10:00a - It was an adventure just getting started this morning to meet up with Butterfly Tours for this 12-hour Extreme Safari tour in the UAE. We left enough time to get to our meet up spot from our hotel in Sharjah, but our driver misunderstood where we actually needed to be. We were dropped off at a place that was 20 minutes or so from the correct location. Taxi drivers in this country, do not know addresses, they know landmarks. That being said, you might be hard-pressed to find an address as it is, so maybe it is good that the drivers go by landmarks. Anyway, we met up with the tour driver and are now en route to meet up with the rest of the tour in Hatta (I assume), 61km away at the time of this writing.
There is a lot of desert out here. Once you get south of the cities on the Persian Gulf - Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, etc - there is not much development. None really, but lots and lots of sand. The roads are perfectly smooth with no potholes or unusual roughness. Occasionally, we see other people with recreational vehicles or recreational toys, dirt bikes, dune buggies, etc. This is the perfect area for that kind of play. It is doubtful there is much "private" property out here.
11:00a - First oasis stop - rest rooms, a little shop, some recreation (4x4 motor bikes and camel rides). There were also some falcons that were fun to photograph. I imagine these little oases are nice to have on long drives across the desert.
11:38a - we have now crossed the first border into Oman. No pictures allowed at the border, unfortunately. The driver tells us that the road crosses the border a couple of different times on this trip. Checkpoints are at each one.
12:00p - past 2nd Omani checkpoint. Here are some hills south of that checkpoint.
12:37p - end of the paved road and a stop
1:00p - No more pavement from here. Woohoo! What they don't tell you is that the reason it's not paved from here on is that it is under construction. Oh well, it is still fun to drive on.
1:15p - Back on the paved road. :-( That didn't take long.1:30p - Coming into Hatta
Hatta Dam - the dam has been here for 30 years, but for the past 4-5 years it has not rained enough to fill the reservoir.
2:00p - stopped for lunch at a service station. I like the way they spelled teriyaki.
3:00p - Back on the road3:30p - after two more checkpoints, we are back in the UAE. Passports are back in our possession and in our pockets, so my assumption is that we will not be back in Oman anymore today.
3:40p - reached a big sandy hill ear Lahbab in the UAE. We are stopped right now to deflate the tires a little for sandy driving.
These pics don't do the "dune bashing" experience much justice, but ... Pay attention to the horizon, it will provide evidence to how tilted the truck was on these dunes.
4:30p - Arrived at Tazeem Al Sahara - a tourist destination where we will be served dinner, belly dancing and more importantly, a drink. We have been dry since we arrived in Sharjah.
Waiting for the crowds to arrive.
Finally found a place to get a beer $7 for a beer imported from Mexico. I look a little dazed because I don't know where to look when my picture is being taken with my iPad.
7:00p - dancing started