FC Dallas is midway through their two-week preseason trip to the UAE and took some time off on Thursday before their first game to take an unforgettable adventure. Anyone who was on Twitter or Instagram that day saw some crazy pictures. Here's what the desert safari experience was like from FCD PR Director Leigh Anne Gullett from Abu Dhabi:
On Thursday we were told to meet in the lobby at 3 p.m., wearing grey FC Dallas t-shirts and black pants. We knew we were going into the desert for the evening, but we had no idea what was really in store for us. A caravan of Toyota SUVs picked us up in front of the hotel and we loaded up for an 80 kilometer trip into the desert! At this point life got interesting(as if things could get more interesting than they've already been). The caravan pulled over to the side of the road and all of our drivers told us to stay in our respective vehicles while they got out and let the air out of our tires.
Then, they got back into the vehicles and told us to buckle up. We left the highway for desert sand, and much like driving across fresh snow(which I hear those of you in Dallas are becoming familiar with) it was a little harrowing, but no challenge for a 4WD Toyota (Editor note: we were not paid to write this!). What happened next re-defined off-road, at least as we knew it. It’s called “dune bashing” and it’s essentially a 30-minute roller-coaster ride.
Peter Luccin and I were in the back row of our vehicle with Eric Hassli and Richard Sanchez in the middle row and Michel in the front seat. We were the sixth SUV in the caravan, so we saw the vehicles in front of us go drifting down the first dune and Hassli immediately informed the driver, “Sir, I’m really heavy. We’re going to flip.” At that exact moment I noticed the roll bars welded into the roof of our vehicle. Then I looked out the rear window in time to see sand and SUVs turn into nothing but sky as a cascade of French, Spanish and Portuguese hit my ears.
After an eternity, we seemed to have reached our destination. The doors on every SUV flew open with passengers bailing left and right. One player, who shall remain nameless, puked immediately. We took a few pictures and walked around to get our legs back, saw a few camels, snapped a few photos, and then we learned it wasn’t over yet.
So it was back in the SUVs for more dune bashing en route to our final destination. Finally, we reached desert camp just as the sun was starting to set over the desert. Most of us rode camels, some of us took boards to the top of a nearby dune for some surfing and we got the chance to meet a falcon. Then we enjoyed dinner before being treated to local entertainment. Everyone was a little nervous about the return trip after dinner, but it was a much quicker and gentler trek through the desert minus the dune bashing.
It was, without question, the most unforgettable experience of any preseason I can remember.