Getting a bashing in the desert

//Getting a bashing in the desert

dunes.jpgIf I ever had any green credentials, they are likely to take a bashing every bit as severe as the treatment meted out to some desert dunes on my off-road excursion in a 4×4.
Ten white LandCruisers left the quayside at Fujairah carrying passengers from Brilliance of the Seas on the $125-a-head tour. The vehicles and their drivers were not local, however; while the ship haqd taken all night to sail from Dubai, they had come by road in about 90 minutes.
We left the uninspiring town behind for an hour-long drive through the Hajjar Mountains to the flat plains of the interiors, stopping only for a comfort break which dragged on for far too long simply because there was only one cubicle each for gents and ladies.
Finally reaching the start of our adventure we drove past smallholdings with a few goats, donkeys and cattle, and parked alongside wire-fenced paddock containing a dozen or so haughty camels who looked down their noses as our drivers let air out of the tires ready for the soft sand ahead.
Our leader picked his way through the ever-changing dunes, the remainder of the vehicles following in convoy. Like all the best thrill rides, it began gently enough, the vehicles finding no problems coping with the terrain.
Gradually the dunes got higher and steeper. Barak, our driver, gunned his engine to power us to the top, fine sand billowing from the Toyota’s wheel arches. Then a pause, almost as if he was teasing us before we plunged down the other side, seemingly out of control.
At one point, after our jeep, at number four in the train, had been kept waiting for several minutes wondering what was happening ahead, we crested a brow to see the leader’s wheel tracks veering off into another dune at a crazy angle. Barak was delighted; we were grateful for the reassuring grip of the seatbelts.
If my conscience began to prick at the thought of the environmental damage we could be causing, it was eased when we stopped at the foot of a dune for a quick refreshment break. By the time the empty water bottles and soft drinks cans had been packed away, the relentless wind and the blowing sand had almost obliterated any sign of the wheel tracks caused by our descent.
All too soon it was time to return to the ship, sadly without the promised stop at a roadside market. I probably would not have bought a carpet, certainly would not have been able to come away with a palm or an olive tree, but I was looking forward to asking what the locals found so fascinating about the multiplicity of inflatable toys on display.
I’m not the only one full of hot air.

By | 2017-06-15T16:00:11+00:00 3 February 2011|Cruise Destinations|0 Comments

About the Author:

John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.

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