Travel Tales - Adventures in Arab Lands

RAK Adventures

My foot hit something that made an unfamiliar sound against the pebbles. Walking through this deserted wadi (dried river valley in Arabic) my eyes were fixated on the lofty Al Hajar mountains. But the eerie sound broke my reverie. As I looked down I froze with fear. The skeleton of a dead animal lay at my feet.

It was the second last day of the most-adventurous trip I have ever taken in my life. I encountered the most mystifying sights during this trip. We were a group of 15 people from 9 different countries on a unique field trip to Ras Al Khaimah (RAK), the northern-most emirate of UAE. From faltering and slipping on wobbly pebbles for several miles, to climbing precarious rocks with bare hands upto the heights of 80 feet, from the struggle of disentangling our bruised and bleeding legs from thorny bushes, to the toil of walking through the shifting sand dunes, it had been a journey beyond imagination. Not to forget, the midday sun spewed fire over our heads. Yet the land of Arabs had conquered our hearts as we conquered our fears with every passing day.

The best part about this place is that most of the areas are still untouched by humans. The raw beauty of gigantic folds and faults in the mountains is a feast for eyes. The allure of serpentine roads is a dream for anyone who loves road trips. Al Hajar mountains offered us an exciting view with hairpin bends and scarily steep ascends as we drove towards the highest peak of UAE, the Jebel Jais. The view from the top was breathtaking. The world’s longest zipline is at the top of Jebel Jais at more than 6000 feet above sea level extending to around 3 km.

The trip was a learning experience like none other. Resilience, will power, teamwork, courage, and above all focus. We acquired these qualities without even realizing the transformation we were undergoing. On one of those days I was looking back to see how high I had climbed. I still remember how I thought I would never be able to descend that 80 feet high cliff. My Kazakh friend then reminded me of the mountain goats we had seen the previous day. These animals could run up and down the vertical cliffs with gravity-defying ease. I learnt to descend a steep cliff using the tact and style of these goats. And alongside I learnt how to conquer my fear.

The fond memories of this trip make me smile every time talk about it. I remember how we used to start feeling grumpy towards the evenings and how our Egyptian storyteller friend used to entertain us with mystical folktales from the lands of Luxor. I remember how we surmounted every challenge by helping each other. I remember how the entire group took care of the Canadian who was not used to such high temperatures. But I don’t remember when and how we became inseparable friends forever.

Thank you 

Aditi Sharma
ISB | PGP Co’ 2020