When we first moved to the UAE, desert camping was something we added to our list of things to do. So we went out and bought a tent and all the requisite camping gear for a super comfortable camping adventure, and stored it in our storage room and never went camping! So, two years in to the tour, it was about time we got out and did it.
The boys love running around in the desert, they love campfires, they love sleepovers, and they love glowsticks. So we were sure it was going to be a good time. And most of it was! We made smores and hotdogs over the campfire, the boys ran around the dunes past sunset, and I took some long exposure pictures of them playing with their glowsticks. After putting the kids to bed, Rebecca and I sat by the fire, and I tried my hand at astrophotography. Abu Dhabi was still close enough to cause some light pollution, and despite being a new moon, the galactic plane was like 15 degrees off the horizon, not great for those spectacular “center of the milky way” photos. But it was good practice nonetheless.
It was all a lot of fun, until the lack of sun caused the desert sands to cool down. Then it got cold. REALLY cold. Air mattresses do not insulate you from the cold ground at all. And the tent, designed for airflow, let the cool breeze right on in. Max was the only one who slept. He claims he loved it. The rest of us cuddled in a heap under the blankets with sweatshirts and long pants on to keep warm, and still didn’t sleep.
In the morning the boys had campfire oatmeal while we drank our coffee. Despite the cold, the boys had a blast, and Rebecca and I did too. So we will definitely try this at least one more time before we depart for good. Lessons learned though, pack warmer sleeping gear!