Saturday, July 9, 2016

Dubai--Gateway to Desert Adventures

The complete article originally appeared in Arizona Highroads, March/April 2012

Dubai is truly a city of excesses, with the largest, biggest, tallest, and most spectacular of everything. Rapid and enormous growth has made the city an exciting place, but noise, dust, and commotion are unfortunate byproducts.
Beach at Fujairah resort on the Indian Ocean

As first-time visitors, my husband and I marveled at stunning glass and steel structures and wandered through elaborately decorated modern malls, while also taking in the souks (native markets), forts, and waterways of Old Dubai. There’s a lot of history here, though overshadowed by thousands of building cranes that line the landscape.

After riding the ancient abra (water taxi) across Dubai Creek, buying all the pashminas and spices I could carry home in my luggage, and haggling for that special piece of gold jewelry, it was time to escape the city for a different view of the region. Excursions provide an important perspective to better understand the federation of independent states on the Persian Gulf known as United Arab Emirates.

Pool and hotel at Fujairah Rotana Resort on the Gulf of Oman
Click on the link above to read about our overnight escape to Fujairah Rotana Resort. Known for golden sandy beaches and sparkling water, Fujairah is located on the East Coast of Unite Arab Emirates, on the Gulf of Oman, which leads into the Indian Ocean.

Another day we explored Al Ain—a natural oasis in the desert about an hour-and-a-half drive southeast from Dubai. Called the Garden City, Al Ain was once a place of respite for ancient wandering Bedouin tribes who traveled at night to escape the heat. It’s an important historical and archeological site off the beaten path for most tourists.
Historic buildings in Al Ain
On the last day of our week-long visit to Dubai City, we took the highly recommended Desert Safari, an adventure only 45 minutes from the city limits, but a world away for the senses. Trips begin in late afternoon, when the air has cooled, and take visitors to a dry, virtually uninhabited environment in one of the largest deserts in the world--a stark contrast to the bustling, well-irrigated city.

Riding the desert dunes is like being on a theme park ride!
Entertainment by a belly dancer
on the desert safari
Up and down our guide drove over steep sand banks, down hills, and then plowing back up again. For more than an hour, we skimmed magnificent dunes, marveled at geometric wind-swept patterns in the sand, and, at one point, slowed down for a herd of camels crossing the path.

Photos by Larry and Beverly Burmeier

1 comment:

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