Monday, July 20, 2009

In The Eye Of The Storm

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.


Anonymous said...

That was some adventure GM (or is it IG now?)

But seriously, you've seen so much in the UAE. I need to consult you next time I plan to go sightseeing in the UAE.

Anonymous said...

You are an enthusiastic goof!!! My husband wouldn't have listened to me and turned towards the farm...I'm glad everything ended well and you had enough excitement to last you for the rest of the weekend...

D said...

Oh God! The storm really looks scary. And the landscape so dreary (oooh! that rhymes :P) You are quite adventurous, must say!

Shruti SriHarsha said...

Loved the comparison photo......also the way you have drafted the entire experience..I love to travel and visit new places ( only with my Hubby)...we are planning for Dubai ( desert safari) soon....shall ask you for some help to know about places then ;)

Piper .. said...

wow! awesome pictures Goof! what adventures you`ve had!

Mamma mia! Me a mamma? said...

Wow! Talk about an adventure!

Smitha said...

Wow!! That was a real adventure! Wow!

The comparative pics are great! Really gave the feel of the sandstorm! You guys are really enthusiastic!

Passionate Goof said...

Rakesh - Indeed it was an adventure. GM is just fine. :)Most welcome. What do you do on weekends? We are just so tiered of malls, need to keep finding new places.

Bones - ha ha ha. Mostly the BG is very cautious, but I just managed to persuade him this time.But now I know I should not!;)

D - My adventurous avtaar is almost dead, but this is just the tip of the iceberg, of the real me! Motherhood has calmed me down a lot, and the SG's welfare is foremost on my mind. ;)

Shruti - Aah traveller! You coming to Dubai? That's wonderful, would be great if we met up. And yes, I will help you as much as I can!

Piper - Ha ha ha. I am justifying my name, see. ;)

M4 - Indeed.

Smitha - It was! Yes, I thought comparative pics would be good, especially since, I could not get pics of the worst bits. We are enthusiastic, yes, just can't be to malls all the damn time.

Anonymous said...

Aah Weekends are for sleeping, lazing and then when the wife gets really angry, taking the kids either in the park or now, since it is too hot, to a mall. At times, we get together with friends on Thursday nights otherwise.

This sunday we did swimming in the morning and then back to sleeping :P

Passionate Goof said...

Rakesh - I hate being indoors, and eagerly await weekend to get out and about.We are an outdoorsy family I guess. But we do sleep a lot too, and never wake up before near noon on weekends, so works out both ways for us. Staying indoors on weekends, feels like such a waste to me. I guess you have more people at home, so its more fun for you..