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.
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!
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 .
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.
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.
. 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…
The Madras Market is finally here! After days, nay weeks of constant reminders, vendor verifications and just the eager anticipation of the event – it has finally materialised! Yes , yes… click and portal to brick and mortar and all that jargon… but come take a virtual tour on day 1 of the Madras Market (initiative of the Chennai Shopping group – a group that has helped narrow the gap between many a shopper and vendor along with some good relations to boot )
Anyone who tries to venture into a mall or any other popular hangout over the weekend will shudder at the thought of parking. Definitely a point in favour of Madras Market.
The common theme at the Madras market was of course … errr… Madras / Chennai..duh! Chumbak, Chennai Gaga, and many more stalls which had souvenirs – read bags, stationery, T-shirts, magnets of ‘namma’ Chennai seemed to be popular with both the local crowd and the expats too!
I have to mention the patient artists who were doing their own creative thing by way of caricatures and mehndi – putting a smile on the face of many. Plus the stage that was being set up for the evening’s concert. The food court had a variety of items that would satiate your sweet tooth as well as your continental and spicy one too… What was lacking was maybe a juice stall… With the sun beating down the way it did today – even the humble lime soda would have made top biz… people who were thirsty gave in to ice golas or regular mineral water…As a stall had mentioned on its merchandise – Chennai “land of four summers”
Hopefully same time next year too! See ya…
Well, street food in Thailand is quite a thriving market. You can get your fill from the exotic (animal or sea food), the banal rice items, milk, hot soup, fruits … uff! You think of it, and it might be in one of the by-lanes next to your hotel, shopping area, or even close to the pharmacy. Most of their eats are not as much fried as they are grilled – and I found that very interesting!
I captured some pictures of food items that looked colorful, interesting and new to my eyes.
And finally the food we understand best… Just down every street of exoticism , you can also find….
…. A McDonalds! A Language that speaks to every faint-hearted tourist 🙂
I wouldn’t say that these are the best photos. But it is rather interesting to look at the same / similar subjects during daytime and the night…
Food options by night…
A rooftop restaurant at Puducherry, great view of the sea and the city, excellent wind in your face and great comfort food. This hotel is located on the rooftop of Hotel Corbellis on Mission Street.
Don’t let the simple furniture and decor, cane chairs and chequered sheets, fool you into downplaying your expectations. This place has some genuine Italian food – we decided to go for the Garlic bread, Lasagne and Roast chicken, with a very tasty dip that came along. The bread and the Lasagne was fresh – nothing tasted pre-cooked or pre-heated.The lime water soda though, was nothing to write home about. Rates were also quite reasonable – An average meal for two set us back by Rs.750. My friend and I decided to skip the dessert a cause de reasonably sufficient portions.
On the whole a nice place- the ambience, the view, and definitely the breeze and the food. Things you could do there as we take an idea from some of the others there – read a book, sip some wine and just forget the world around you – (except when you come back to reality to take a bite). Or you could simply go there in large groups with a large appetite. Definitely worth your while!