With summer at its peak here in Abu Dhabi, one must be willing to brave the heat and humidity to venture out of the apartment. Most weeknights were pretty quiet aside from the odd round of golf with Laurie and Spence but I managed to keep fairly busy on the weekends. I made a few different bread recipes and a big gumbo and brought it into work for my American colleagues who were heading back to the US after their tenure in the UAE.
On Friday, July 7th I set out for an afternoon Oryx drive in Sweihan. On the way out, the Jeep recorded an amazing 50°C on the thermometer. “What am I doing heading into the desert?” I thought. The drive was good and I met some of the many new Oryx members that broke away from Abu Dhabi 4×4 and joined Oryx 4×4. Their addition to the club has ensured there are always plenty of weekend drives to choose from. Oryx 4×4 is thriving. As hot as it was, a rare summer rain storm hit us as we exited the dunes.
On Friday, July 14th I joined a Junior Oryx drive and enjoyed helping the newbies. We had just about all of the elements one could expect on a Junior drive…a flat tire, a pop-out, and some hair-raising stucks. The best one was while our marshal was helping another driver, his Jeep began to roll away down a dune. “Pieter, Pieter, your Jeep, look behind you!!!” I yelled over the radio. Pieter took off in a flash and jumped into his Jeep in the nick of time before it took off down the dune on its own. Crisis averted.
Can you guess what I did on Friday, July 21st? That’s right, the dunes rang and I answered. Raoul led us to a new spot near Sweihan I hadn’t been to before for a Senior level drive. It was hot and the Nissan Xterras were overheating as we pushed the vehicles to their limits. Towards the end of our drive, Raoul side-crested a high dune at low speed and had his downside, left, rear wheel pop-out on him and that was enough to tip him on his side. Similar to what I did with Vern in the side-by-side back in 2013. He was OK and we got the vehicle righted with the use of a winch.
Saturday afternoon I met Nadia, Amanda, Laurie, and Spence at Dai Pai Dong, a dim sum restaurant on Maryah Island. We were there for brunch which is traditionally held on Fridays in the UAE. The dim sum was excellent and the Prosecco wasn’t too shabby either!