Life In A Desert Resort

When I initially pictured staying at a desert resort (given the scorching hot temperatures outside) there would not be too many ‘activities’ that one could possibly do during their stay here, apart from laying around the resort not doing much! To my own surprise, in the 3 days we were there, we ended up with more than few activities than I thought possible.

The list of activities included:

1. Buffet breakfast with desert in the background

Breakfast at Qasr Al Sarab

Breakfast never felt so exotic, with a sand dune as your backdrop. Coupled with some exotic items like date flavoured camel milk and some local middle-eastern staples (pita bread, humus), it’s worth a couple of pictures and a few ‘ooh’ and ‘ahh’ feeling.

2. Swimming at the resort pool

Not just any pool, but a pool in the middle of a desert! Given the average 40+ degrees temperatures during the day, the pool is constantly cooled down to keep it ‘swimmable’. You wouldn’t hang around the pool area too long during the day though, unless you want to go home feeling like a cooked lobster.

3. Camel Walk

I’ve done this before while I was in China towards the north western region, but thought these camels were treated a little better. Apparently these camels were all ex-racers. Whilst we (or at least me anyway) associate camels with slow trotting, lazy animals, it’s pretty cool when you see these animals running on sand. Well, these are retired camels, and all they do now is carry tourists like us around daily. I had a grumpy one, and didn’t like anyone touching his face at all. Perhaps I’m a bit too heavy for him.

4. Early Morning Sunrise Walk

It’s probably more appropriately called ‘early morning exercise’ than a walk. Waking up 5:30am was hard enough, walking up a dune at that time in the morning on soft sand (even though it’s not that high) was quite an effort. The reward in the end was a little underwhelming, given we we were suppose to see the sun ‘rise’. It was more like a watching a tiny spot coming out!

The view was great though from the top of the dune. To think that the people of the UAE, were once upon a time all Bedouins (sand people), it’s hard to picture how anyone could live in such a harsh environment.

5. Dune Bashing

I’ve never come across the term ‘dune bashing’ prior to this trip to UAE. It’s literally just sitting in a 4WD, and then let an experienced tour guide driving you up and down the sand dunes (at speed)! At first thought, you would imagine these cars to get stuck easily and regularly, but with skill, these guys zoom around the dunes like it was normal to drive like that. For the passenger, think ‘rollercoaster’ and you get the idea what it feels like. For me, it would probably be more fun if I get to drive the 4WD. Having said that, I would probably be stuck in the sand in no time.

So what were we doing during the middle of the day when the temperature was 41 degrees outside? Not much really. You get the sense that people don’t really do much during the day here, and understandably so. Most of the activities are done late evening, or at night. We spent much of the day relaxing, going to the gym, sat around in lounges, use the steam and sauna, read a book, check emails……. etc etc..

I suppose it is the equivalent of a beach bum living in Gold Coast (minus the surfing)?

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