The Golden Deserts of Dubai

The second you land in Dubai, you know you are in the desert. Yeah so you may be in one of the most fancy-pants airports on the planet, and you may drive by some of the most shiny monstrosities of silver steel and blue glass known to man, but the inmistakable dry heat haze, the sand and sandstone tucked in here and there… you are in the desert.

It feels like Dubai WANTS to be shiny and new, silver and blue. An Oasis, not a desert. Sure they haven’t completely forgotten their past or their surroundings and they will take the odd curious tourist out to the dunes, but that is always secondary to spending  a few days and a few $$ in the glittering designer malls. They seem, in some ways eager to forget what they bare, and become a (western) city of the future. There is something about a ski slope in a city in the desert that is just a little hard to digest for me.

Once I got out of their streets of glistening skyscrapers and to the desert that I was imagining in this city, I felt at peace again. Something about that great big nothingness, so much space, only sand and sun (and the odd 4wd!) as far as you could see. The sun looked like it has been sunburnt in places, a deep red layer of swirls over the golden oranges.  It was like no one had stepped where you had for a thousand years, like freshly fallen snow. It was so soft, that you sunk in with every step, often gracefully tumbling down the dunes.

Sunset in the desert is one of the most magical sights I’ve seen. That vast golden space seems to reflect the colors of the sun, at the same time absorbing them making the sand an even richer golden hue, until it gets darker and darker to a bronze, then a black. Then it is one of the darkest places you can imagine, with nothing but a thousand twinkling stars to guide your way.

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