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DESTINATION DUBAI – Part 2

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DESTINATION DUBAI – Part 2

THE DESERT SAFARI

If you have read Part 1 of my trip at Sukanya’s Blog (https://sukanyaramanujan.wordpress.com/2015/05/28/guest-post-destination-dubai-by-mathangi-jeyabal/)

– let’s take off from where we stopped last. While locals at Dubai might not really be gung ho about the Desert Safari (they must have done it a zillion times) – as a tourist , it is something that you cannot miss. There are innumerable choices to book a desert safari – right from something that looks really affordable to the ones that make your eyes pop out (are they throwing in a camel for free or what?). Jokes apart – read the reviews and pick the one that suits your budget and maybe a bit more. We went with Orient Tours , and I was happy with the whole experience as you might infer on further reading of this post.

If you fix a slightly upscale option – you get picked up from your residence in the vehicle of your choice (we got a really smooth Land cruiser / you can even opt for a Hummer) and are driven to the outskirts of the city. You pretty much observe the well planned out city’s landscapes fading out as you enter desert territory – arid conditions, prickly bushes and miles and miles of nothingness. You get a pit stop – where you can stock up on some snacks / coffee etc and then you go further into the land of fantastic sand dunes.

You are really not prepared for the first experience of dune bashing as they call it – where your driver simply plunges vehicle et al right from the top of the sand dune till the bottom. Once you get used to it – you secretly start wishing the dunes get higher and higher and your drop gets steeper and steeper. Your driver will stop at half point to let some air out of the tires so as to get a better grip driving up slope. Its no fun when you are halfway up there and realize you are tumbling back down uncontrollably. Its useful to check on the cars that go ahead (there are many of them that stick to a particular route) – to have a fair idea of what’s coming next.

Did the car behind ya get stuck?
Did the car behind ya get stuck?
Steep fall
Tracks ahoy !
Tracks ahoy !

Your tourist and Facebook friendly driver lets you get out at the most photo friendly spots – giving you sufficient time for selfies/ groupfies and what not!

Groupfie time! Random tourists
Groupfie time! Random tourists

The sand surprisingly is not so hot to your bare feet and is almost silky smooth. There are many almost virgin sand dunes, where your footprints do leave the first imprints making you hope it stays there embedded in the sands of time ( wishful thinking eh ?) Kids and adults just go crazy here deciding to climb up and slide down – forget inhibitions and think childhood memories .

Footprints in the sands of time...
Footprints in the sands of time…

Post play time is a visit to the camel farm, a chance to see some exotic, fat lipped “Camelus dromedaries”, lazily chewing something and giving you the shifty eye. They are willing to be petted and photographed with and are absolutely friendly.

Camelus Dromedarius - yep its a camel!
Camelus Dromedarius – yep its a camel!

Your last stop is the actual camp at the desert. As the sun sets, you are under the vast skies , in small tents – you can either put your feet up and relax, or go sand dune sledding, get your hands painted with henna, hold a captive falcon, get a hookah fix,watch some sand art before dinner is served. Sadly there are not many options for the vegan or vegetarian population, but if you like your proteins (read meat) you are in for a treat. The food was good, the activities make you tired and you are ready to call it a day – when you are invited to a treat of some Arabian music, traditional dances including a voluptuous belly dance.

Henna time
Henna time
Dinner is served!
Dinner is served!
This guy did quite a number...
This guy did quite a number…
And so did she !
And so did she !
The sun sets over the desert ... time to wrap up!
The sun sets over the desert … time to wrap up!

. As you get dropped at your residence you sleep well happy in the thought that it was a day well spent.

My next post is about the extravagant gold souks and enchanting spice markets… don’t forget to watch out for this space…

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Pensive walk…

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A cut through the fields…

As I zoomed into these green fields from afar, I really enjoyed the sight of this narrow canal cutting it into two parts. The culmination of water, sunlight and greenery somehow made the simultaneous presence of all three factors seem so wonderful.

Pensive walk…

And almost from nowhere, appeared this sun-tanned old lady, sickle in hand and a small red cloth pouch tucked into her sari at the waist, nosering, golden bangles and her silver hair held in place by a careless “kondai” (hairstyle)- and oblivious of my attention directed towards her, she walked along the wall of the canal, unsmiling and deep in thought.

 

Life in India – VI

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IMAGES FROM A MOVING TRAINThe Journey back to the city

During my journey back, I did not want to limit myself to the windows and the air-conditioned coupe. Instead I thought it would be nice to get some pictures in natural light, and was up as early as 6am to see how I could fare with my camera and the moving train. The morning mist proved spoilsport for some pictures, but was awesome when you learn to look at life without the “Fotoapparat” . This time the scenery was different, since we were getting back to the city. More buildings, bridges,and people in place of lakes, hills and fields. Nevertheless – it always is interesting to capture some moments and make them memories. 

All rows converging in the mist
Trees huddling together in the mist
Fields behind the gravel
Black bed of gravel against white bed of mist
Bridge under construction
Construction materials or scrap?
The train whizzing past - and the road just off the tracks

Parallel Tracks…

Strangers become Friends - (These people were up early waiting for their respective trains)
Past hills
And huts...
And pets in the huts - a rooster, cow and calf
Past temples...
And brightly colored houses
Traffic at railway gate...
Just clicked it because it seemed an interesting structure - I do not know what this is!
The sun rises...
We slow down a bit...
Time for a cuppa! Coffee - The elixir of life for many a passenger
By the time the sun was up... we were nearing our destination
Signaled by the arrival of modern architecture right next to the humble hut...

Life in India – V

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IMAGES FROM A MOVING TRAIN

Having gone on a trip by train recently, I was forced to capture images only through the window of my air-conditioned compartment. Unfortunately the window, which was my filter between my camera and the fleeting outside world, was really not what I would call clear. Dust settled on dew covered the main part of my window – nevertheless, I’ve attempted to take some pictures to take you along the journey with me. Do come along and put up with the blurry pics…

Post harvest / Pre-next farming session...
Creepers and Farming
Green Fields
Some contrasting shades...
Mountains / Hills ???
Houses at the foothills
Coconut trees in a line...
The fields that were bordered by the coconut trees...
These women take a break to see our train passing by 🙂
Rushing past the station
Chugging through non-stop
Fleeting glimpses of the station
The window through which I saw it all...