Friday, December 20, 2013

Singing Sand Dunes

At the last minute, we decided to go to the "Singing Sand Dunes" after church on Friday.  I'm so glad we did!  We had a blast!!!  The singing sand dunes is a special place in the desert where the conditions are just right for sound to be produced from the sand dunes naturally.  It is one of only a handful of places in the world where this happens. 

According to the information we were sent in an email ...
Noise from singing sand dunes, which have been reported in the Middle East for over 1500 years, have been described as “roaring, booming, squeaking, singing or musical."  Qataris used to attribute these sounds to evil Djinns; similarly, Marco Polo, when he heard the sounds 700 years ago, blamed the sounds on evil spirits.

There is still some controversy over how exactly the sand dunes produce the sound. However, it is certain that for the sound to be heard the sand needs to be put into motion. When the singing is heard, the sounds’ vibrations can sometimes be felt reverberating through your body.

For singing to take place, the sand must also be extremely dry – even the presence of 0.1% moisture will reduce the effectiveness of the singing.

When we first arrived, there were already hundreds of other expats climbing up and sliding down the dune.  We had a blast climbing up and sliding down ourselves as the sun slowly set behind the dune.  It was a rather windy day and the boys didn't like being at the very top of the dune (sand was flung in our faces by the wind at the top), but we were protected from the wind climbing up and sliding down the dune.  It was both fun and exhausting!  Quite the exercise climbing up a giant pile of super soft, fine, desert sand!  We saw lots of friends - from our compound and from our church.  It was a superb evening!

Upon arriving at the singing sand dunes, we headed straight up!  That little ant with her arm in the air is me starting the hike up!

Didn't take long for Ken to pass me up... and the kids were way in front of him!  That's Jaden's dark backside on the right and Nicholas' dark backside on the left!  :-)

Ken finally caught up with the boys near the top.  Jaden and Nicholas wouldn't climb any higher because of the wind blowing sand in their faces at the top. 

I made it to the top!

In the wind at the top...

View at the top

View looking down from the top.  The blue dot in the middle was Nicholas sliding back down.  You can see all the cars at the base of the dune.

Picture with Jaden

and Nicholas

and Ken

Nicholas on his belly in the super soft sand

Boys playing in the sand at the bottom of the dune, protected from the wind

They even had Santa sitting in a tent, so the boys got their first sighting of Santa this year.  We are officially teetering the fence on believing in Santa.  Several of Jaden's friends in Grade 1 are from Denmark and have told Jaden that Santa isn't real.  Thankfully Jaden is rather gullible and isn't convinced his friends are correct, so he still believes, but it is definitely more hesitant that before. 

Waiting for Santa

Merry Christmas!!

After the sun went down, they lit a giant bonfire and passed out words to several Christmas carols.  As we sat around the warmth of the fire (yes it was chilly after the sun went down!), we sang Christmas carols surrounded by friends from around the world.  We were sitting with friends from Australia, the UK, and Malaysia.  All singing Christmas carols around the fire!

Sun setting behind the dune

Sun setting behind the dune

Singing Christmas carols around a giant bonfire
Sitting with friends Sean & Natasha and Anthony & Prue to sing carols
Now for the question I'm sure you're asking yourself ... did we hear the dune sing??  Not sure.  We could definitely feel the vibration of sound in the sand as we came back down and maybe hear a little hum, but with so many people and loud music playing through the speakers, it's hard to say for sure.  I definitely didn't hear any "booming or roaring" from the dunes!  Regardless, it was a fantastic time in the desert!!!

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