Wednesday, 9 February 2011


It's been a busy month so far, too busy out and about to write much. The first weekend was SANZA, an afternoon event where New Zealanders, Australians and South Africans do what they do best. It ended up being a slightly messy but a very enjoyable afternoon with my good friends. I even met one who I knew in a past life, we had lived and worked in the same place in our youth. It was fun catching up, we both look a little older of course.

Last weekend it was Jane's 40.5 birthday weekend in Liwa. Yes, on 3 February Jane was halfway through her 40th year, worthy of celebrating. Heading to Liwa was a treat. I've always wanted to go out into the empty Quarter, out to where Sue lives at Madinet Zayed and to where Wilfred Thesiger explored in the days before oil changed the demographics and landscape of this place. His photographs are stunning and the BBC link also tells some of his story.

The journey did not disappoint and the hotel was stunning. Tilal Liwa Hotel sits on it's own in the middle of a stretch of sand that includes a well used camel race track and is the site for the annual camel festival. It rises from the sand like a mirage, complete with infinity pool. When I checked in and the man at the desk said to me that I had a desert view room, I had a small giggle. Is there any other view, I asked with a smile.

The hotel was quiet until the contingent of kiwis and honorary kiwis arrived. We had a lovely evening complete with pizza, celebrating with Jane and each other. Breakfast was a treat, I can eat heaps at breakfast and managed to have a social first breakfast with Debbie, Julie and their families and then second breakfast with others as they arrived. I may even have managed third breakfast but who's counting.

It was chilly outside, after a week of unpleasant weather the wind still remained, so we lay by the pool until it was time to explore the area. Sue was our guide, this is her patch, so we headed to Liwa and the largest sand dune in the UAE. The story and photos will have to be in part two, I need to get some work completed, procrastinating at the moment.

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