experience

Postcards from our first desert safari in UAE

It was my second time visiting the desert and our first desert safari. The early spring weather was good, and I highly recommend you to experience a desert safari at least once in a lifetime.


I hope our future generations will be able to see almost extinct Arabian Oryx.
desert safari arabian nights village UAE servicefromheart

desert safari arabian nights village UAE servicefromheart

desert safari arabian nights village UAE servicefromheart

desert safari arabian nights village UAE servicefromheart

desert safari arabian nights village UAE servicefromheart

“The next time that boy pursues you, he better do it like a dying man looking for water in a desert. When it’s the right guy, you’ll know, because he’ll cherish you.” ~ Karen Kingsbury
desert safari arabian nights village UAE servicefromheart

desert safari arabian nights village UAE servicefromheart

desert safari arabian nights village UAE servicefromheart

Desert is one of the extreme, harsh and unforgiving environments on our mother earth. I always put my hat off to those who are brave enough to live in the desert; but after experiencing desert myself, I respect them more than ever.

desert safari arabian nights village UAE servicefromheart

Some people have no choice; they were born in the land of desert, they must adapt to survive. To quote Sir Charles Darwin, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”

desert safari arabian nights village UAE servicefromheart

The second journey to the desert reminded me on the article about Sir Wilfred Patrick Thesiger, that I first read during our first business class flight with Etihad Airways .

Thesiger (19100603-20030824), also known as Mubarak bin London, was a British explorer and travel writer. His classic travel book Arabian Sands was dubbed by the National Geography as one of the 100 Greatest Adventure Books of All Time. It describes both his travels in the Empty Quarter of the Arabian Peninsula (between 1945-1950) and the traditional life of the Bedu (Bedouin) people whose “spirit once lit the desert like a flame.” Such an approach of living is perhaps now lost forever, in accordance to Michael Asher.

Few hours before my first trip to the desert in 2014, Professor L who also loves photography, enthusiastically showed me the book, with many beautiful black-and-white photographs of the desert.

I deeply like the following paragraph written by Thesiger, affirming my choice of minimalist lifestyle and striving to give more than what I have received in this life.

“In the desert I had found a freedom unattainable in civilization; a life unhampered by possessions, since everything that was not a necessity was an encumbrance. I had found, too, a comradeship inherent in the circumstances, and the belief that tranquility was to be found there. I had learnt the satisfaction which comes from hardship and the pleasure which derives from abstinence; the contentment of a full belly; the richness of meat; the taste of clean water; the ecstasy of surrender when the craving of sleep becomes a torment; the warmth of a fire in the chill of dawn.”

His writing in crystal-clear prose echoes some interesting phenomena that I experience or observe.

Human beings often do not cherish what they get too easily, these include a lover, a talent, a friend, a career or a prize. In the age of grade inflation, students often think that they deserve an A or A+, when they have not put sufficient efforts to achieve what they desire. After they graduate, some if not many, think that they are entitled to a well-paid job. In reality, it is not our education certificates that will open doors, but our passion and commitment in whatever we do, that will bring life satisfaction.

It is harmonious to remind ourselves that satisfaction in attaining a goal was directly proportional to the hardship and challenge involved in getting there, as Thesiger had realized many decades ago.

The desert experience also reminds me on a senior friend of mine, who shared that our first desert trip is reminiscent of the song Olive Tree (橄榄树). The lyrics were written in 1978 by San Mao (三毛), when she was wandering in the Western Sahara desert. San Mao’s husband, Jose Maria Quero y Ruiz hailed from Spain, where there are abundant of olive trees, that San Mao dearly loves.

My favorite Chinese version of the song Olive Tree is sung by Chyi Yu (齐豫).

橄榄树

不要问我从哪里来 我的故乡在远方
为什么流浪 流浪远方 流浪
为了天空飞翔的小鸟 为了山间轻流的小溪
为了宽阔的草原 流浪远方 流浪
还有还有 为了梦中的橄榄树橄榄树
不要问我从哪里来 我的故乡在远方
为什么流浪 为什么流浪 远方
为了我 梦中的橄榄树

I also love the English version of the song Olive Tree, sung by Sally Yeh (叶蒨文)

There is a farmer,who walks on the road,
Stranger,why do you wander?
Don’t ask from where I have come,
My home is far,far away
Why do you wander so far,
Wander so far,wander so far?
For the little bird free I wander,
For the medow green and wide,
For the mountain high and blue
I wander,wander so far
Then,is there more?
Yes,for the olive tree of my dream.
Don’t ask from where I have come,
My home is far,far away.
Why do you wander,
Why do you wander so far,far away?
For the Olive tree of my dream.
Don’t ask from where I have come,
My home is far,far away,
Why do you wander so far,
Wander so far,wander so far

Our gratitude list:
♥ people who have made our trip memorable and pleasant
♥ dune bashing
♥ sand boarding (an item of my bucket list was checked)
♥ camel riding
♥ saw the Arabian Oryx
♥ good value of money (each of us paid AED50 for the entire event)

desert safari arabian nights village UAE servicefromheart
desert safari arabian nights village UAE servicefromheart

With love,
ServicefromHeart
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A visit to dentist

Mom used to bring me to see a dentist for a regular check-up when I was a kid. Thank you very much mama 妈妈! When I was afraid of the procedures (think of molar teeth extraction!), I would imagine flying to beautiful destinations while lying on the reclining chair. My favorite one includes imagining the beautiful grassy hill with little lambs, toy-like wooden huts, colorful rainbows, singing birds, running children and snow-capped mountains at the background. Perhaps, I got the inspiration from beautiful images of calendars. Thanks to these imaginations, I endured the procedures. Sometimes, I feel that human imagination can help us overcome many challenges in life. Mom was proud of me for being a nice patient. I appeared fearless of dentists, though honestly I had some fear. It is okay.

Now, a mother to baby Ren, in the near future, I will bring him for a dental check-up. I hope he will be more fearless than me. Watching his toothless, gummy grin transforms into big smiles of cute little teeth is like a farmer adoring her growing sprouts nurtured with love. Sometimes, he bites Daddy!

In February 2014, I visited a dentist at Q&M Sun Plaza.
Dentist: Dr Ho Ann Gie
Address: 30 Sembawang Drive Sun Plaza #02-28
Singapore 757713
Tel : +65 67532339

Dr Ho is gentle and patient. I would be happy to bring Ren to see him when his teeth needs check-up.

Scaling and polishing with Passion card costs me SGD $68 and a small filling costs SGD $55. The amount excludes $10 sterilization fee and 7% GST.

3 Tips for visiting a dentist (applicable for our children and ourselves):
Imagination matters. Play and imagine roles of dentist and patient at home, using props such as toothbrushes, flash lights, mirror and small cups to practice rinsing and spitting. Read and listen to encouraging children stories about dentist or dental check-up. Love our teeth. Smile to ourselves every morning and every night, this exercise helps us to appreciate our teeth (and ourselves). Let children count their teeth, this is a simple and fun maths exercise.

Make an appointment early. Select early time slot. Dentist is fresh and alert. We do not have to wait for long time in the event that the patient from the earlier time slot needs longer treatment time.

Prepare a list of questions, if any. Bring identity card and cards that can allow us to enjoy discounts e.g. Passion card. Do not hesitate to pre-inform our budget, especially if we are in tight financial situation; allow ourselves to be aware of available options (including relatively lower cost ones).

Finally, an important reminder (for me):
Not to brush my teeth too hard because the action brushes away my teeth. Be gentle.