The coolest thing i did in 2017
Dubai is a jewel in the Emirates crown, that’s how I’ve come to think of it. No I’m not employed by the Dubai tourism board, but if they are hiring… they can surely come holla at me (please and thank you).
The three amigos (is that a film?), aka my boys and i — spent six rather splendid nights in Dubai this past October. This was a first time visit for us all, and we all hope it won’t be our last. It was steaming! Seriously, next level type of heat.
This trip was a big stretch for me in more ways than one. Travelling alone abroad with two young children, not surprisingly — is super stressful! I was so anxious building up to it, wandering just how i would cope. I crossed everything, and asked the Universe to keep a special spotlight on us.
There were three main activities i wanted us to experience whilst in Dubai, visit the Burj Khalifa (currently the tallest building in the world), Legoland and desert safari.
We did the Burj Khalifa first on day three, for a girl like me who suffers from vertigo — this was a tall order (sorry, not sorry *shrugs shoulders*). It was quite something, my ears got blocked as they do onboard a plane. What a feeling, what a view. The boys were wowed, and for once had the good sense not to run around like maniacs. I was impressed i didn’t pass out.
Legoland was up next on day four, this was kid heaven for a nine and six year old. We had no queuing to deal with, so did some rides twice. I got some respite whilst the boys ran around in the climbing area, so a win win. We stayed all day long, basically until security ushered us towards the exit at closing time.
Then came day five, late afternoon we set off on our desert safari in an enclosed four by four (the importance of this detail will become apparent). The hope was we wouldn’t fry in the desert if we went after the midday sun started to cool slightly, also we wanted to experience the sunset in the desert and star gaze at the end.
Our driver/guide approached the desert, it was so vast. He explained the air pressure had to be let out of the tyres somewhat to navigate the dunes without them bursting (in hindsight, that was a heads up for what was to come). We continued on at a steady pace, our guide pointed out several different elusive wildlife along the way. The kids oohed and aahed in all the right places, the driver said we needed to drive to another side to spot more.
Then suddenly, we were at the edge of a long dune. The driver accelerated, taking us to the peak and then drove straight down the other side again at speed. We all squealed ‘oh my gosh!’ The kids were laughing their heads off and squealing in delight, we had been tossed around like toy soldiers in a tin can. In that moment, our enclosed jeep made perfect sense and i was super grateful. I held onto the handle on the ceiling of the jeep and told the boys to do the same.
We were now in some sort of sand dune assault course it seemed, without a moments hesitation — off we went again. Up and over, round and round, every which way but upside down at speed. More squeals of delight, laced with a little hint of fear. I am not a thrill seeker, and do not find roller-coasters appealing. Yet there we were, in the middle of the desert on a sand dune roller ride — and it was insanely exhilarating.
After ten minutes or so, we drove to a flatter plane got out of the jeep and wandered around criss-crossing the desert for a spell. It was so peaceful, so surreal. The boys ran around with reckless abandon. As we sat down on top of a hill, we watched the sun setting in the distance. It was art in motion.
Back to the jeep, we headed to the camp site. There were already maybe one hundred other jeeps, full of fellow desert adventurers when we arrived. It was a traditional Arabian style site, with cushions for seating and rugs and throws and covered pagodas and lamps all around. We ate and drank taking it all in.
After dinner there were henna artists, we all got inked. There was a glorious belly dancer - no, not me. Her hips did not lie. The three of us then sloped off to just outside the site and had a short camel ride, as you do — nothing to see here. A word about camels, they are huge close up. The boys were panicking, but like a good mother — i made them get on anyway. Pro tip, if you ever get on a camel, hold on for dear life when they sit down to let you off. They lean forward first at such a swift pace and at such an angle, that you could fly off if not (i had to save my son from that fate, you’ve been warned).
As we sat back around the main camp site, i knew the night was drawing to a close. There was an announcement that the lights would be switched off for a few minutes, so we could hopefully star gaze. Off they went and we all look upwards, the sky was a sea of blackness and silvery moon. No stars. There were quiet murmurings around the camp. We keep looking upwards just hanging on in hope, and then… the stars appear. Twinkling away like jewels in the night sky, forget Tiffany’s — these were priceless.
It was spectacular, it was unforgettable.
Desert safari in Dubai was the coolest thing i did in 2017.
Dear reader, what was the coolest thing you did in 2017? Shout it out.
Happy new year to you all
Photo credit: That’s us in the desert
Disclaimer: The title came from a question posed by C J Johnson over on Twitter, do go holla at him