Thursday, December 15, 2016

November 4th: Dunes and Drinks

Mark and I got up kind of early, made some breakfast, and were out the door before 9am. It was time for some dune bashing!

Our driver picked us up right at the villa and an hour or so later, we were somewhere in Sharjah in the middle of the desert.

We stopped at some sort of rest area/activity place/small market to wait for the other cars. Mark and I passed the time by checking out the camels hanging out off to the side.

It took a little while, but the rest of the cars eventually showed up. Mark and I met back up with our driver, hopped back in the car, and we were off to the dunes.

It turned out our driver was the leader of our group of vehicles. It was insane! He clearly knew what he was doing, and we were flying all over the dunes. It was pretty crazy to see a really capable SUV actually used for what it was designed for, instead of just driving it on paved roads.  :)

We went pretty far out into the dunes, then stopped to take a break, The other cars showed up a few minutes after we stopped, and everybody else got out for a break, too.

I used the time to take a whole bunch of pictures...

...and Mark tried a bit of sandboarding.

Every once in a while, another SUV, truck, or ATV would zip past before disappearing over the dunes.

This is how we must have looked on the ride out.

You could look in almost any direction and only see dunes.

Our guide offered to take a few pictures of us before we got back in the car.

He did a really nice job!

I especially liked this one.  :)

 We had a few more minutes to hang out, and I just happened to catch one of the girls from another car wandering off by herself. This is one of my favorite pictures I've taken in a while.

A few more groups showed up, so we decided it was time to head back.

There was a lot more dune bashing on the way! We eventually made our way back to the road and everyone got out for a break.

Part of our excursion was a camel ride, so we got to ride the camels we saw earlier!

The guy in charge of the camels offered to take our picture, too.

I like the camel's face in this one.   :)

After the camel ride, it was time to head back to Dubai. We spent the ride back talking with our guide a bit about the upcoming election (his hope was that 'Mr. Angry' wouldn't get elected), and we eventually got back to the villa. We got cleaned up, grabbed lunch, and hopped in an Uber with Marcus for some more exploring.

We started at Souk Madinat, a newer, indoor version of the souks we had seen earlier in the week. We stopped for coffee at one of the cafes; there was a pretty sweet view of the Burj Al Arab (where we had tea on our first day in town).

It was nice to be out of the heat, and we spent a while wandering around. I bought a couple pashminas and a small picture, and Mark bought us one of the Arabian lamps that I had drooled over when we went to the other souks. At one point, we wound up in an antique store that was crammed with all sorts of random things. Mark really liked a silver coffee pitcher thing, and while he was haggling with the shop owner, Marcus and I wandered around a bit and managed to find a big bust of Hitler, along with some Nazi war medals. Classy! Apparently they aren't very fond of Jewish people in the UAE. 

After a bit more wandering we went to The Agency, a wine bar in the souk. We hung out for a while, shared a bottle of wine, and were just polishing off the cheese plate when Megan met us after work. We hung out for a few more minutes, then grabbed a car to head to our next stop.

Mark had looked up a few whiskey bars in Dubai, so the first one we checked out was the Vault. It was near the Burj Khalifa, and some of the seats had awesome views of the city.

Megan and Marcus both got wine and Mark got some whiskey, but my drink was the craziest. I forget what it was called, but I think it was some variation of an Old Fashioned. It came in a wooden box and when I opened it, smoke wafted out. It was pretty neat.  :)

We hung out at the Vault for a little while, then took a cab to the Nippon Bottle Company. They had a pretty good variety of whiskies and Mark was pretty impressed. We got a couple more drinks, took a car to Elevation Burger for some delicious delicious post-drinking burgers, then went back to the house. It had been another long, but fun, day, and I was looking forward to sleeping in a bit the next morning!

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