Dave and Deb’s Surreal Moments Deserts Around the World

We have done a post before on surreal travel experiences but nothing has compared to our time in India.  India itself is a little surreal and we have experienced some of the strangest moments in our travels. 

Not surprisingly, many of those moments happened in the desert. It made us not only think of our time in the Indian desert, but other surreal moments in our travels that happened in deserts around the world.

Dave and Deb's Surreal moments in the Desert

What are they?

Check this out…Dave and Deb's Surreal travel moments in the Desert

surreal desert moments sand

The Grand Desert of Peru

1. Being left in the desert.

It was odd. We had a difficult time with our camel safari and guide and after a bit of a tiff, he finally agreed to find us another camel so that we could actually ride them through the Thar desert instead of being led by him walking in front of us.  The surreal part came while we were waiting.

A man walked out from behind a shrub in dress shoes and full suit.   He had come to give us information on our camel. His cell phone rang, our guide and him talked and then the two of them walked off into the sand dunes while we were left behind with two camels and a goat.

surreal desert moments sand dunes

Exploring sand dunes in Peru

2. Watching a major motion picture in the middle of the desert. 

The camel man asked us if we would mind if some doctors came to meet us during our safari.  They wanted to have dinner in the desert.  No problem we said.  As soon as the sun went down, a bunch of headlights shone in the distance.

About 40 surgeons and students arrived with wine, whiskey and beer.  They brought along a generator and as we sat around the camp fire being served finger foods on a platter, The 3 Idiots movie started up on a big screen projector.  We had front row seats to India's hottest movie in history. That night was definitely up there as the most surreal moment in our travels.


A movie in the desert, now that's surreal

3. Walking with the Indian Army on camelback. 

We had been on safari for 2 days.  As we turned a corner we saw dozens of troops doing maneuvers in the desert.  They were out practicing their GPS. 

These are highly trained soldiers that take part in combat. They are always on high alert with Pakistan and the desert border is a hot spot.  We distracted them so much that they didn't get any work done.

They walked along side us asking us about Canada, the weather and how we liked India.  One squad kept getting into trouble and had to be reprimanded by their captain. 

They ran off into the desert only to be caught by us again a while later.  Eventually, all the troops were together and they took off running followed by their trucks and supplies.  We never saw them again. Very Surreal.

surreal desert moments rajasthan

Soldiers during our camel safari, very surreal

4. Almost being left Behind in Vietnam's Sand Dunes.

While traveling through Vietnam, we had to see the famous sand dunes of Mui Ne. For our tour, we were sold on the fact that we could go sand boarding on the dunes.

We were excited to give it a try. It turned out that once we got to the dunes they didn't bring any boards.  When we complained, the guide was so angry that he threatened to leave us behind.

That was the time I learned to never accuse someone from Asia of lying.  Luckily an local NGO was on our tour and smoothed things over. 

We had to go through an entire ceremony of me apologizing to him in front of the entire group to save face. Finally he agreed to let us back in the jeep and take us home. Whew. Not only a surreal travel moment, but a scary one as well.

surreal desert moments walking sand

Vietnam's sand dunes

5. Having high artillery pointed at us in Sudan.

We were traveling by bicycle through the desert in the Sudan and were escorted by armed guards all the way through.  We didn't see them often, because our group was so spread out, but once a truck pulled up in front of Dave and I.

2 guys were in the back standing behind truck mounted high caliber machine guns.  These things could take out a plane.  The truck road in front of us and the guys had their guns pointed at us. 

They were smiling and waving, but all we could see was the barrel of these guns. We just prayed that their fingers wouldn't slip.

cycling africa

Many surreal moments cycling in Africa

6. A loudspeaker conversation in Egypt.

Once again, we were riding our bike through the desert in Egypt.  A patrolman pulled up beside us and started having a conversation with us. 

He would speak into his microphone and it came out of the loudspeakers mounted above the truck.  Where are you from? How do you like Egypt? What are your names? He bellowed.  We shouted back the answers between our breaths.

It was a difficult day and we faced headwinds the entire time. The conversation eventually dwindled, but he kept giving us updates every 500 meters.  Only 5 km to camp….4km to camp…4.5 km to camp.  It was surreal.  When we finally got to camp, we shook his hand and thanked him for keeping our spirits up.


Support trucks in the distance of Sudanese Desert

7. Stern Warning in Peru's Desert.

We didn't eve know that Peru had a desert until we traveled there.  But it has a giant desert and some of the highest dunes in the world. We were on our way to dune buggy through those giant sand dunes. It was a festive occasion.

Suddenly policemen pull up beside us on 3 wheelers.  They have a heated argument with our driver.

They yell for awhile and then the police turn to us and tell us that we should not go with them.  Driving in the desert is dangerous and we are risking our safety.

They then leave and we are left with our driver.  He doesn't speak English and we don't speak Spanish. Another girl on the tour tells us that some tourist were killed last week in a dune buggy accident. 

We want out now, but instead we all get back in and go on our merry way dune buggying through the dunes.  It was a crazy ride, but we made it in one piece.

surreal desert moments buggy

Dune buggying in Peru

8. Aborting our Takeoff at Kilimanjaro Airport.

O.K., it may not be a proper desert, but it was dry enough that a giant sandstorm came in just as we were in the middle of our take off.  We were barrelling down the runway when the plane started fishtailing.  They brakes came on and we came to a halt.

The next thing we knew a thick dark cloud of sand goes through rocking the plane.  The captain announces that we had to abort the take off due to a sand storm, but everything is fine now. He starts the engines and off we go.  We wonder if it is safe to fly with all that sand in the engine.  We hold our breath the entire way to Zanzibar.

surreal desert moments mountains

It's always an experience to travel!

Travel can be filled with hairy situations. Sometimes you just have to go with the flow and embrace the strange, scary and yes, surreal experiences.

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