Out in the desert, dune driving

During my stay in Abu Dhabi I spent a day out in the desert. Needless to say, I loved it so much that I didn't want to leave, I would have gladly spent the night in a tent.

I'm not exactly a "risk-lover", though, so when I was told that we were about to go dune driving in a four-wheel-drive, I artlessly went: "I can't take photos if I'm in the car!"

"Nice try," must have thought our driver, but politely replied: "Don't worry, we will stop and you'll be able to photograph the cars behind us."

So, after having skillfully bypassed any London or Dublin car hire for four years in order to spare myself from driving on the wrong side traffic, now I was about to let a stranger bring me up and down huge sandy dunes.

"You know, cars can get stuck in the sand, drivers must be *really* good. You know, cars can somersault in dunes' peaks, drivers must be *really* good!" Those were just some of the warnings that went past my mind when our driver started up. Of course I was hoping he was *really* good. And he was, indeed.
Fifteen 4x4 Land Cruisers darting up and down the dunes were spectacular, and minute after minute the light in the desert seemed to change while we approached the sunset time, and every photo seems taken in different deserts.

This yellowish empty landscape has always fascinated me and I'm realising many people are attracted by such boundless view, but not as many can explain why. Maybe it's the very fact of being somewhere limitless, maybe it's due to the mysterious history that lies behind those territories, or maybe it's the charm of the "Arabian nights" that still lives in our secret thoughts.

Abu Dhabi desert has lived up to my expectations, and now I'm following Islam's greatest traveller, Ibn Battutah, in his adventures through the tales of Tim Mackintosh-Smith, and I feel proud everytime I read about a place I have visited too, and dream of spots I still have to discover.


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