The flight to Dubai was easy, and I had the company of a very amiable passenger in the seat next to mine. The arrangements that had been made for my stopover went very smoothly and a short time after arrival I found myself comfortably ensconced in the Pearl Residence.
Arabian Adventures had a lovely contact person arranged for visitors (Dounia) who was quick to listen to her clients' needs, and signed me up for the Sundowner Safari (otherwise known as the 'Dune Dinner Safari'). This involved being picked up in mid-afternoon by a wonderful driver (Kalid) in a very comfortable 4 wheel drive and I joined 5 others who had signed up.
An hour out of Dubai, we joined the convoy of about 39 other vehicles (I had been mentally picturing about 6 vehicles, not 40!) and drove out into what I consider REAL desert - sand, sand and more sand! Here we drove over and round and up and down sand dunes to a meeting point for photos and a drink, then on to the camel farm for the next break. All great fun - although they had asked me to sign an indemnity form because of my back troubles. However, it wasn't a problem...
The next stop was seemingly in the middle of nowhere to watch a lovely sunset as the sun disappeared behind the dunes (hence the name of the safari) and then on to a bedouin camp setup. Here we had an opportunity to ride camels, drink Arabic coffee (I'm not a coffee drinker, but those who were said it was very good!), and we sat under bedouin tents eating a lovely meal, watching a belly dancer and drinking wine. Some of those on the safari tried the 'hubbly bubbly' pipes (apple flavoured tobacco?) and then it was away and back to town. (if you are going to visit Dubai, I seriously recommend this evening!)
Dubai has construction happening seemingly everywhere! Kalid did say they were building, amongst other things, a theme park that will eventually be bigger than even Disney World!
A wake up call at 5:45 the following morning had me stumbling round to find the shower, then I was whisked off by bus back to the airport for the long haul to Sydney, and then finally back to Christchurch, where Kevin and Andrew met me...
A short stay later and it was away on the final flight home, where my family met me and a short time after that I was sitting back comfortably in my own home, wondering where on Earth the last 5 weeks had gone!