On November 14th, the MEG team packed family and crew, loaded a lunch, and headed for an off-road desert adventure. Expedition team leader Guy Courtois de Vicose spearheaded the operation. Bruce Davis passed out safety brochures and final details were discussed. With 12 4-wheel drives and some 40 odd employees and kids in tow, we departed from the Trade Center at about 9:30 AM.
The adventure became more adventurous as Ken Bell left the first roundabout headed toward Al Ain instead of Hatta. Some lame excuse was extended about chasing one of the other drivers. The caravan sped on as Ken tried in vain to catch up. Carefully laid plans and a 10 minute rest stop put the pack back together just before a gas stop near where we left the tarmac.
Everyone lowered the air pressure in their tires for the dunes. We split into two groups with Guy taking one group and Adil Toubia taking the other. Almost everyone got to experience the excitement of getting stuck and getting out again, some more than once and some more stuck than others. Great fun anyway.
Guy was thoughtful enough to put up a shelter tent along side a nice tree in the Wadi where we stopped for lunch. Families shared good food and conversation. Afterwards a football came out and big kids and little kids alike took the time to work off the picnic lunch with a bit of exercise.
We packed up and headed off across the desert to Hatta. We made several stops along the way taking in an Oasis or two and the beautiful Hatta Mountains and Hatta Pools.
This was a great trip that I'm sure many of us will take again. Below are some of the pictures taken along the way.
|Wadi: Noun. A riverbed, usually dry, full of rocks of all sizes and usually teaming with life. A great place to day out in a 4x4.|
|QHSE manager, Bruce Davis checks for a way to safely descend the dune.|
|Camels Grazing in the distance with orange sand in the distance.|
|A desert caravan weaves through the dunes on our way to the camp.|
|A desert flower.|
|The Wadi or dry river bed with the Hatta Mountains in the distance.|
|The desert encampment.|
|Sunset at the end of a long day.|
|"Will the adults ever get that car out of the sand?"|
|Friedel Siever plows ahead.|
|The Toubia's preparing lunch.|
|Personnel Manager Farrokh and son Sasha enjoy the shade of the tree.|
|Jessica Bell checks out the desert plant life.|
|A stopover at the Hatta Pools just above the Omani village of Hatta. The pools are just in front of the crowd, although not visible in this picture, they look quite nice.|
|Stephan Toubia and Josh Bell tossing the football.|
|A lone Bedouin walking in the Wadi.|
|An Oasis along the way.|
|"Stop! We're not going down there are we???"|
|The crew stops at a scenic overlook.|
|Ken Bell manuvers the 'Sheik Mobile' over one of the dunes. At this point, the front license plate is still attached.|
|Josh Bell at one of the stops along the way.|
|The Schlumberger Ladies discussing the day's events.|
|The MEG team deeply involved in a carefully planned "team building exercise".|
|It is said that desert dwellers are obliged to share their meal and shelter with their guests. In true form, the tribe of "Courtois de Vicose" and company share their shelter, food, and desert know-how with their guests.|
|Phil Trayner (leg extended behind Ken) suprises everyone as he shows that anyone can toss an 'American' football.|
|A beautiful rock formation at one of the pools.|
|Bruce Davis crosses a dune.|
We left the pavement to the left of where this map begins. We roughly came through Wadi Ash Shiyah, then through Raay, later through the village of Fay, through the Hatta Pools then back on pavement in West Hatta, made the roundabout at Hatta Fort Hotel, then back westward to Dubai.