Posted by: englishdubai | August 19, 2008

A Mini Adventure

An invitation to join to good friends of mine for a short break out of Dubai at a luxury resort is not something I am going to pass up in a hurry, especially when we would be making the trip in the brand new GMC “Terrain”. The smart PRs had at GMC had given the Vehicle to Catherine for a review and wisely given her a free nights stay at the new Rotana and Spa Resort in Fujariah in an effort for her to actually drive the vehicle a reasonable distance.

Despite best intentions of getting a good nights sleep on the Thursday so I would be fresh for the trip on Friday morning I ended up in enjoying some of Dubai’s night life until the early hours. Inevitably at 9.30am I was not in particularly good shape and felt decidedly unwell as we set off for the 2 hour trip to Fujariah. Still the company of Catherine and Pepita was excellent and their infectious chat lightened the dark cloud of my hangover.

Then I heard that sound. That sound that I knew was going to be in pain. That sound that meant I was going to get hot. Very hot.

“Pull off the road you have a flat” – I could barely get the words out. It was 11.30am, 43c and we were 55km out of Dubai with a rather large piece of metal poking out of one of the rear tires.

Here is the offending protrusion:

To add to this we had taken a wrong turn and were for some reason at Big Red. I quickly went over to the shops at Big Red to see if anyone could help but no such luck. By the time I had got back the girls had done well locating the Jack and freeing the spare wheel. Then I got to work. Jacking up cars with the tools that come with cars is hard at the best of times but with a raging hangover and very hot weather is proved an unenviable task. It was hot dirty work, everything was hot. The jack, the tires, the wheel nuts and the road all feeling like fire to touch. In the thirty minutes toil we got some odd looks from passers by and I felt I had lost a couple of kilos in perspiration. Still I got the tire on and we drove a kilometres down the road and I asked the one of the small tire shops to his electric gun on the wheel nuts. I still have some unfathomable fear about the wheels coming off…

With this behind us – we asked the tire guys for directions to Fujairah and off we went. An hour later we were back to where we started back at the tire shop. I inwardly sighed at not having the off road explorer with us and this time we took the correct direction and headed to Fujairah . We arrived tired, dirty but relieved we made it after a four drive around parts of the UAE I had seen for the first time.

I enjoy coming to the east coast. The temperature is 3-4c cooler and there is a definite relaxed or holiday feeling in the air. Catherine had been given a room at the recently opened Fujairah Rotana Spa which is situated right next to the Al Aqah Intercon. They are offering very good rates and for for 700AED I enjoyed my own twin room with a nice view of the pool and beach. On arrival our rooms weren’t quite ready so we made a beeline for the pool. Here we are enjoying the cool water after a rather arduous journey:

The resort is well equipped with a wide beach, large pool and even tennis courts. I found myself at home sat at the pool bar enjoying some extra sour margaritas and some later afternoon Sun with good company. I think after about the fourth Margarita the traumas of getting lost and flat tires were the subject of laughs and all was good.

Once the sun had gone down we enjoyed a good value international buffet and a reasonably early night after what had turned into a long day.

The following morning I enjoyed a good breakfast and made the most of the pool and the great weather. Though my shoulders were a little sun burnt later. Too soon though it was time to head back to Dubai and this time we took the right roads and were making good progress until we got to the outskirts of Sharjah:

“That sky looks like the world is ending”

It was dark. Really dark. The temperature gauge dropped 20c in the space of five minutes and then it started. It rained. Hard. The visibility was terrible punctuated with the odd bolt of lightning. 22c weather and an electrical storm in the middle of the summer in the UAE? Almost unheard of – sure enough people were pulling over and enjoying some of the new weather. I was concerned that the highway would become flooded so cautiously I pushed on.

As the rain eased I thought it would be a clear run for the last 35km back to Dubai. Then the dust storm came. A really strong Shamal was blowing sand in the air making visibility less than 50m – just like fog but worse. Again I pressed on carefully and as we entered the outskirts of Dubai it subsided but the car was covered in a thick layer of wet sand. Proof that freak weather does happen in the UAE.

It was one of the most event filled journeys (both ways) I have had in ages but with good company and reassuring each other we made it through each little hurdle. While the GMC Terrain made it through the journey I wished we had the Hummer on more than one occasion. While it might not be that fast, quick or super comfortable, it is sure footed, reliable and equipped with all the rescue gear you could ever want.

I have a feeling that even with a new vehicle purchase coming I will still be driving the Hummer on a regular basis, it is a great vehicle for the rigours of UAE adventuring.


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