The hotel is right on the edge of the desert, and has its own enormous dune for sand boarding. I reckon the man in the hire booth sees us coming and realises we are complete novices. I am sure there must be faster boards available. Ours hardly move at all, making it too much like hard work. David climbs right to the top of the dune; I make do with the half way mark. It moves three inches. We give up sand boarding as a bad job and look forward to the Dune Buggy instead
We opt for a Dune Buggy adventure and try to book it with the pretty young girl on the desk. Her English is marginally better than my Spanish and together we make each other understood. With her hands she motions that there are three levels of this activity: fairly flat, a little more up and down and very adventurous. We choose the latter. She is rather surprised as most people prefer the gentlest option. Not for us though, the more adventurous the better!
Equipment: The buggies are VW Beetles without the body work and we are strapped in safely, me in the back, David in the front with the driver. The dunes are high and very steep and we go up at angles I didn’t know a car could go at. I know we have a very low level of gravity, I know the driver is an expert, but I’m still terrified! He will drive up an impossibly steep dune, and just before he reaches the top he will turn round and slide back down again. Or, he will go over the top and we can see nothing the other side as the low sun is straight in our eyes and the ground seems to literally disappear in front of us. My throat is sore from screaming, but I love every minute of it. At times we appear to take off, and at one stage I bounce off the seat and my bum lands on the moving wheel. Ouch! The driver, although he can’t speak a word of English, appears to get pleasure from our obvious enjoyment and drives even faster. We reach the top of a dune and the other side there is an enormous drop at a 45º angle and we have no other way to go than down. I scream ‘no’ at the top of my voice, but to no avail. We’re already sliding down at a great speed. What a relief to reach the bottom. This is rather exhausting, and we stop for a break to admire the view. Bad mistake. The buggy has sand in the carburettor and won’t start again. Thank goodness for mobile phones. Another buggy comes to the rescue and we swap vehicles. I can’ fasten the seat belt on this one, and I really don’t feel safe going over the biggest dunes while not strapped in. I therefore suggest (in my best Spanish) that we return to the hotel over medium grade dunes only.
Getting undressed for the night, David notices the most enormous bruise on my thigh from where I made contact with the buggy tyre. It really is very spectacular, the best bruise I have had for a number of years. How disappointing it is in a place where it won’t show. Actually, I think I was probably very lucky it didn’t damage my trousers or puncture my skin – it could easily have been much worse.