To discover what the territories of Dubai and the Emirates were like and how life in the desert was before the age of oil, a fine source is Arabian Sands, travel diary of Sir Wilfred Patrick Thesiger, British explorer who was educated at the finest of schools, first Eton then Oxford, and who, animated by an extraordinary spirit of adventure, abandoned the comforts of Western life to explore the vastness of Arabia. In 1945, Thesiger began to explore the Desert of Rub' al-Khali, also known as The Empty Quarter, the second largest sand desert in the world, which covers the Southern part of the Arabian Peninsula, encountering groups of people who had never met a Westerner. His diary is a summary of his adventure through wondrous and dangerous places, where the risk of getting lost and losing his life were everyday concerns and where the only possible encounters were with various tribes who were at war with one another. Yet, despite the challenges and hardships, the writings of Thesiger also convey his notable fascination with the desert and its inhabitants with whom he shared his remarkable experience. And, of course, the Bedouins, Bedu in Arabic, a fierce and tenacious people, without whose help, as he is quick to point out in his introduction to the book, Thesiger could have never made it through his journey or lived the greatest five years of his life, are at the centre of this remarkable tale.
Alessandra Migliorini - © 2020 ARTE.it for Bulgari Resort Dubai