After 23 hours of travel I am home safe and sound. I’m going through activity-withdraw and feel overwhelmed and mystified by my whole experience. To say that it was a whirlwind adventure, just scratches the surface of what I am feeling. This was more than just a vacation, it was a life changing experience. I did more things in these past ten days and saw more new things than I have in the past ten months. It was slightly insane and very overwhelming. But despite the craziness, it was a trip of a life time and one that I will not soon forget. To put it into words seems next to impossible, never mind to cover all that we accomplished in a few short blog posts, but I think I’m going to give it a try and hope for the best. After some contemplation, I think I’m going to attempt to shorten my adventure into five parts:
- Qatar Part 1– The Desert Home: “In the presence of such wealth and fortune, simplicity and retreat are upheld and esteemed.”
- Qatar Part 2- The Singing Sand Dunes: “A place of complete barrenness yet vast comfort.”
- Qatar Part 3- The Joy Ride of a Life Time: “This was no adventure for the weak of heart, but instead was a thriller for any adrenaline junky.”
- Qatar Part 4- My Souq Adventure: “Where my senses became aware of Arabic culture.”
- Qatar Part 5- Architecture, Beauty and Islamic Culture: “I felt like I was given a glimpse into the ornate beauty of the Middle East and its Islamic culture.”
So hang tight and bare with me while I digest my experience with you. I hope you find it both entertaining and informative.
Qatar Part 2- The Singing Sand Dunes
When I read about Jeff and Kathy’s first experience of the Singing Sand Dunes, my comment was: “Wow, wow, wow! Absolutely amazing! I would love to see the desert one day!” Little did I know that five months later I would be on that same dune! Going to the Singing Sand dunes was my first real experience of the desert. Technically the Desert Home was my first experience but going to the dunes really put me in touch with the desert and I was love-struck.
First the actual dunes. There is a main road that leads you out of the City and then all of the sudden (40 kilometers actually) the Earth heaves giant dunes out of the rubble and plain-like road side. This was my first sighting of dunes and they aren’t everywhere in the desert. They literally seem to apear out of nowhere. It’s remarkable. Once we started to see the dunes, Jeff jumped off the road and headed through the rubble towards the dunes. He had been there once before and so it wasn’t as random as it felt. Bumping over rocks, rutts and rubble we arrived at the base of the “Singing Sand Dune,” a very special dune. The clouds that felt menacing all the way there broke right overtop of us and there we were ready for our afternoon of fun.
We clambered up the crest of this giant dune and then once at the top we got down on our butts and scootched down. Just like a baby before they learn how to crawl, we scootched on our bums down the hill. And then much to my absolute amazement this sound started to vibrate beneath me and the dunes began to “sing.” It’s actually nothing like singing at all and more like a low vibration or rumble of a distant air plane. Here’s a random video to help:
It was soo cool. Thankfully it wasn’t really that hot and so we had no problem making our way down. We did it a few times each time laughing with glee at the hilarity of it. You could really feel the sound beneath you and in a really strange and bizarre way, we were interacting with the earth. It was crazy.
After much scootching we had a mini-barbecue at the foot of the dune while the sun slowly started to set. Lamb and veggie kabobs on a disposable coal barbecue was just what we needed after our exciting adventure on the dunes. “Delicious!” as Kaiya would always say.
The end of the day was the most amazing part for me. After dinner I climbed back up the dune by myself and watched the sunset. I felt like I was on top of the world looking over a rolling blanket of sand. There were dunes as far as my eye could see and then a glowing ball of fire hung low in the sky, slowly beging engulfed by the clouds. It was breathe taking. I sat there for what felt like hours, running my fingers through the sand, digging deep below the surface feeling how sand cools on the top layer but retains the heat of the day below. While I sat there I was overwhelmed by the nothingness; no trees, no shrubs, no life and yet I was embraced by the warmth of the desert. It was a place of complete bareness yet vast comfort. I felt so alone yet so alive at the same time. How amazing is the Creator to make such diversity on the earth? How can complete nothingness be so beautiful? I felt like an ant on a hill and yet I felt so empowered as a human. I absorbed the energy from the Sun and the sand and as the only represented of Life on that hill, I felt an immense responsibility to do something with the life I was given. The barrenness and the emptiness of the desert challenged me, urged me to embrace life, growth and my existence. It was an intensely Spiritual experience, one that I didn’t want to leave. It was a place of peace and recharging. It was a sacred place of beauty.
But then with the stars coming out, the sky turning black and the car fully loaded below, I scootched my way down, sang one more time with the dunes and headed back to Doha. I will never forget that experience in the desert. It was a “zen moment” as Kathy put it and I was in love.