Posts Tagged ‘Dune’

Qasr Sunset

June 5th, 2011

Sunset over the beautiful Qasr Al Sarab resort deep in the desert of Liwa, home of the rolling, flowing hundred-meter dunes and situated in the Southern UAE at the of the Rub’ al Khali (Empty Quarter).

I spent the weekend there earlier this year to attend a wedding.

It’s an absolutely fantastic place. The setting is one of those few places which are larger than life, reminiscent of the old Hollywood master epics from the sixties. Like something you could have found in Lawrence of Arabia, or Cleopatra, or something…

More coming soon!


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Sunset in the Desert

April 3rd, 2011

These photographs were made in Liwa at sunset, from the top of the massive dune featured previously on my blog here.

There’s nothing quite like a sunset in the desert. The view from the top of that dune onto the changing sands below… Well, the peace it instills in you adds years to your life.

More coming soon.


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Sweihan Desert Bash in the Rain

March 4th, 2011

Some weeks ago I had the opportunity to go dune bashing with a group of friends in the Sweihan area.

The sky that day was overcast and every now and then the heavens would open, but that didn’t stop our intrepid group of adventurers. And I must say, it was an absolutely awesome experience riding the dunes in the rain.

Here are a few pictures from that day.

Of course, some of us would occasionally get stuck (and *cough* some more than others). The rain added to the complications of driving on sand, creating a very shallow layer of harder sand over the soft and loose sand underneath.

The shot below was made at the lip of The Bowl, this extraordinary and deep bowl-shaped space between adjoining sand dunes, the steep sides of which make for some impressive adrenalin-pumping driving as vehicles struggle to go at speed in circles around the wall of the bowl, without sliding down into the bottom of it.

More coming soon!


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Behind the Name

April 14th, 2010

A number of people have asked me why I’ve chosen the name The Desert Jerboa. I also seem to have discussed it with a few people a number of times in the last while. So I’ve decided to share what’s behind the name with you.

Desert jerboas, as you know, are these cute mouse-like creatures with long kangaroo-like legs common to the deserts of the Middle East and North Africa. They’re hardy animals, adapted to and surviving in particularly harsh environments.

The fact that the animal is: (a) native to the country and area I grew up in and love; (b) a survivor; and (c) inconspicuous, low profile and easily underestimated; all kinda appeals to me.

There’s also another reason behind the choice: It’s an obscure Dune reference. Dune is a book by Frank Herbert, one of my favourites. I’ve always thought of it as a combination of a handbook on politics and a manual on how to create a messiah. And no, I’ve no illusions of any kind re my messiahness (or lack thereof, rather). It’s just a seminal work that has singularly marked me, growing up. And it retains all the magic it had when I first read it more than 15 years ago, even after repeated readings.

For those of you who haven’t read the book, it tells the story of Paul Atreides and how he is made into, for all intents and purposes, a messiah. As it does so, it explores the intersections of power through politics, religion, economic dominance and human emotion, as well as the impact of man on ecology. The novel introduces the term “Muad’Dib”, which is, among a number of things, the name of a desert-inhabiting kangaroo mouse much like the jerboa. It is also the name selected by Paul Atreides when he is accepted into the Fremen, who are Arab-Bedouin-type people. You can find out more here.

Herbert’s play on words is not lost to me, either. Muad’Dib (muaddib) in Arabic means variously: instructor, scholar and teacher. Someday, I hope to achieve a measure of wisdom, and to be in a position to be able to share this wisdom and the lessons drawn from my experiences with those around me.

Finally, I have one more reason for choosing the name: jerboas are cute (check this out). I mean, seriously. No? 😉

Anyway, I leave you with a picture (not of jerboas unfortunately – I have yet to come across one from behind a lens).

This is a panorama taken at around 7 am from a balcony in Paris overlooking the Seine. The image was created by stitching together 11 pictures taken in rapid succession from right to left. The spike mid-image and to the right of the rightmost crane is the Eiffel tower. To the far right you can see the first few buildings in the La Defense area.

Click on the image below to view the larger picture.

Comments welcome, as always.


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