Liwa: Moreeb Sand Dunes
United Arab Emirates
April 13, 2016
So I picked up my rental car in Abu Dhabi city and set the GPS for the southwest town of Liwa. In a few minutes I was hopelessly lost.
In my frustration I made a turn I shouldn’t have. Seconds later, blue lights were flashing in the rear view mirror.
Dressed in a white dishdasha, and in perfect English, the young policeman asked for my papers and retreated to his white SUV. Moments later he returned, passed me my papers, scolded me for my infraction and told me he would not write a ticket or a summons. With a stern yet compassionate visage, he remarked, “You remind me of my father.” I thanked him, mentioned my destination, so he reset my GPS.
“The GPS is wrong.” The GPS is wrong.” I know you all have said that at one time or another. “The GPS is WRONG!” For at least thirty minutes I knew for sure my GPS was wrong! Then I see a directional sign.
Challenging drive! On the road west, an endless construction zone, I am surrounded by an unrelenting, unabating, continuous convoy of monstrous 18-22 wheelers on their way to the Saudi Arabia border.
Dreary drive! On the long leg south, the road is a flat and straight shot through drab and dusty desert with only a small town or two and a rare group of camels grazing in the distance.
I arrive in Liwa, only to get confused again, call the hotel, get directions, and after a day’s drive, finally arrive at my just reward.
The Liwa Oasis Hotel sits atop a hill overlooking the desert. The extensive grounds are landscaped, the swimming pool is enormous and the guest room is large, modern and comfortable. There are sixty rooms but until I met Sigi, a traveler from Germany, I thought I was the only guest. And since there are so few guests, a breakfast menu is substituted for the buffet. The charming and beautiful waitress (from Bhutan) offers me all the breakfast items, if I desire.
It took me a day to remove myself from the padded lounge chairs on the shaded veranda overlooking the swimming pool.
So I took a ride to Moreeb Hill (Tai Mireb) to see the enormous sand dunes on the edge of the Empty Quarter. On the way I stopped at a small town where the goatherd was feeding his goats and the owner of a car repair shop has a good sense of humor.
In my opinion, successful traveling requires two personal qualities: Patience and a Sense of Humor.
Keeping a good sense of humor,