Shirt from India for the desert safari: check. I mean how many times are you going to ride a camel in Dubai, right? Exactly.
3:30 pm and it’s time to go! Dominique has us get into three Toyota 4-Runners and we take off on our adventure. Krista, Taylor, Amber, Landyn, and I were in the first car which was also the car that would be going the fastest around the sand dunes. Tajhed, our driver greets us and asks if you would like the radio on. The best part about having the radio on was that as soon as we got to the desert Tajhed turns the music up and starts driving. Racing through the sand dunes of the Arabian Desert like that was exhilarating but I have never been so happy to be on flat ground afterwards. We took two stops during the excursion which meant a few things: 1) a smoking break for the drivers, 2) photo opportunities and, 3) a chance to catch some fresh air to settle your stomachs. We arrived at the camp site were we would be riding a camel, sand boarding, and having an authentic dinner. Three camels lined up near the entrance greeted us as we stepped out of the vehicle. Amber was my camel buddy for the evening. Our camel was a little grouchy but I would be, too, if my owner was treating me the way he was to the camels. I felt sad for the camels. We make our way into the camp site and sit down at the tables reserved for our group. Music is playing in the background and the smell of food is filling my nostrils. While the food was great and everything else that was offered (henna, traditional dancing, etc.), I still had to take a step back and think to myself about the experience. I felt like a true tourist during that moment. Everything about the afternoon was artificial. While some things may have been truly authentic, I couldn’t see past the artificial things once I really took a look at it. I’m grateful for the opportunity to experience it but wish there was more to it. I’m extremely happy I got to ride a camel and walk through the desert, I’m not going to lie about that. I just wish there was something more cultural and authentic to the experience.