Now THIS is desert! On Friday, I took a desert safari where I learned to really appreciate technology. Outside of our comfortable air conditioned vehicle was a harsh, unforgiving environment. Without water nor trees, I couldn't believe this was a desert where people used to cross by camel for weeks to find the next oasis!

    Since there's no triple A road assistance service in the Arabian Desert, we went in large groups of cars. Driving in one car would pretty much be suicidal - if your car breaks down, even if your phone works, there's no way to locate you.

    I met two guys from Korea that night and we went out to smoke some shisha (hookah, nargile - whichever word you prefer) in the middle of the desert. No Middle East trip is complete without some hookah, I always say.

    The next morning, I left Dubai and headed to my next destination: Al Ain - an oasis town on the UAE-Oman border.
    Apparently, the way the weather works in the Middle East is completely opposite of the states. Al Ain - an inland city in the middle of the desert - was way cooler than scorching hot Dubai and Abu Dhabi by the coast. Well, cooler as in only-95-degrees-instead-of-110, but I was certainly happy. After a week in Dubai, 95 degree weather felt AMAZING.

    Al Ain was (and still is) an old oasis where people used to fight over control of water.  I walked through the big oasis where there were thousands of palm trees everywhere (the old indicator of fresh water nearby). I also tried dates - a palm tree fruit popular in the Middle East. So delicious!
    I met a guy named André (on-DRAY) from Portugal, and we checked out Sheikh Zayed's old summer palace (which surprisingly wasn't that fancy for a palace) and the Al Jihali Fort - which was used to protect the oasis.
    The most stereotypical Arab picture ever.
    The fort was pretty cool and, as always, because it was so hot, we were literally the only two tourists there!
    I also discovered my new favorite animal: Camels... I absolutely love them!
    They always look like they're grinning! The locals tell me that camels are man's best friend here: they're loyal, dependable, and very friendly animals. They're basically the gentle horses of the Middle East.

    We went to one of the last remaining camel souks in the world. It was very fascinating to see Emirati men come in trucks to bargain for a camel or two, the way you would go to a used car lot to buy a car. Apparently, camels also cost thousands of dollars!

    André rented a car (why didn't I think of that?) so we drove to Jebel Hafeet at sunset - the second highest point in the UAE. And for the first time since the US, I felt temperatures in the 80s! It felt almost cold to me!

    André said if I ever have time towards the end of my trip, he'd be happy to show me around Portugal and Spain. What a cool guy!

    Oh and I rode a camel in the desert! I'm such a tourist.
    You may have noticed more pictures in this update, thanks to this awesome (and normal-speed) wifi connection I have in Oman!

    You may have also noticed two new tabs on the site: Videos and People I've Met. Videos take forever to upload, but I will be updating those both as I go along! Check them out!
Logan
8/27/2012 12:01:13 pm

sand desert is scary!

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Your Sister
8/28/2012 05:03:29 am

The camels look very cute :)

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Maureen
8/28/2012 01:57:28 pm

The Al Jihali Fort doesn't look like a real castle, more like a Sand Castle to me.

I like those camels, they are so cute and friendly.

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Myah
9/5/2012 06:03:46 am

Loving your blog Dustin, you are my hero! Best wishes from Focus Features :-)

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12/18/2012 12:09:04 pm

Wow ! that's a wonderful blog and so attractive scene there i like all of pics every pic express unique look.THANKS FOR SHARING IT.

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