So, there are these groups on social media called "meet ups" and I have joined a bunch here in Abu Dhabi . AD adventures, AD scuba, escape AD, explore UAE; to name a few . I haven't done anything with any of these groups yet, I'm just a lurker. But finally I decided to get out there and do something! So yesterday I went to lunch with a group called pocket friendly lunches. The group administrator finds cheap eats all around Abu Dhabi and sets up dates for us to go. Yesterday was Indian and it was awesome. About 7 of us were there including me and the kid. It was a small restaurant next to Madinat Zayed mall. My taxi driver knew exactly where it was so that's a good sign!
One of the guys who came to lunch was Ahmed. . .
And he mentioned that he was going to a Halloween camping party in the desert after he left lunch. I was so excited! I saw this meet up in one of the groups I "lurk" in, So I said to him, I saw that! And he said oh really, in which group? I said I don't know. And he said, would you like to come? And, me being me, I thought about it for about 10 seconds and then said, what would I need to bring?! He said yourself! Maybe something to eat. I thought about it for another half second and then said, YES! Ahmed was so kind. After a great lunch, he took me and the kid home where we grabbed some clothes and mobile chargers (cus who could be without their mobile in the middle of the desert?!), and then we met up with the rest of the group at Carrefour, where I bought 2 sleeping bags, 1 camping chair, a gallon of water, some cookies, and some gummy worms (that was the kid). And off we drove, into the middle of nowhere!
|Our google location!|
I do have to say that my kid was none too happy about this! She is not very into doing things without a thoroughly thought out plan! I told her, spontaneity is the spice of life, get used to it!
So we drove with Ahmed about half way to Al Ain, driving for about an hour almost. Then we made a left turn onto a paved road, then a left turn onto a dirt "road" and we were in the desert! We totally needed the GPS coordinates for the rest of the trip! We drove for about another maybe hour and a half. Passed several camel farms, a goat farm, so really rickety housing type structures, and then... nothing but sand. We saw the camping spot and there were several cars parked out on the "road". Ahmed said, "hmmmm, there's one car stuck. And another car stuck, but I think we can make it!" So he reeved the engine and we went barreling into the dunes! We passed no less than 3 stuck SUV's! But we made it to the top of a hill without incident! I clapped when we arrived safely!
|1 of the stuck cars!|
There was a huge mountain of a sand hill where we were camped. Everyone was climbing to the top to check out the view. This woman asked me, hey, you going up?! And pride wouldn't let me back down! It was ok at the start, but it quickly became almost more of a challenge than I could handle! But, at last! I made it!
|this is the view from the top of the huge, mountain sand hill!|
|the kid at the top!|
There were quite a few people there when we arrived and more arrived over the next hour or so. It was quite nice. Their were several families there with little kids ranging in age from about 2 to 9. The camp organizers had several kid games planned which I thought was neat.
In one game the kids had to run to the top of that huge mountain of a sand hill to get bags of candy. Some of the kids ran up like 3 times! Up and down up and down! Then they just kept on running up and down for fun! Sometimes sprinting down, sometimes somersaulting down.
They had the carving of watermelons, because apparently they are much cheaper than pumpkins! And bobbing for apples, musical chairs, eating donuts off a string, making a toilet paper dress. The kids seemed to enjoy it. And I made my kid help out with the festivities to get her out from under me!
|Ohhhhh, spooky... watermelons!|
Of course since we were in the middle of nowhere, there were no, ummmm, "proper" facilities, if you get my drift! So my first foray into the sandy wilderness was quite interesting. First, I had to go far enough away from everyone that no one would walk by while I was doing my business! Walking in sand dunes is not very fun! You kind of look like a drunk at Octoberfest, stumbling around and pulling your feet out of the sand! There are a few very scraggly, very branchy, bushes in the desert. I finally found one and dug a hole. Mission accomplished! It was actually better than I thought it would be! But in the morning, it was horrible because it was full light and everyone could SEE!
That night was fun. We made a bonfire. We made s'mores. We danced around the fire singing at the top of our lungs. Then it was finally, around 3am time for bed! So, this is camping in the UAE. Trying to open a sleeping bag on top of a sand dune with the wind blowing the sand into your eyes, into your pants, and into your sleeping bag that you are so carefully trying to lay out without getting sand into it! Then you get to lay down, inside the sandy sleeping bag, and roll around like a hotdog in boiling water, while trying to smooth out all the lumps of some of the sandest sand ever under your bum! I mean, I think I could have really slept, even with the wind whipping sand into my face all night, and sand crunching underneath my cheek, if it wasn't for the lumps of sand under my bum! And back! And knee cap! I was trying to push them down with my feet, and hands, and elbows! All to no avail!
But the sunrise was worth it!
The mornings sunrise was beautiful! The first time I saw real clouds in the UAE.
And then.... it rained! Like, for real actual rain... in the desert ... in UAE!
For about 5 minutes. Then, sadly it stopped. Welcome to the desert!
So, first time camping, maybe last time?? No! I'd love to go again! Into the desert!
Ciao for now!