Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Luau in the Desert

First…I WISH I had more pictures for this…but then, when I think back…the real high point of this night WAS the Sand dunes and the desert!  (Well, as I re-read that...it was not really the high point..but it was the most picturesque part of the evening just for the sheer reason that by the time we got to the dinner portion...the sun was almost down.)

After we were done sliding, unsticking and generally having a terrific time in the sand, it was time to go to the “village in the desert” for dinner, henna tattoos, camel rides and “experiencing” local life.
How did we know about the village?  WAY off in the distance we could see rows of lights…one of the riders in our car asked our driver what the lights were. He answered “it’s a village”…to which she responded…”OH, that must be a village in the desert”  

Not sure what her first clue was?  Could it have been where we were? (Dubai).  Could it have been where we had JUST been (the DESERT)…or maybe the SAND in her shoes gave her the answer she sought.  Well, she was VERY astute and our car headed that way.

We first saw a “walled” city…and everyone who worked the event was male dressed in traditional garb.

We were kind of just let loose by our driver, so Corey and I made our way to the super-hard and heavy pillows that surrounded low tables.  Naw….not too interested in sitting there….so we made our way to a Gazebo.  MUCH easier on the back.

We were given appetizers….a vegetable roll up, fruits, a nice snack.

The henna tattoos had me especially interested and I made my way there before the crowds figured out where to get that done.  I chose to have it put on my arm vs. my hand since I wash my hands so much, I was hoping the tattoo would last longer.
IMG_2516 The tattoos are floral…and this took her all of 30 seconds to do!  (there never would be a line)  It turns out she was one of two women we would see that evening.

Notice it is BROWN Henna….We learned our lesson from Mexico and the use of black henna…just ask Kirk…it was NOT pretty and involved oral and topical antibiotics and a mark on his arm that lasted 6 months…good parenting at it’s best.

The Tattoo was included in the price of our evening….I wish I had had one put on my ankle.
Interestingly, there was alcohol there…I guess this is a bend towards tourists.  I had a not bad glass of wine.

Next came a belly dancer.  Just one…which was interesting b/c she had a HUGE stage to cover and she did it well. I’m not sure how they get their hips to do all that work while the tops of their bodies stay perfectly still..but she managed it beautifully.

This is where I turned to Corey and asked him if the guys thought we were silly for doing this ride and dinner.  To which he responded:
“Well, it’s just like a Luau…but it’s in the desert”  Fair Point!  I’ve been to plenty of Luau's on Maui.  It is a way to share culture.

…and then…here came a pretty big part of the evening…

A Camel ride..yes…also included in the price of our evening.

Here are the pics…and STOP LAUGHING right now…b/c I share most things…I will share the “Gooberest” picture of the night…Corey is still laughing.
IMG_2481 IMG_2483Can you see in the 2nd picture I’m just laughing hysterically?

First…yes, they have mouth covers.  My sister bets that THESE guys have never        miss-behaved but since Camels have such a bad rap….ALL have to wear them. They actually remind me of skull caps for noses.

(we aren’t sure what the specky things are…the flash was picking up something)
Soon…off we walk
IMG_2485 The shadows we cast were pretty cool…but the flash wiped them out
IMG_2487Here’s me throwing the “Shaka” sign for our friend Doug
IMG_2488I spent the ride “talking” to my camels.  I apologized for my weight…chatted to them about their nose caps…I’m odd…no two ways about it.  I talk to ALL animals…like these camels (or the cats in HK) understand English…well, it makes me feel better
All too soon it is time to get down which is the most exhilarating partIMG_2490 We all survived…I am still thrilled…and I was amazed that hardly ANYONE took advantage of this! 

Next..we came in to have dinner…Wait for it…Men and Women queue separately for dinner…like TWO serving stations…this was very very odd for all of us.

BUT, it explains what I had seen at breakfast…a gentleman at his table and his helper and female companion (wife?) at another.  This is another nod to very local traditions.

Dinner was buffet (as I shoved down images of Noro-virus being on EVERYTHING) and consisted of salads, breads…all things local…(two days later…we are well)

If I thought it was tough to count Chinese Food…this stuff was especially tough!

The proteins were chicken, lamb and fish. All good (and for me…the non-adventurous eater…all recognizable)
To end our evening there was a performance by a Whirling Dervish…IMG_2498 Sorry for the super bad picture…but there he is whirling over his head…and then…..
IMG_2494IMG_2497 The DISNEYLAND Electrical Parade broke out!  I hadn’t seen THAT since I turned 35…let’s just say it was many years ago before the darn thing was sent to Euro – Disney
Lights aside…the performance was amazing…

Sadly, after that it was time to go.  The other two couples in our group did not do Henna OR camels….I did not get over to the Hubbly Bubbly (pipes)…I can not fathom WHY you would not take advantage of all (or most) things offered..but ok…that’s just me

All in all, I think we took pretty good advantage of seeing what the local tours had to offer.

I am in heaven!


  1. You look awesome on that camel!
    Henna actually lasts longer on the palms even though you wash your hands much more frequently. I think it has to do with the thickness of the skin on your hands. That's what the henna artist told me anyways. I had one on my palms and it lasted weeks. Kelley had one on the back of her hand and it faded within the week. Who knows? Yours is beautiful and I bet you enjoy it when your eyes catch a glimpse of it. Now you're ready for the real thing, lol!

  2. NOW you tell me!! Not sure about the other, but I am enjoying this one. I have a bracelet with me Corey bought me years ago...so I'm very "Dubai-ish" :)