The End is Nigh – for 2011!

Has been a while since I posted – but as usual, I am living life to the full….
Now where has 2011 gone? It seems just a few weeks ago that Cam and I took in the New Year round a campfire with our friends at UAEoffroaders!
This year has seen me drive thousands of kilometres with sand under my tyres, averaging 3 trips per week. I’ve run rookie trips with the help of my fellow marshals, experts and seniors in UAEoffroaders, and introduced over 70 drivers to sand dune driving. Not all have come back for more, but many have returned again and again, and I consider these to be some of my closest friends here. I’ve done about 100 trips with friends, either gentle sightseeing trips or such days others have titled “Marina’s Madness” (not crazy just intermediate terrain quite fast) and “Century Sunday” where we drove 100kms on pure sand.
I had the honour of being a marshal at the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge 2011, which was a tough week with long hours, but to me, being in the desert for a week (albeit with toilets and showers at the bivouac), was an experience to remember.
We’ve been home to Scotland, to remind our families and friends what we look like, sadly it was the coldest summer for umpteen years, maybe we will be luckier with the weather in 2012.
The Bruce family have done a lot of travelling in the UAE and Oman, we’ve driven up mountain roads to over 1000m above sea level – starting at sea level! We’ve seen turtles and flamingo and so many other beautiful creatures. We’ve snorkelled in the Arabian sea, which is fed from the Gulf and the Indian Ocean, and is somewhat warmer than the North Sea! We’ve watched luminous waves in the darkness and counted meteors in a dark sky far from civilisation.
This year we have had the pleasure of 3 lots of visitors, our friend Fiona, Marina’s Mum and our elder son Andy and his girlfriend Kathy. We’ve shown them that the UAE isn’t just shopping malls and bling, it’s a beautifully diverse country with the most friendly, hospitable locals.
Next year will hopefully see us heading to the East for a holiday or two, India is so close, and even Thailand is only 6 hours away.
The new picture at the top of the blog is one I took in Liwa last week – Neil had asked me where I wanted to go for my birthday and I said a two night camp in Liwa. I don’t think it’s what he really had in mind, but headed off there with our two cars did some dune bashing, took in the Al Dhafra camel festival and got lots of lovely scenery shots too.
So this is likely to be my last post of the year- Happy New Year when it comes, wishing you and your family a happy, prosperous, healthy 2012!

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