29 December 2015

Camping in the UAE Desert

Winter is here in Dubai! Don’t you just love the weather now? Cold weather means winter, which means Christmas and New Year...Hurray! I just love this season. Everyone (err, almost everyone) is so nice and friendly, and everything is just so…Christmassy ☺

Cold weather also means camping. Well, here in the Middle East, it is. The weather is simply perfect for a night outdoors and underneath the clear skies and stars with friends and family. Which is why, when the weather changed and the temperature went down early this month, we planned an overnight camping with our KFC family.
And it was fun! It’s been ages since I went camping (the last was when Hubby and I were still in SFC as part of a fellowship), and it was the first time for our girls, so you can guess we were all excited. My sister came with us as well, and she brought her dog Amber (a female Cavalier King Charles Spaniel), much to the delight of all the kids.
Anyway, I’m a bit ahead of myself so I’ll backtrack first.

For any big activity or fellowship in our group of friends in the community, we always have a Team Head and Assistant Team Head. This simply means that these 2 (whether individuals or couples) are the ones in charge of the overall planning and implementation. In this case, it was Tito Jabe and Tito Charles. They arranged practically everything, and all the rest of us needed to do was bring our essentials, assigned camping items, food, and show up on time at the agreed meeting place.

So on the 3rd of December (a public holiday that fell on a Thursday) at 3pm, 10 families composed of around 40 individuals (kulang pa kami ng 5 pamilya sa lagay na yan!), and 10 cars gathered, and then headed to the campsite. 
waiting for the others
Tito Charles led the way while we were the last ones of the convoy. Walkie-talkies held by the first car and us helped in communicating when they were going too fast, or a group of us were stopped by a traffic signal, so that they could slow down or wait.

There wasn't much traffic on the way, so the journey took around 45 minutes; and once we arrived at the site near Fossil Rock in Sharjah, we put up the tents.

Soon after, each group became busy with their assignments: food preparation, bonfire set-up, and barbeque. While the adults were busy, the kids excitedly ran out on the sand, enjoying the vast desert and windy breeze, playing with Amber...and taking jump shots ☺
Hubby teaching Caila how to control the kite

Whether it’s to celebrate an important occasion or just because we want to gather together, a fellowship is always a happy affair. But what gave us an especially joyous vibe that night were the Christmas songs being played from the laptop and an electric parol hanging in one of the cars

Paskong Pinoy sa disyerto!
For dinner, most of us had brought cooked food while the rest brought meat, fish, and what-have-yous to cook…either over the barbeque grill or small gas stove. Oh yes, we were definitely prepared! ☺ With 10 families, we needed a lot of food!

When everything was ready, we all hungrily helped ourselves with the sumptuous spread, and yet, there were still a lot left over for breakfast the next morning.

After we had our fill, we played games. Thanks to Tita Bing2, we all enjoyed ourselves immensely and had many great laughs that night. There were prizes for the winners of each of the 6 games, and awards too, making everyone keen and eager to participate.

group pic of the PCs and PSTs
As the last prize and award were given, the kids started chanting “Bonfire! Bonfire! Bonfire!” It was getting pretty late after all, so the daddies lit up the pile of branches and wood, the mommies stuck the marshmallows on the sticks, and the kids settled their chairs around the fire, waiting for their desserts.

Soon the kids began to feel sleepy, and one by one we headed to our tents to sleep. Most of the preteens had sleepovers with their friends in the tents, so even though they were tired, you could still hear whispers and giggles among the kids. The daddies, though, stayed up a few hours more for some man-talk around the bonfire.

The next morning, I woke up to voices talking outside our tent. Despite sleeping late, most of the kids were the first ones awake, venturing out into the desert again. The mommies began boiling water, cooking, and heating up the leftovers while the daddies looked for more sticks to light up the bonfire.

The morning air was very cold, so we were all in hoodies and jackets, warming ourselves up by drinking hot coffee, hot chocolate, or eating beside the fire.

The sun came out at 7:14am, warming us up instantly. It was so fast, I only managed to take a few shots as it rose from behind the mountains. Almost everyone immediately whipped out their cameras and smartphones to take advantage of the morning light.

#WeWokeUpLikeThis (chos! ☺)

soaking in the rays of the sun

After breakfast, the daddies and kids went for some off-roading, taking 3 of the 4×4 cars. As we (the mommies) expected, one of them got stuck in the sand. Fortunately, though, they managed to get it out after several attempts of puffing, grunting, and pushing by the boys and men.

Not long after, it was time to head back to Dubai. Each family took down their tents, threw away any garbage, and made sure the site was how we saw it when we arrived the day before.
We had all just literally started to leave, when suddenly another car got stuck in the sand. Once again, the men started pushing, but to no avail.  The front tyres actually got in deeper after a few attempts while showering the men with sand.
Balahaw #2

sand shower!
lesson learned...keeping their distance on their 2nd attempt
Thankfully, a group of off-roaders nearby saw our predicament and one of them came to our aid, pulling out the car swiftly out of the sand and onto the main road, with the rest of us clapping and cheering with relief.
Finally, all the cars of our convoy were safely on the road and we started our journey back to our respective homes...tired, but full of memories and satiated with our fellowship camping in the desert.

happy group of friends
*some photos taken from the FB pages of Tito Allen, Tito Marlon, and Tito Reggie.


  1. Nice pics! A local my hubs met at the desert where his colleague got stuck during fieldwork said that the best way for the vehicle to get unstuck from the sand would be to release the air from the wheels. By that time, hubs and colleagues were struggling for about 2 hours already. Thankfully the local's advise really works, as within 5 minutes the stuck car they were trying to pull moved free after flattening the wheels.

    1. Thank you! Yes, letting out air can help getting the wheels out of sand. I think they did that the first time; I just forgot to mention it ☺

  2. Hi Pam, can u tell me where was your exact camping GPS coordinate.

    1. Hi! I'm so sorry for the late reply as I only saw your message today. Unfortunately I don't have the information at hand right now because we were just part of the convoy, but I'll ask and let you know as soon as I find out. Meanwhile, please send me a message at glimpsesofpam@gmail.com and I'll reply to you there.
      Thank you!


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