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When the thought of going to Dubai first came up, I was sceptical. It’s all so artificial, I thought. I want to travel the world, admire natural spectacles, get to know different cultures and traditions. In a place so artificial, so quintessentially manmade, would I feel like I’m exploring another part of the world – or just admiring the architecture? Both, as it turned out. This part of the world, that I hadn’t yet seen, proved to be one full of extremes. Some fascinating, some schocking. Both worth the travel.
Let’s not kid ourselves, the desert safari is a commercial tourist attraction that attracts countless visitors into the wide, sandy nothingness on a daily basis. Different companies offer different desert-packages which include quadbiking, camel-riding, sand-boarding as well as numerousother adventurous activities. Nevertheless the experience stays unique, for the desert won’t be affected, not even by tourism. Or at least so it seems.
After having crossed the shiny, skyrocketing Dubai we arrived on a large, rarely walked upon street. Bleak landscape on both sides. Bright sand, a couple of trees and the occasional camel farm here and there. There were still some Billboards, utility poles and small shops every now and then, as well. Still, it was far from the Dubai we had grown to expect.
With a trained driver and deliberately flat tires we drove off the beaten path and into the desert. The deeper we got, the redder the sand became. Ahead of us we saw a second or a third car appear every now and then. The people in front of us had booked the same package. Because of the extreme breadth of the desert it didn’t bother us. It still felt like we were alone and the desert was infinite.
The Jeep drifted skilfully through the dunes and red sand covered the windows of the car. A roller coaster of sorts with little room for weak nerves. Because of the wind, the dunes are constantly in motion, they never stay the same. When the driver drives up on one of the sandy dunes, he has no idea what to expect on the other side. „Did the car ever keel over while you were driving it?“ , we asked him. „Not so far“, he answered coolly and our eyes moved to the roll-bar above our heads.
The car stopped and we got out in a landscape unknown to us. Barefoot we ran back and forth in the fine sand, enjoying the breeze that we’d missed in the city while trying to comprehend the incredible breadth in front of us.
There was nothing to aid in finding your bearing if you got lost out here. With that in mind, we had nothing against spotting a different car with tourists every now and then. Even though there have probably been countless others in that desert in that moment, the impression of this powerful nature stayed the same – real and untouched. The desert is so enormous, even tourism can’t create a crowded, artificial atmosphere here.
I barely managed to tear myself away from my camera lens long enough to have a try on the sandboard… …because the desert turned out to be one thing in particular: A photography-paradise. The powerful calm, the warm colours, the contrast between the red sand the blue sky. Slowly the sky adapted to the red sand and the sun-set turned the desert into a spectacular display of colours. I was captivated by this gorgeous act of nature and as I stood in the warm sand with naked feet and looked through the lens of my camera, I couldn’t grasp the unbelievable landscape in front of me.
How wonderful, this indomitable nature.