Straight off the bat I have to say I loved, loved, loved this. But first there was a little shock to overcome…
I paid for a tour to go out to the desert in Meydan near the Oman border to do some dune bashing in a 4WD, eat a traditional meal and watch a belly dancing and Emirati dance show. Also thrown in was henna painting on hands/arms, camel ride, shisha pipe and I paid extra to camp out overnight in the desert.
There were 15 4WDs so I thought at least a few people were going to be camping out with me.
Imagine my surprise when I found out that I was the only one doing the camping overnight. In the 15 4WDs all the passengers were returning to Dubai at 9pm after dinner and the show. Okay so that made me quite nervous, however, I was assured it would be very safe by our 4WD driver Fadi. I decided to go ahead with it.
If I was going to have my throat slit in the middle of the night it would be after I had enjoyed myself seeing new things. I was told there would be a staff member there too.
At the end of the show I watched everyone go wondering if I had made a big mistake by staying. The three staff members Aziz, Ahmed and Yasirali (I hope I have the I have the spelling correct) started cleaning up. A sleeping bag was brought for me and I was asked where I would like to sleep. I indicated under the stars and the sleeping bag was laid out for me. Did I need a drink? Yes please.
I was told the power would go out at 10.30pm. I wondered if I should find some kind of weapon. I was quite surprised when the last staff member Yasirali took his falcon and disappeared saying goodnight to me. I had imagined that the staff members were going to be sleeping nearby.
The power made a loud noise when it turned off at 10.26pm and I was momentarily stunned in a frozen position unable to move because you might say I was a little scared. There was silence. I was alone. But a calm descended upon the world and the campsite took on a different character. A gentle warm breeze could be heard and felt. The stars majestically came out to play in the dark and after a few minutes the stress and worries of life melted away. I relaxed a little and a peaceful feeling came over me eventually.
That sky was the most beautiful thing I had seen. So many stars and a crescent moon which disappeared quickly. However those stars stayed and hung out with me and were my friends for the night. I was watching planes go past overhead with a frequency that seemed to be every few minutes. Man, I can’t believe how busy that sky was. I didn’t sleep a lot but why waste the wonderful show that nature had provided for me. In between flyovers it was wonderful to experience SILENCE.
At 5.30am I noticed the sky was getting a little lighter so I grabbed my camera and climbed to a higher point. The sun hid behind a cloud for quite a while and I waited patiently. Finally the sun made his grand entrance and I was off taking photos.
When I had had enough I returned to my campsite and packed up a little. Soon the sun was starting to get stronger so I moved my things to the shade. I had still not seen anyone yet.
At 7.00am I was greeted by the three smiling faces of Aziz, Ahmed and Yasirali and a good morning. I didn’t get breakfast as promised but hey I was alive and I had just experienced nature at its best at night-time. After a few hours Fadi returned to collect me.
He had a friend in the car and we spoke about Emirati life in general. Back at the hotel I came back to earth.