Our current time zone: GMT +8 (We're home in Singapore!)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Wipe Out In The Oasis

Sand buggy rides and sandboarding in the desert are the things to do while in Huacachina. US$15 (or less, if you sign up with a streetside tout instead of a hotel) gets you a 2-hour ride into the sunset and a good roll in the sand (unless you actually manage to stay on your boogie board.)

Our first sand buggy experience was in Dubai with friends Junwei and Su May. There, you get to ride in an air-conditioned, covered jeep instead of the open-topped go-karts offered in Peru. You also get served ice-cold Coke while cavorting in Middle Eastern sands. You also pay U.A.E prices - almost ten times more than what we paid in Peru. But to be fair, Dubai goes all out to hosts its guests and the price includes a dinner party under the desert skies, complete with kebabs, hookahs and belly dancing.

A cold Coke in the desert is blissssss (Dan with short hair! Taken before, as my friend Tracy says, his hair became "a celebrity in itself" on this trip)

Our hosts in Dubai - Junwei & Su May. And yes, he is pushing his friend off the dune...

We also took up snowboarding lessons in Dubai. Yups... snowboarding in the desert! At the Ski Dubai, the amazing indoor ski slope housed within the gigantic Mall of the Emirates. Stingy-poker us decided to invest in proper lessons, after we learnt the hard (and painful) way in Korea that reading ski tips for free on the Internet does not qualify as effective online learning.

Check out his expression! Dan hurtling down the slopes in Ski Dubai at 80km/h. Okay, kidding - it was only 3km/h.

We hoped that what we could recall of snowboarding (knees bent, weight on heels, relaxed hips and the falling leaf) would come in useful on the Peruvian dunes in Huacachina.

The oasis and tiny town of Huacachina - that's all there is to it!

This is where the locals hangout. In the shade of the palm trees and on the dunes (refer to those tiny specks in the sand in the photo.) You can rent boards for cheap instead of taking a dune buggy tour. But that means having to climb up the dune yourself.

Local boys afraid to get their shorts wet and hiking them up as far as they can go!

So off we went on a dune buggy tour!

Too clean to be allowed to set foot on the sand. Can only pose with the sand dune.

Kicking sand in the desert does not qualify as stupid behaviour - unless it's kicked into the wind and upwards over one's own head *blush*

Behaving properly now

Sandy star jump!

Showing off. Cos he knows I can't jump far or high. Barely scrapped a pass for my Standing Broad Jump tests and totally failed school tryouts for high jump and long jump. But I can hurdle!

Beautiful sand ripples leading to a sea of endless crescent dunes

It was strange how Dan and I were the only ones actually soaking in the awesome views and enjoying being present in the desert. The other tourists preferred to mill around and gab about their travel experiences in Thailand and other countries. Focus, people, focus!

Balancing the buggy on the crest of one of the highest and steepest slopes I've ever set foot on, the driver stalled the engine and proceeded to hand out sandboards to everyone. We obediently received our boards, walked over to peer over the edge and everyone in our group took turns to pepper the desert air with their favourite expletive - "oh sh*t!", "oh f**k!", "holy crap!"

All except our hippie Irish neighbour who promptly strapped his feet into the bindings and zoomed straight down the dune in a mad cloud of sand, ignoring the frantic shouts of
"No no no no no!! Di-ah-gohn-al!!! Solo di-ah-gohn-al!!! Oi, amigo!! Ahhh, loco, loco, loco (crazy)!!!"

Sandboarding is ridiculously challenging. The soft slippery sand offers little stability, sliding out from under you at the slightest touch. I tried pulling out all our snowboarding tricks but to little avail:

Tip 1: Weight on heels, dig heels in - my heels shifted forward in the soft sand and down I went on my butt!

Tip 2: Keep knees bent -
the board slipped backwards and down I went on my face!

Tip 3:
Move gently down the slope in the pattern of a falling leaf - well, my leaf could only fall in 1 direction. Does that count?

We didn't take many photos but Dan's video says it all - each person's attempt at sandboarding provided belly-aching entertainment for the others. Dan had one good run that elicited claps and "wows" from the others. But as luck would have it - no one had a camera on them for that particular run! But check out another trick of his in the video below - tumbling head over heels, popping back on his feet and continuing down the rest of the slop - all in one smooth action!

(We take you on a pretty long drive in the desert, but stay tuned for the second half of the video where the real sandboarding action begins.)

Posing like pros with our Peruvian-coloured sandboards

Driving into the desert sunset, with sand in our shoes, clothes, hair, ears and mouths.

The sun sets over the shadowy dunes, mixing with the desert mist, and signifying the end of the tour

So, the conclusion is - sandboarding is nothing like snowboarding. Nor is it anything like wakeboarding. I guess which sport you choose to pursue depends largely on what you prefer to ingest in the process: sand, snow or sea water!


Tracy Su said...

Andy says he likes the track...first one...second one just made me chortle quite a lot!

Looked like a lot of fun, I hope the sand didn't get in YL's eyes when you did the bellyboard!

Dannie said...

Hey Tracy,

It was a lot of fun doing the video. I was chortling to myself too!

The first track is Hymne, by Era. The second needs no introduction, methinks.

YL's eyes were fine. It's her butt that attracts the sand more!

Lexie said...

Ahaha.... way to go peeps!

That look so much fun! There may be screen shots from the vid clips that can make you guys look pro la... just need to capture the right 'second'!

WeLoveRoy said...

Few thoughts come to mind on this blog post...

1) My camera bag and my backpack have respectively travelled so much more than me this year (Americas and Tibet respectively)

2) The photos on this post is amazing!! Love the Oasis in the desert shot (really like what they portrayed in movies) and the one with the "dunescape".. Would look really great hanging on a wall..

3) Misleading entry about rolling over and getting back up... I watched it expecting the dune buggy flipping over and then up and rolling again (with the roll cage and all) and I was telling myself no way the buggy can do that!

4) Sandboarding is good exercise for the butt... looking at the amount of times it landed on the sand..hahaa bottom heavy? :p

5) Love the ending of the video with Dannie pouring the sand out from his shoes... which I am sure followed by him dusting off his balls.. just like at the beach when we go diving!

Thats all folks!

phu nguyen said...

Very nice pro pictures! Nice oasis! Nice desert!

Lint said...

That's what happens when you have big-butt family genes :(

Yi Lin said...

Hey Phu, welcome to our blog. Thx for reading n leaving a comment. Stay tuned for more stories!

Lexie, think we will need more practice before we attempt looking pro. I look (and was) such a klutz on the sand!

Roy, yr cam bag is gg places man! Dan helps look out for it to make sure it doesn't get dragged ard too much n goes back to you in rags.

And finally, in response to all those butt comments: I just can't figure out my butt! It floats underwater but sinks on land! Arghhhhhh.

Forever Living

Forever Living
Read about the products, then contact our wellness sponsor!
Related Posts with Thumbnails