Saturday, December 31, 2011

UAE - Dubai Safari

Our company sent my Arab colleagues and I a few months back to Dubai for training and conduct inspection job. They asked me what could be an unforgettable experience in Dubai which would not cost an arm and leg. I told them to forget Dubai Creek Dhow trip and better go for Dubai Safari. It costs 200 Dhs per head.

So we all agreed to go for Dubai Safari. Actually, it was my first time also to go to Dubai Safari adventure but I have an idea on what activities to expect.

The travel agent fetched us from our hotel at 4:45 PM and traveled for almost an hour to a remote area outside Dubai city proper.

We reached a place where several 4 x 4 Land Cruisers were waiting. Guests were assigned in group. I was lucky to be with my Arab colleagues because our local driver extended our sand dune bashing so as to please and impress his fellow Arab guests; he even allowed us to stop and take photos in the most picturesque area while the other guests where not allowed to stop and alight from their 4 x 4. Due to tremendous torque needed by our 4 x 4, our local driver opened the hood to cool down the engine while we were having photo-ops.

with our local driver


my colleagues

After sand bashing, all safari guests were driven to a place that resemble a local village for an evening of fun and to have a dinner (barbeque) and local foods.

Upon arrival at this place, I enticed my colleagues for a free camel ride; it was my first time to ride a camel. I knew they were not that excited like me due to being familiar with this desert animal, they were even more curious at the all terrain vehicle or quad bike. Nevertheless, they joined the fun later after realizing how expensive to ride the quad bike.

There were three camels ready for the rides. The first one was the mother camel, I believe. The other two camels were tied to her thus they simply followed her wherever she went. A bedouin guy was assisting the Safari guests. I have observed that the mother camel was probably pissed-off due to repeated activity and even tried to bite one guest, luckily her mouth was covered. The bedouin guy hit her many times at the back of her neck. She continuously grumbled for the rest of 100 meters ride.

due to its height, it was difficult to ride a camel

There was a slight sand storm during that time causing some hazy reflection on my cam. I was fortunate that I have installed a UV filter/protection to my DSLR, otherwise my lens might get damaged by the sand.

After the ride, we went inside the party venue which resemble a local village. Inside this place, lady guests can have their hands or feet painted with henna while for the men, they can try sheesha, a flavored tobacco using water as filter. It was very entertaining to have sheesha due to water gurgling whenever you inhale the smoke from the tobacco. I tried this before and I liked the apple flavor. However, you should be aware that whatever flavor you try it is still tobacco.


center stage for the dancers

drinks from this bar were not free


a 10 Dhs shot with the falcon

The long wait was over, a belly dancer appeared on stage and danced on arabic tune.

On her following dance, she put on a black see through dress and asked some lady guests to join her on stage.

After her dance, it was dinner time. All the guests fell in several lines. We had buffet type dinner but the main course or barbeque was being distributed by the staff.

The Tanoura Dance

That was the first time I have watched a tanoura dancer. I have heard about this dance from my Egyptian colleagues. This dance was religious in nature and according to them the dancer entered a trance like state during the entire performance. The dancer would keep on spinning until the end of the dance without showing any sign of dizziness; our dancer kept on spinning for more than 30 minutes if I am not mistaken. They normally wear colorful and heavy dress which creates dazzling images once they started rotating or spinning. The modern Tanoura dance now incorporates lights on their colorful skirts thus when all the ambiance lights goes off, his skirt light produces amazing images or pattern. It was simply amazing.

First was some juggling act. It was difficult to hold those tambourine-like items while spinning. And he kept on increasing them.

Then the actual spinning of his skirt. He would remove his colorful upper and heavy skirt then spin it. What a skill!

After that he would throw the heavy skirt to his assistance and lit his second skirt and vest.

lights were off

lights off again

Finally, he would remove his lighted skirts and throw them to his assistance and ask for the first skirt. He would spin this skirt again for few minutes then throw it in the air and catch it with a shout, that was his final act.

Actually, there was another act by another guy but he was not as good as the Egyptian dancer.

It was their only Filipino staff and he was celebrating his birthday. By jest, they asked him to spin the skirt but we already knew the result. A birthday cake was prepared by his colleagues.

That ends my desert safari experience. I met pinoy explorer here and he preferred to stay at the background.


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