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Sandstorm in Saudi Arabia

A huge caravan of camels is moving slowly in front of impressive desert boulders, which raise spectacularly out of the endless sandplain. The wealthy owner of this remarkable herd is following his 'desert ships' in a comfortably airconditioned LandCruiser on the smooth asphalted road. This unexpected, exciting encounter raises our spirits and intensifies our love for the fascinating vast desert, as we drive along the lonely TAP-Line, the Transarabian Oil Pipeline, towards the East.

It is already hazy in the morning and it looks as if it would rain, but who is expecting rain in the desert? Suddenly, as hit by a ferocious power, the skies darken abruptly and a huge brown cloud advances barreling towards us with frightening velocity. Massive gale force winds start to shake our heavy off-road vehicle like a light feather. Enormous masses of sand and stones fly through the air, over the road and hit our car. It makes us feel as if the end of the world is approaching. We cannot even think of driving during these stormy conditions and park at the roadside in the direction, that the windscreen cannot be harmed by the strong blowing sandwind. Now and then, headlights of trucks appear like ghosts from the impenetrable sand barrier. With fascination we watch the sand, which is sometimes dancing like clouds on the road, or blows like foam from the edges of the sanddunes.

More and more small dunes start to appear on the road. As the storm still continues for hours, we decide to move on slowly and continue our journey with care. We have the feeling of driving through a wall of thick, white fog. The visibility is not more than 100 ft.. The innumerable sanddunes over the road act like speedbrakers, and still more masses of sand fly over the highway. Even very small 'mini-dunes' make their way into our car. The storm does not stop all day long and gives us no chance to prepare a meal outside our car. We dream of the cool beer and the tasty sausages we exchanged for a big variety of fresh vegetables in Jordan before the Saudi Arabian border due to their law, which strictly prohibits alcohol and pork.

In the evening, as the strong winds finally start to ease a little, we carefully inspect our Toyota and are speechless: The license plate is not readable any more, the blue colour of the car has partly vanished and the sandblasting made even the rust, oil and grease disappear. It is an overwhelming experience, what such fierce forces of nature can cause this. Later, when the clouds give way to a clear sky and thousands of stars are glittering, when the hoarse barking of dogs from a bedouin camp echoes from far, we feel that another fascinating desert experience has been added to our nomadic way of life.

More websites from the Middle East:
Welcome to Kuwait on March 3rd, 1996
Yemen car trip (from Oman to Saudi Arabia) - from May 16th, to June 15th, 1996
Trip to Dubai in January and February 1999
Fairytale Wedding in Dubai - United Arab Emirates - with our car from February 7th, to May 20th, 1999
Sharjah + Dubai: United Arab Emirates - without our vehicle from February 19th, to 27th, 2011
Sharjah/Dubai/1st Traveler's Festival/Emirates National Auto Museum - UAE with car Nov. 2012 to Jan. 2013 - part 1
Liwa - UAE with car in January 2013 - part 2
Al Ain, Eastcoast & Ras al Khaima - United Arab Emirates with our car in April 2013 - part 3
Oman 1999 - from mid-March to mid-April 1999
Oman 2013 – Part 1 - February 2013: Musandam Peninsula
Oman 2013 – Part 2 - February 2013: Sohar - Muscat - Rustaq - Nizwa
Oman 2013 – Part 3 - March 2013: Sur - East Coast - Island of Masirah - Dhofar
Oman 2013 – Part 4 - March 2013: Salalah & Surroundings (Dhofar) - Nizwa
Oman 2013 – Part 5 - March 2013: Western Hajar Mountains
Iran 2013 Part 1 - May 2013: Continuation of the journey Bandar Abbas-Shiraz-Persepolis-Pasargad (= between Shiraz and Yazd)
Iran 2013 – Part 2: Pasargad (excl.)-Yazd-Esfahan May 2013
Iran 2013 – Part 3: Esfahan (excl.)-Chelgerd-Hamadan-Sanandaj-Orumiyeh May 2013
Turkey 2013 Eastern Anatatolia - June 2013
Socotra - without our car from February 9th, to 19th, 2011:
Part 1: Socotra trip in Yemen (East) Hadibo - Dihamri - Arher Beach
Part 2: Socotra trip in Yemen (South) Homhil - Aomak Beach - Wadi Daerhu - Dicksam Plateau
Part 3: Socotra trip in Yemen (West) Qalansiya - Shouab Beach - Qadama Beach - Momi Plateau - Wadi Ayhaft

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