The romantic deserts of the Middle East -Abu Dhabi, UAE

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(Enjoying the romance of the Middle East)

I arrive in Abu Dhabi a little flustered. I had almost missed my flight on account of enjoying a foot massage that went on a little longer than I had expected. My first impression of Abu Dhabi is almost exactly as everything you have heard and seen. It is dry, and empty. With random trees dotting the roadside. My cab driver drives erratically. He is from India and drives like someone from India except for the fact that instead of a one lane road with no cows and people and honking, he is on an empty four lane highway weaving in and out as he would have done at home. I am a little anxious about coming, but had been advised that its not as bad as it seems. People are more open then you would expect.

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(Sand dunes)

I walk the city of Abu Dhabi though perhaps it wasn’t that easy to walk. The city and the hotel and the attire of the day I will keep for a story of another day. But the highlight of that trip, had to be the insane Abu Dhabi sand dunes. A young man of about twenty, shows up in a four wheel drive. He picks us up, and heads off to meet the other cars at a predetermined destination that I could never show you on a map. Once there, he and the other drivers release a little air out of the tires. We sit in the back and I hold on tight to the top handle in the car, my motion sickness bracelets already on.

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(Careening through the desert)

Our driver weaves through the desert with great experience. I could never tell you how he knew which way to go, except by the fact that he just knew. The sand dunes looked like every other sand dunes and we watch as the wind slowly shifts its shape. The other cars zoom all around us, each taking a different route.

We are thrown all over the place, and the ride is like being on a rollercoaster except you have no idea of what to expect. You brace your body for the bumps that are coming and I try as much as possible to hold down the food in my belly.

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(Arriving at the Bedouin camp)

After what seems like an eternity, yet seems so short, we arrive at a Bedouin camp in the middle of nowhere. The stars light up the night, and I am transported to an era out of Lawrence of Arabia, or The English Patient. But there is nothing like seeing it live. Nothing like breathing in the night sky and hearing the soft rustle of the sand shifting the landscape.

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(A camel’s hump)

Dinner is a wonderful affair. Barbequed meat, sauces and rice. I am still blown away by the surreal experience. I was in the middle of the desert! Eating and watching a belly dancer in a Bedouin camp! As I finish the night, smoking a shisha with the others. Staring at the sky trying to make out every single star, I think to myself, how grateful, how thankful I am, to have experienced this at least once in my life.

DSC_8876(A belly dancer’s feet)

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