Dubai is excessive, everything being the tallest, the biggest, the largest, the most strange or seemingly out of place like a ski resort inside a mall when outside the temperature hits above 125F…
And then the sun is soon to set and you decide to splurge a little and head towards the desert, riding in a vintage jeep from the second world war (or was it the first – in any case some remnant of the UK’s possession left behind after a war), the driver, algerian by birth, pursuing your education on everything UAE, as he, all the while, follows an invisible trail through the dunes, the headlights of the jeep, completely misaligned, cutting into darkness like a crossed-eye super-hero…
It’s windy, the jeep has no roof, and yet, it’s still hot although it is night time in the expanding desert.
Your hair is a sandy sweaty mess and while conversing with the driver, you realize, idly, that sand got into your camera and your ND filter is stuck to your lense.
And then you reach your destination and disembark.
As you walk toward the resting area, struggling, one step at a time, your feet sinking into the sandy ground beneath, all the movies you have seen about people seeming to struggle as they cross the desert come to mind and now you understand their struggle: it’s a difficult endeavor to solely walk in the desert, on a ground that seems to have no firm base.
But all the same, you are thankful, it is night time, and while the temperature is still in the upper 90 to 100, it -is-
night time, there is no scorching sun above head, no food depravation, no life threatening dehydration.
You struggle a little longer, stumbling every steps of the way, feeling as out of shape as can be, and pause for a breath.
You lift your gaze towards the horizon… and see this…
A magical portal awaiting you to take a few more steps, a few more steps towards it, a few more steps through it to fully welcome you, to fully embrace you.