Click here to watch video recap.
Two people tested positive today for COVID-19 . . . Let’s start from the beginning of my day and work our way up to the announcement.
I slept late this morning and it felt so good to lie in bed and REST. The first half of the day was free time with no scheduled activities. I needed to be in the hotel lobby at 3:45 p.m. for the afternoon desert safari and BBQ dinner. My Fitbit shows I had seven hours and 5 minutes of sleep. That’s really good for me! (3:25 am - 11:13 am)
Due to sleeping in, I missed breakfast this morning. Experience from the last few days has shown me that we eat very late during our different excursions. I walked down a block to the cafe and bought some curly fries, a Greek salad and a mocktail pomegranate mojito. I have no idea why they call it a mojito knowing there is no alcohol within it.
Fifteen of us are in the lobby and waiting! We meet our desert safari representative and proceed to the parking gauge to get into Jeeps. We are told that each Jeep will hold 5 - 6 people. Sharifa and I are already standing with three other ladies so it was unanimous . . . we were a group. For the rest of the day, we would ride together in the same Jeep.
Our driver’s name is Nedeer (spelling of the name may be incorrect). As we drive to the desert he points out different things and gives us a little history.
FAST FORWARD: We have made it to the desert!
Riding in the Jeep on the sand dunes was fun! My Jeep passengers were screaming like babies at times. Prior to beginning our ride on the sand dunes we stopped at this local spot where our driver deflated his tires a little. My understanding is that this is needed for riding/driving in the sand. Sure at times it felt like the Jeep would tumble but I had faith in my driver. He has been driving these sand dunes for 20+ years. (I have video from the backseat . . . it doesn’t do a good job to show the experience of riding in the desert).
After gliding all over the desert we stopped for a photo opportunity. The reddish brown sand is HOT. I intentionally wore flip flops today knowing I would be in sand all day. Before departing the Jeep, I remove my shoes and place my bare feet in the heated desert sand. I can’t explain the feeling of walking and sitting on the sand in the desert. I have visited Africa before and walked on the sand and it was a similar but different feeling.
I’m not going to lie . . . it is hot out here. There are other vehicles and ATVs in the sand dunes. I pay attention to them since depending on how they come over a dune they may not see me.
After everyone finishes taking pictures we made our way to a camp were we would have dinner in the desert and have the opportunity to ride a camel.
Our safari dinner was a VIP experience which meant that we would be served our food and drinks. Also included in the VIP experience was a henna tattoo and a picture with a falcon. The henna tattoo line was long at times because other groups were also dining for the dinner experience. I finally made my way over to the tent and when I arrived the lady only had brown henna. I already knew that was not going to work. I am brown skin so putting chocolate on top of chocolate . . . you will not see the “beautiful” art of the henna. And just like I expected you can’t really see the artwork of the brown henna on my skin. So disappointed. Plus when I finally decided to get the tattoo she told me that the free tattoo was only for the finger if I wanted the tattoo to go up the arm it would be extra. Why? Others in my group had the henna tattoo up the arm. I later found out that the full henna tattoo was available to me as part of the VIP experience and the little small art she drew for me was for the other groups. How would she know who was VIP and who was regular? That is probably my one complaint for the night.
While dining in the desert, I bought a necklace with my name in Arabic. I was kinda hesitant as I do not read Arabic. How do I know if the necklace spells my name? Once I got back to the hotel, I Google the spelling of my name in Arabic and it is spelled the way that it is on my necklace. Hold up! How about if the guy did the same thing? How about if he looked up how to spell Kanika in Arabic. Man have I been hoodwinked?
We get back to the hotel and the entire group meets on the mezzanine level. We are told that two members of the group tested positive this morning for COVID-19. Here is the back story: Tomorrow we are going to Abu Dhabi and visiting the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and they have a requirement that a person shows proof of COVID-19 vaccination PLUS have a PCR test within the last 20 days that shows a result of negative. We were told to get a PCR test on Thursday before we departed the states. So I thought it was a requirement to get the PCR test before arriving to Dubai. Obviously some people did not get the PCR test and opted to get the test 24 hours before going to the mosque. Thus those in the group that were tested this morning . . . two of them were notified that they tested positive.