The camel is also suited in other ways to desert life. Its broad, padded feet stay on top of sand as the camel walks. When sand blows, the camel can shut its nostrils into slits. And it has thick pads on its knees. It kneels comfortably on these.
The Arabian camel is sometimes called the ship of the desert. Used as a beast of burden, it can carry several hundred pounds. Slightly smaller camels are raised for riding. One humped camels are sometimes called dromedaries.
Arabian camels are mostly raised in the deserts of North Africa and Arabia. They all have one hump. They eat the leaves of desert plants. They belong to the big group of animals called hoofed mammals.
Another kind of camel lives on the dry, cold plains of central Asia. This is the Bactrian camel. It has two humps on its back. It also has long hair. The Bactrian camel can carry a pack over thick snow in below-zero weather. It can stay alive on scrub plants that few other animals would eat. People of the Asian plains raise the camel for milk, meat, hides, and hair for making cloth.
On my third day, a thrilling desert safari was arranged. I headed out of town in a caravan of 12 jeeps. First stop was a place where we rode ATV’s, fed baby camels and saw a demonstration of falconry. We then headed deep into the desert for an hour of Dune Bashing. I got the best/worst driver of the 4×4’s names Wajed. He drove maniacally up and over the steepest dunes like a drunken sailor at high seas. The scariest part was “sliding” perpendicular down the mountains of sand. We nearly tipped twice. As I screamed, Wajed chatted on his cell phone with a friend. We stopped to view a breathtaking sunset over the multi-hued desert-scapes. Then continued on to an oasis with oryx and camels. We enetered a tented camp for some real Bedouin culture. The safari price included sand-skiing, sand-boarding, henna tattoos, camel rides and smoking the “hubbly bubbly pipes”. I declined the cherry tobacco and dressed up like a veiled Arab woman. A BBQ buffet was served under the stars as belly dancers performed. It was all like a tale from “The Thousand and One Nights.”
My last day was spent sightseeing. For my own farewell dinner, I booked a dhow cruise. These traditional wooden boats have plied the Gulf waters for centuries of trading. From the Dubai Creek, they still today export goods to Africa and India. The music and seafood was excellent with the backdrop of a shimmering illuminated skyline, far too romantic to do this alone. I felt isolated amongst the group of tipsy Russians.
Reflecting on a perfect holiday, I feel more balanced and vow to return to this captivating land of Sheba. Dubai has magical affects of desert safari deals and a vision that knows no end. I tasted only an appetizer from its buffet of entertaining delights. I designed some fabulous itineraries for future groups such as 4 days in Dubai along with 4 days in Cairo or Istanbul which are only a stones throw away. You too can discover a place to indulge all your senses. There’s no place like Dubai. On my return, I will lunch at the Burj Al Arab. I better make my reservation now.