It started when I rang my friend N and asked him when I could play with his pet lion. Yup, he lives a few villas away from me and has a lion in his compound (he decided one day that he needed a pet lion so he purchased one). I haven't seen it since it was just a few months old, so I thought I'd play with the cat. N wasn't home, he was out in the desert, and since his farm was on my drive home from Dubai, I stopped by for another exciting Emirate evening. Good thing there was a fire, as I was pretty cold. I perched by the fire for about an hour, chatting with the cousins and agreeing to marry one 21 year old (helping him get a Canadian passport) - and then phewsh... there went a ... gazelle? Yup, a pet gazelle went prancing by. Good thing the lion was back in Al Ain or we'd be having gazelle for dinner.
Maybe it would have been nice to have gazelle... I tried to leave around 9:45pm, but was informed that it was almost dinner time and that I 'should' stay (meaning, you are staying). Forty-five minutes later, dinner arrived. I'm sure it was a taradactle. It looked like it had a beak, but there were definitely teeth inside. And if there were wings, they were tiny. In reality, it might have been a baby goat, but as I crouched around the platter of rice and meat, surrounded by 7 Emirate men, all I could think was, "I'm eating an arabic dinosaur... with my hands". Cutlery was optional, and I optioned out. It's much better to eat with the right hand, using the yogurt to help hold the pieces of food together! I think I finally got myself out of there around 11pm and raced home to my warm shower and bed.
So the flying dunebuggy, how does that fit in? Since you asked... the farm that I was at belonged to M. He's half brother to N. And he's into extreme sports, most recently a flying dunebuggy. This is an odd contraption where two people sit (one in front of the other) and have a huge fan-like thing-um-a-bob strapped to the back. Rising above them (Inshallah) is a giant parachute. M had tried to describe this contraption to me around the campfire to no avail and realized the only way I could begin to understand would be if I were to see it for myself. Two days later, as the sun was setting over the gargantous sand dunes, I found myself strapped into the contraption, hoping it would fly. We taxied down the sand, hit a tree stump or two, and were off! M even let me guide the parachute around the desert, though he ensured that we stayed well above the power lines.
What's the moral of the story? Maybe giving up on a latte for a few days can create a wickedly amazing unique adventure...