the dunes. The vehicles were doing all sorts of things that I thought vehicles shouldn’t be able to do. Terrified? Yes. Having the time of my life? Yes. On the way back we stopped at one of the camel farms just to watch them gaze and do their thang for about 15 minutes.
Then, we were headed back to the desert camp. Here, all groups from the 15 cars joined in a big area with access to refreshments, henna painting, smoking from the midkwah (Arabian tradition), sand boarding, camel riding, and just about every cool Arabian cultured activity that comes to one’s mind. This is where I really connected with the family I was on the trip with- I felt like they had adopted me into their little family for the day. I enjoyed their company and they enjoyed mine as we bonded over the different areas of the world that we came from- each so fascinated by the other’s culture (I learned so much about the UAE from them!). At around eight o’clock, we were greeted with a vast buffet of Arabian classics. I’m talking hummus, barbecued meats, more barbecued meats, different types of rice and salads, all topped off with a local rice pudding, muhalabia.
Post dinner, meaning post food coma, was the entertainment of the night: Belly dancing! I had never before seen a professional belly dancer, and she was amazing. She balanced swords in places I didn’t know possible, moved her stomach in even stranger ways, and ended with a traditional Arabic dance. Winding down this spectacular evening, all lights were shut off, and all guests laid on their backs for star gazing. It was truly the perfect ending to the most perfectly imaginable day in the Abu Dhabi desert.