On the morning of the 14th, we met up with our Scottish counterparts. Amie Morrison, Louise Durham, Mel Ruzgar and Louise Durham flew in from Edinburgh, and after countless hours of Skype meetings, we finally met for the first time. The day was fairly relaxed, as we let the girls settle in to the hotel. At midday team registration took place, and we were bombarded with a wealth of information about the coming days. It was exciting to discover the many activities that would follow: a visit to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Ferrari World, Yas Water World and the Etihad Airways Grand Prix.
After lengthy discussions, preparations and catching up, we headed off on a desert safari in the late afternoon. All the Australian teams and supporters packed in to a fleet of SUV’s and headed towards the desert sand dunes. When we arrived, we sped across sand dunes that were higher than buildings. It was incredible to slide down the face of a dune, throwing up sand and moving as if we were surfing on a wave, all inside a powerful 4WD.
We drove for about 20 mi Ute’s before arriving at a remote camel farm, where we all got up close and personal to a train of camels. We then headed off, continuing our sand surfing and arrived at an ‘oasis’, where we spent the evening. The night began with some intense sand surfing down an incredibly high dune, along with awkward camel riding, shaming Mr Honeywill, who rode ‘valiantly’. As the sun set, we sat around a table in a traditional setting and feasted on Arabic food and drinks. Soon after, we endured a final climb up the skyscraper-high sand dune, only to be trapped up there as the lights of the Oasis suddenly failed…When power was restored, we were treated to an interactive belly dance, which saw Anton and Louise attempt a traditional Arabic dance.
After returning to the Radisson, we had a final team gathering before a well-earned rest.
Take a look at some pictures here, and stay tuned for our next post!