Click here for Part 2 of our honeymoon: Orlando, Florida: Theme Park Hopping and the Kennedy Space Centre

Keep your mouth closed. Keep your mouth closed.

I remind myself to keep my mouth closed. This is challenging because I have an insatiable need to verbally narrate every occurrence within a 50 feet radius.

But I must resist any urge to talk because I need to keep my mouth closed. Reason is we’re on a desert in the middle of nowhere. Mountains of sand surround us from every angle- sand that is so smooth and fine it’s useless for construction. So smooth and fine that the slightest breeze will blow the grains… RIGHT INTO MY OPEN MOUTH.

I learned that lesson the hard way-

This is why I must keep my mouth closed.

Dunes bashing.

We’re in Dubai for the final leg of our 3 segment honeymoon. And because we’re extra, we invited Jo and Nat to join in for this one.

It has been dictated that one should not visit the middle east without dwindling under the scorching sun of a barren desert land. With that in mind, we line up a desert safari tour.

First on the itinerary of the day is a camel riding tour. To call it a tour is stretching it a little. What really happened was we squeezed our asses between camel humps- two per camel- and trot through short distances of the sultry desert.

Pictures were taken and videos recorded, mostly with me holding on for dear life, trying my best not to look terrified as the sandy-coloured ungulates pace through the burning sand.

At this point, I’m going to take a short recess for a PSA and talk about the ethicality of camel safaris. Not long ago, pictures of oversized tourist on scrawny donkeys in Santorini went viral across the internet. These poor animals were forced to carry heavy sightseers, working long hours with minimal food and shelter. People were rightfully enraged. The Greek government banned the cruelty. Equally appalling is the practice of elephant riding. The elephant spine cannot support heavy loads, and doing so (carrying tourist) can cause permanent spinal injuries.

Knowing all that, one would wonder about camels. Is camel riding ethical? I turned to the trusty internet to self-educate. Bemused Backpacker has done an excelled piece on this. Here are a few guidelines:

  1. Where are the camel stables located? Are they close by? Are they suitable?
  2. Do the camels get access to plenty of water at regular intervals?
  3. Do the camels get adequate rest?
  4. How old are the animals involved? Are they too young that their bones are not fully developed yet?

Sound judgement is required.

Chocolate made with camel’s milk.

Okay, now that I’m done talking about camels, we can move on to the time I fell down butt first into the sand.

It all began with me, on top of a sand dune, standing poised atop a black sandboard, muttering “can wan can wan can wan…”

Can.. WANNNNN… Wheee! I’m sliding. And cursing the times I missed abs day (which is most days). I bend my knees to lower my centre of gravity, feeling like a pro already, until-

I fall backwards. The force plops my oversized ass into the sand, creating a mini sandstorm in the process.

“Argghh!” I exclaim in frustration… and I’m rewarded with…

… SAND IN MY MOUTH.

Sand surfing yo!

We eventually leave the open desert, but not before puking our guts out. One does not reach Dubai’s dust bowl without some serious dunes bashing. Dunes bashing is the process of sitting in a 4×4 vehicle as it rams into mountains of sand, usually with enough force to propel the car into the air, over the other side, and emerging in a cloud of sandy glory. It’s a real stomach-churner.

The journey back to civilisation took a little longer than expected, for we had to take turns puking outside the vehicle into the sand.

DUBAI IS NOT ALL OPEN DESERTS OF SAND. THERE ARE ALSO SANDY-COLOURED BUILDINGS, SANDY BEACHES, AND THEME PARKS SURROUNDED BY SAND. ON TOP OF THAT, WE TRAVELED TO ABU DHABI, WHERE THERE IS MORE SAND.

JUMEIRAH BEACH. Because mountains of wild desert sand isn’t enough, we decided to head for a place with more sand- the beach.
Camel by the beach. Welcome to Dubai.
The middle east is peppered with sandy-coloured buildings, presumably to match the sand.
THE DUBAI FRAME. From one side, you see new Dubai (high rise buildings, facade of perfection. Does not have a soul); from the other side, you see old Dubai (sweaty low-wage workers, dirty streets, old buildings. There is a soul).
GOLD SOUQ. This part of Dubai has a soul.
BURJ KHALIFA. The tallest building in the world. Unfortunately, this part of Dubai has no soul.
We took a dinner cruise along Dubai Marina.
Dubai Marina at night.
Look up! There’s a portal opening into a parallel dimension of reality!
An actual, real life, gothic bible! Viewed at The Louvre Abu Dhabi.
This art piece was inspired by the tower of Babel, also an exhibit at the Louvre Abu Dhabi.
THE SHEIKH ZAYED GRAND MOSQUE in Abu Dhabi. They wouldn’t let us in because buka puasa time was nearing (it was the Holy fasting month of Ramadan). So, we just went round and round a roundabout until we got the perfect shot of the mosque.
Consistent with our theme park voyage, we ventured to Motiongate Dubai.

Our last day in Dubai, we ventured to Motiongate to conclude the adventure. CK- Broady’s best friend and best man from our wedding- who lives in Dubai (he’s a god of the sky aka Emirates pilot), played tour guide for this one.

Motiongate was quiet, as one would expect in the middle of the fasting month. But quiet is good. Quiet means we can fly through the park like kings and queens. Quiet means no screaming kids elbowing us on the way to the roller coaster.

Quiet also means we had the entire The World of Hunger Games all to ourselves. If you, like me, gobbled down the Hunger Games series like cheap beer on Christmas eve, you’re probably invested some skin and a lot of emotions into the dystopian franchise.

The Mockingjay.

P.S.: And just in case anybody asked, I’m team Peeta. Peeta has broad shoulders, is so shy it’s darn cute, and is outrageously strong. He can throw bags of flour over his head. There is only one way to see this: Team Peeta ftw. Team Peeta 4eva.

Anyway, the story follows Katniss, our heroine, as she volunteers as tribute in place of her young sister to participate in a sadistic reality show called the “Hunger Games” . She then travels from her home of District 12 to the Capitol to compete in the games.

This journey to the Capitol is dramatised through the ride Capitol Bullet Train.

With a review of this ride, I’ll cap this honeymoon trilogy.

Capitol Bullet Train

From District 12…

Initial impression: 7

G force sensation: 8

Turns: 6

Duration of ride: 3

Pee-in-pants factor: 7

Average score: 6.2

Verdict: It was breathtaking. Really, so so good!… The entire 5 seconds of it. Honestly, the ride ends, like, 2 seconds after your first scream.

… to the Capitol. Panem today, Panem tomorrow, Panem forever.

Dubai today, Dubai tomorrow, Dubai forever.