I couldn’t visit Dubai without making a quick trip to see the desert. On the way out, we passed a camel racing track. Camel racing is huge in Dubai. The season runs from late October to early April so we weren’t able to catch any races.
Dubai received bad publicity for the abduction/enslavement of boys for use as jockeys in camel races (the lawsuit was dismissed). To avoid using child jockeys, at least in part because of the inherent danger of the jockeying, Dubai now uses robot jockeys. They look pretty sweet.
A visit to the desert isn’t as peaceful as you’d think. The desolate Sahara this is not. We dove out the busy highway connecting Dubai to Abu Dhabi. It is also a dangerous road; driver’s have to watch out for high-end sports car’s flying down the road. I heard that you have to constantly be on the lookout for them coming up behind you and they expecting you to get over. You also have to be on the lookout for camels. As all camels in the United Arab Emirates are privately owned, hitting one, even if by accident, exposes the driver to massive fines, restitution and jail time!
What I did out there, dune bashing, wasn’t exactly peaceful. It was exhilarating and tons of fun.
We followed a caravan of Toyota Land Cruisers out to the Arabian Desert. Our guide told us these were the best vehicles for desert driving, although they continue to test new ones every year. You might catch a glimpse of the test vehicle in some of the photos. Once we were sufficiently far out and had deflated our tires for the desert driving, our guide pressed play in the CD player and gunned it. I loved being thrown around the sand with the music blaring.
It was great fun and I was even able to sneak a glimpse at the sun setting over the stunning sand dunes…when sand wasn’t splashing on the windows.
After a couple of stops to take in the beautiful scenery, aka photo ops, we piled back into the Land Cruiser and headed toward our “Arabian campsite” for a sunset dinner.