This weekend was scheduled to be fun, because it was a long three day weekend, and after a really long time, it meant a Sunday holiday. After an entire week of anticipating, and a little bit of planning, I could only plan a day trip for one day to a zoo, which eventually did not even happen. The problem is this is a desert, outings of the outdoorsy kinds don't quite work out in the heat. The SG turns up with allergic reactions on his eyelids, and me with my allergic congestion. Strange especially, since I have never faced any allergy issues ever before, but here it just keeps cropping up. Fortunately even the zoo is air conditioned, so it would have been a nice way to spend the day, since all three of us absolutely love animals. In this place you either visit malls, or nowhere, especially during the summers. And there is just about as much of mall visiting that we can do. The plan for the zoo trip was for Saturday, and that was the only day we had a plan for.
So Friday morning, I woke up and started to search the net to find any possible places to visit, and found some archaeological sites at the bottom of a travel guide site.The problem was, none of these places could be found on the GPS, except for Al Madam, which was a small town of sorts, very close to the Oman border. So that is where we headed to. Long well built highways, with large stretches of the vast desert on both sides, is the way leading to Al Madam. Something like wilderness, but of the desert kinds. Along the way, we saw a group of camels walking in the desert and parked for some nice photo-ops. They were not very close to the boundary wires, but I was excited none the less at seeing these animals. Unlike what I had expected, we don't really get to see too many camels around the place. A couple of camels actually lied down and lolled around in the sand. Something new seen.
We continued on our path and reached Al Madam. I was surprised to see expats in that place, because it was just such a small little place, could hardly even call it a town. It was tiny, really tiny. We drove around for a bit, the BG absolutely not wanting to take the SG out in the heat. There was no sign of any archaeological site, and we were just a few miles away from the border or Oman. And then the lightening began. A storm had been predicted for Sunday, so we expected Friday to be quite safe, but here, we were seeing the skies darkening, with heavy lightening and thunders. There was a lightening bolt striking about ever five seconds. The BG's protective instincts kicked in, and he decided it was time to rush back towards home, towards civilisation about a hundred kilometres away, and an about turn is what we did. I clicked like crazy to get atleast one lightening in my photo stock, but got nothing.
A little bit down the way, the skies looked clearer, the wind was not howling, and things seemed fine. A signboard, suggested we go right to get to one of the places on our list. And we thought we will give it a try. On hindsight, it was a bad bad idea. A little way down the turn, I saw a camel farm,(photo on the left) and thought it would be nice to go close. To do justice to my blog name, I persuaded the BG to turn the car into the sand towards the farm, which was at about a couple of minutes of walking distance from the paved road. This place was like a small settlement with about five or six houses. As soon as the car turned, we were stuck. the sand was soft and the front wheels went right in. An attempt to get it out would mean loads of sand flying everywhere, and the car going deeper inside. There were no people around either. I was dressed most inappropriately for such a situation, in a sleeveless ganjee kind of top, and believe me in small place, where women are covered from head to toe, it was terribly discomfiting. Trust me to get a sticky spot stickier for myself. Fortunately for us, while the BG was running around trying to get help, a car stopped by and the man, offered his help. He had a rope, he tied it to our car and tried to pull it out, the rope broke. After a while, he left. Then another man, I am guessing and Afghan, came with his truck, and he was determined. Just as the BG and he tried to tie the rope, the storm hit us. The sand was blowing everywhere, and the visibility almost killed. I panicked. This was not the best situation to be in with a child. And I had only myself to blame.Opening the car door for just a second, was filling it up with sand. But the man was determined, and kept working at it, and we gave it another try, but once again the rope broke. I got off and clicked photos, and the BG was irritated, I understood, but I wanted to have photos to look back at this experience. I could just click one or two, before the BG would lose it, and that is all I have. A couple of fruitless tries later, a couple of more men wandered into the scene. Mind you, the storm was in place by then. Finally, with two men pushing the car, one car pulling it from behind from really close, we got out. Aah! Thank God, atleast a part of our worries were over. I really wanted to walk down to the farm and atleast get a few photos, but did not, because the storm was getting worse, and the BG did not think it would be a good idea to waste more time, when we were so far away from home, in wilderness. The SG was remarkable, in that he did not get upset or anything, but just sat quietly through the entire thing in his car seat, while his father and I kept flitting in and out of the car.
This was followed by travelling through about 50 kilometres in very low visibility, at a very low speed. I could not get photos of the worst times, because at those moments I was sitting on the edge of my seat. From the look of it, I felt I had been transported to the winters in Delhi, with thick fog engulfing us. As we closed in on habitation, the visibility improved, since there were buildings and other man made structures to act as barriers. Closer home, it seemed impossible that we had been through the storm we had. Strangely enough, we got home by around six, and by eight, the sand storm had completely abated, and visibility completely restored. So guess the storm was meant for us. However, the was the BG and I are lusting for rains, maybe it just happened, so that we could get a small taste of the rains. And I would never have seen the real force of a sand storm in the open desert if we had not been there. There was a possibility of the storm recurring, and hence we dropped the plan the next day to hit the zoo, because it was in another emirate altogether. And as expected, there was no storm post the one we braved.
The photos below are a comparison in the visibility before and during the storm.