Saturday, October 25, 2008

Cool machine, get it runnin', ready to roll (part 2)

Mike (as you may have noticed in the post above) has a 4x4 SUV now. A Nissan Patrol. This is what the locals (Emiratis) drive, which is super great. You can't get these in the States. It's big and old and heavy and reliable. It has separate air conditioning in the back for the kids, a passable sound system, and a refrigerator built into the console box.

In other words, it is stinkin' awesome.

This is also good since my little white rental car decided it was time to go to the big car lot in the sky, signaling such with the engine light and leaking transmission fluid all over the place. The nice rental people came and took it away on a flatbed.

The Patrol also has a sunroof, as you can see.

We bought the Patrol from a German who'd maintained it well, and had it all set up for desert life. Mike gleefully reported back that on his drive home an Emerati had waved him in.

What?! Nobody waves you in here! Mike's new SUV is obviously a ticket to being in good with the locals. It even has a falcon on the tire cover.

We took it up the coast to Umm al Quain and had a great time just driving around with the kids.

First we saw a high powered 4 wheeler buggy zooming across sand dunes, buzzing around a camel who must have been very annoyed. (Though short of biting, how can a camel express displeasure?) The driver left off his camel heckling long enough to bounce down to us, spraying sand, to ask Mike if he and his babies would like to go for a ride and take pictures. Mike politely demurred.

The camel took the opportunity to plod sneakily and quickly away.

(You can see him in part 1 of the post).

Later along the road we saw another SUV stuck in the sand and went over to give them water and see if we could help them out. The police arrived shortly thereafter, (the fellow on the right is one of them, and you can see the police truck in our rearview mirror...I was trying to be discrete. That does not say Coca-Cola on the side, there!) and there was a lot of discussion and fruitless pushing around of sand. We were just leaving when a semitruck showed up, providing a huge length of chain, and we figured the stuck car was as good as out.

credit and thanks to Mike for the great photograph!

Out here, where the desert looks as I'd dreamed it would, the sand blows over the roads, and without constant maintenance, drifts form. I imagine roads get lost now and then. It was nice to have a vehicle that humped and slithered nicely over the sand without hesitation. (You can see the path of this road if you follow the stop signs.) We didn't try any true off-roading, since the sand goes from being hard-packed to soft and deep with no warning, and it would have been extremely foolish.

The kids thought this was a great adventure. All four of us kids, big and little, actually.


halfbreed said...

i would LOVE to visit you.
wow wow wow

Natalie said...

C'mon down woman! Bring the kids!

Jean said...

Your picture of the stop sign reminded me: A friend who spent some time in the Emirates says the word "Stop" in Arabic always made her think of Santa and his reindeer. She's right.

Natalie said...

I have heard "toboggan", "sleigh", and from those nutty British, "sledge". I believe the last refers to the snow vehicle as opposed to the hammer, but you never know with the Brits.