I know. It’s summer in Dubai and here I am writing about Christmas. I was browsing photos in my memory card and I saw the pics. I remember I made a mental note then to blog about it, and obviously that didn’t happen 😀 So, here I am trying now…
My former boss is a member of the American Business Council who hosted this event. He raffled off 8 tickets to us, first come first served 🙂 I was so excited that I immediately messaged my friend to invite her, actually more like “force” her to join me. Hehe… But yes, she had no choice but to come. Grin!
I’ve been to desert safari twice but I was excited and curious to find out how the desert air would blow Christmas and how the camp would be transformed into Christmaslandia.
My friend and I were the first in our group to arrive at our meeting place. Other participants were already there, donning their Christmas hats, Land Cruisers filled the parking lot. This should be fun, I thought.
At the appointed time, we set of, like a normal desert safari. Our group was divided into 2 Land Cruisers and I was with Boss M and Colleague C. At the mouth of the desert, we were given some time to enjoy photo ops in the dunes. Certainly, this was a kids/family event, but it didn’t make us adults/singles feel left out.
Then, like the traditional desert safari we proceeded to dune bashing activity. It was fun and our driver was trying to make an impression, however, my wife’s boss was pregnant so the driver had to tame it.
We arrived in the camp just in time to catch the sunset. Like the traditional desert safari camps, activities are offered such as buggy driving, camel riding, photo ops by the sunset. Again, I did not pass up the chance for a short camel ride with my friend.
The center stage, which normally serves as dance floor for the belly dancer and tanoura dancer, was transformed into a “sea of ice” and adorned with Christmas trees.
Free time ensued, with us roaming around the camp, having henna tattoos done, taking photo ops at the Christmas-themed backdrop and checking out souvenirs. Kids center was also set-up to keep children occupied. Booths was set-up by their sponsors. Emirates airlines had Emirates stuff for giveaway. I got 2 stuffed stewardess toys and caps. They also had Qatar Airways mementos. I took a baseball cap.
For that Christmas touch in the desert, the audience were treated to a bongo drum performance
Then suddenly, out of nowhere, we were surprised by Santa Claus enjoying his parade, not with Rudolph, but a camel!
Buffet dinner set up in a tent followed. The food was sumptuous and with wide array of choices. The log cake was also representative of the Christmas theme.
Of course, the Christmas night at the desert wouldn’t be complete without us participating in Christmas carols. The lights were turned off and we were given candles to light. The mood became solemn.
To end the night in a happy mood, American Business Council had raffle tickets drawn. As grand prize, they gave away Emirates Airlines miles that I badly, truly, salivatingly wanted then (and even now!). I wish I had won.
A few days away from Christmas then, and though it is difficult to imagine it being celebrated in a desert (and a Muslim country), it can be done. It was an afternoon/evening well spent with colleagues (and their families), and a different experience altogether.
Advanced Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope you have a merry one 5 months from now!