On Tuesday 13th December, the boys rolled into town. As they entered Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE, they could see the skyscrapers rise from the horizon as they made their steady 6km per hour camel-backed approach. Under police escort, they crossed the busy Maqta bridge towards the corniche, where the 44 day, 1,600km-long expedition finally drew to a close.
It has been an awesome journey that will remain forever etched on their memories. They have successfully relived Thesiger’s original adventure … same routes, same experiences, original companions, similar challenges … As I have mentioned previously, it has been a truly great privilege to play a role in this journey … sharing the highs and the lows, the secrets, the challenges and of course, the dramatic start in Salalah! Experiencing this treasured part of Arabia’s culture and heritage has been my personal highlight and I can say without question that in the ten years I have lived here, I’ve rarely got so close to this unconditional hospitality.
Adrian will now put pen to paper and write a book about the expedition. I already can’t wait to see it come alive. Also on the drawing board, is my plan to create a coffee table book depicting grand prints and captivating text. Looking through my collection of imagery, I feel both delighted and reminiscent. The mix of content, quality and visuals have all come out a treat so a beautiful coffee table book seems an opportunity not to be missed. The icing on the cake!
A white sea of dish dashes, both dignitaries and family, made it an intimate closure on the Abu Dhabi corniche. A brief photo shoot then marked the official completion of a great journey. Finally the boys made their way home … to (much needed) hot showers, crisp bed linen with real pillows and for Ghafan a special family occasion as he became a father during the expedition.
Adrian, Saeed and Ghafan, the drivers Sultan and Ahmed and the TV crew, Tim and Alexis … thank you for making this an awesome and enriching experience. Finally a big hug for the team at PSG for all their valuable ‘behind the scene’ work and keeping the ball rolling. What a great team all of you!