Out in the desert, other folks began to show up at Camel Hump Rock. A German lady (with the world's longest, bushiest armpit hair ever...no really, she didn't even need to lift her arms to share that fact!) asked Mike to take her photograph. More 4x4s. Then the Emiratis came on the scene, to hoots and exuberant yells from the growing crowd.
Why the excitement, you ask?
Ah. You see, these guys can really drive. This was a 2-wheel drive. No seat belts.
And they go everywhere.
After they moved on, we did too. Crowds driving on the steep slopes and in the dunes where often you can't see over the dune you're ascending is not the safest of situations.
Plus, we'd already clonked into the rock.
Our group wanted to go to Fossil Rock, and hadn't made it last time. (Yes, there are fossils throughout the rock). We headed out...could see it...and one of the members of our party got stuck. The only time any of us got stuck, which was pretty amazing. He was impressively stuck. Took a long time to pull him out. No one minded.
In the meantime, the fellow who had wired his radiator back on (to the Chevy he loved so much he'd had it shipped out from the USA at considerable cost) had lost a piece or two off his vehicle, and the water for his engine kept inexplicably boiling over. The Chevy had also lost its rumble and sounded remarkably like its engine had been replaced with one of those whiny ones that power remote-control model airplanes.
Thomas guides Mike up Fossil Rock
ATVs and motorbikes bounced past, flying the red, white, green and black flag of the UAE. Engines cried out in anguish, sputtered and buzzed as their owners worked the throttles.
The view was wonderful, a white settlement below, the desert stretching out all around us. It felt so good to be up on a mountain.
We bumped and wound our way back out of the desert sands towards the roads. Our GPS (Mike's new toy) had a crazy pattern of lines showing where we'd gone, and tried to go. Past some camels, strolling unconcernedly back towards Fossil Rock, lastly pulling over to refill the air in the tires.
My job was to keep the kids off the desert track, where vehicles were whizzing past. Bethy was climbing a prickly, wonderfully twisted tree, in her bare feet, so my attention was mostly on her. I turned around to check on Thomas' status, and there he was.
He'd stuck his little arm, up to the elbow, into a hole in the ground.
All my neurons fired at once: SNAKE!!!!
I'm getting really good at this moving quickly stuff.