Currently on my trip from Australia to Europe with my dog Rexelby and my van Lola.
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  • Day686

    Difficult times

    March 11 in the United Arab Emirates ⋅ ☀️ 30 °C

    End of January we were told to leave Saudi ASAP. All borders still being closed, the only country we could leave to was UAE. Still unsure, to ignore the request and remain in Saudi, or to exit to the Emirates and hope for the Omani border to open, we decided to make it across the border.
    The border crossing was a story for itself, about which I will write another time.
    Since then we are in the UAE. Still no borders opening. Iran cannot be hoped for as the Corona figures are on the rise again, the Oman has tightened its borders as well, so there is no escape.
    Now I am totally stuck: the summer is approaching fast, already the temperatures are rising above 30o C. I am feeling discouraged, not being done with my travels, but knowing, I cannot stand another summer cooped up in an apartment, not having anything to do, not being able to walk Rexelby, with dog restrictions everywhere in this state. These long and many months of not knowing where to go, the uncertainty, missing friends and family really cost me lots of strength and positivity. As long I was in Saudi, I kind of felt at home, I had friends I could turn to, who I know would support and help me if needed; there was a lot to see and explore, but this is different here in tiny UAE. I am starting from scratch. I am tired of traveling without purpose and goal! Some clever mind once said something like: “A journey is not the destination, but the way!” I suppose this person didn’t travel in times of Corona. Or perhaps talking about the journey to finding yourself? Well, I thought I have found a lot of myself on this trip so far, but now I am in danger of losing it (pardon the pun). Before this happens, I have to get out of here!!!
    But where to!!??
    Turkey: I could ship the car and fly in with Rex, but how can I then move on? At the moment you can leave turkey through Bulgaria, but this can change any day. And then? And when the visa expires? Turkey might be better now than UAE, as not as hot, but summer there doesn’t tickle my fancy neither.
    Back to Saudi? Not possible, borders closed, they don’t issue any visa at all at the moment.
    Home to Australia? Not possible. I cannot enter the country with Rexelby due to quarantine restrictions.
    OK, Germany it is: I’m getting all exited: About to book a shipment for my car, I send an enquiry off to the German consulate asking if I am allowed to import my dog. In their response they don’t even relate to my enquiry: I am considered a tourist. Touristic travels into Germany are not allowed at this point in time and therefore they send me a big NO. Now I am getting quite desperate, longing to recuperate in the embrace of family and friends. I need to find a way! There is only one option I have, letigimate, and close to my heart avenue, however this has still the possibility that I get rejected at the airport and sent back. Tough bikkies! The problem is only Rex: he would then be in Germany and myself I don’t know where. I know there will be some generous friends that will take care of him should I need to leave him behind.
    I decided to leave Lola here, I just need to find a place where she can wait for us, in the shade, until some borders open. Then, at a later point, I can continue my journey maybe not as planned, but anyway.
    Who would have thought that things become so very difficult, particularly on an emotional level.
     
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    Evie Werle

    Ich wünsche dir viel Glück mit deiner Weitereise. hoffentlich sind irgendwelche Grenzen bald offen. Wer hätte das gedacht das es so lange dauern könnte. Ich habe deinen Reisebericht sehr genossen. Alles gute!

    3/15/21Reply
    Michelle Price

    Oh Elisabeth you are in my thoughts and prayers for a solution for you and your lovely Rex xx

    3/18/21Reply
    ElisaLola Rexelby

    thanks Michelle! I need that!!🥰

    3/18/21Reply
    5 more comments
     
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  • Day665

    Chance Encounters

    February 18 in the United Arab Emirates ⋅ ⛅ 30 °C

    It can be quite astounding where some encounters can lead to.
    Already in Saudi a few weeks back I ran out of gas an nobody could refill my cylinder. The guys in Al Ahsa tried, but didn't get too much in. As you might remember, this lead to a chain reaction of events.
    So soon after I ran out of gas again, and the same pursuit for gas repeated itself . Always the same response. Sorry, can't do it.
    In Dubai I finally contacted a supplier who wanted to know what I use the gas for, kitchen or BBQ..., and he promised he would meet me at the hotel between 9 and 10pm.
    When he arrived he had brought a friend along who is a professional photographer interested in travel and my story. So this started a chain of events, in the end resulting in the video, to which I have attached a link below. Not made by the photographer, but an Indian team of travel bloggers. The video by the photographer is still to follow.
    To watch the video on YouTube, just search for travelista_by_santos and you will find it.
    Be patient, I'll make an appearance after about 5 minutes, but until then you get some footage of Lola and Rex.
    ...and just in case you wonder...my gas problems are resolved...for now
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  • Day662

    I Need a Break!!!

    February 15 in the United Arab Emirates ⋅ ☀️ 24 °C

    I need a break from my van and my dog for a few days, so I decided to book myself into a hotel in Dubai.
    Being able to just go to bed, without pulling out boards to extend my bed, rearranging mattresses, making the bed, and in the morning the reverse...
    Just turning on the tap for a shower whenever I want to, without heating up water, pulling out my doggy bath, cleaning up the mess afterwards...
    After showering, drying myself with a cotton towel instead microfibre. Bliss!!!
    Just lifting up the lid of the toilet without preparations...
    Turning on the tap, without the thought of saving water...
    Taking it slow in the morning, no Rexdog looking at me, expectantly, waiting for his walk, and the same in the evening... (the poor critter is in a kennel).
    No pulling in your head when moving around the van, and still knocking it now and then...
    No fear of being woken up by police or some ranger, because you cannot stay here for the night...
    No dirty dog bringing in sand and mud...
    Sorting out all things internet without interruptions or low speed...
    Just having space to move, upright, behind closed doors...
    And the best: strolling through the city, for hours, days, without feeling bad, because the Rexelby is locked in the car...
    To sum it all up: probably just having a normal life for a few days.
    ...more pics to follow
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    Kim Russell

    Enjoy

    2/15/21Reply
    ElisaLola Rexelby

    Thanks Kim! And then, the journey can continue!

    2/15/21Reply
     
  • Day652

    Dune Bashing

    February 5 in the United Arab Emirates ⋅ ☀️ 27 °C

    After a gruelling  11hrs overnighter border crossing from Saudi to the UAE and two restful days on the beach we drove deep into the desert Rub Al-Chali to watch those crazy guys driving  n the 120m high dune, which is named “ the “Terrible Hill". This hill is set just outside of the Liwa oasis, a semicircle of approximately 50 oasis located very close together smack in the middle of this huge desert.
    Soon we got to know some young men who asked me, if I would like a ride. Do I like a ride!!??? YESSS! PLEASE!!! We just had to wait for Rasheed with his Jeep and off we went. We didn’t go the shortest way up. This would have been boring compared to the way Rasheed took me and his friend. The backway was plastered with steep dunes, which made for a far more exciting ride than any Rollercoaster. Rasheed, you are a dune artist.! This ride was quite a thrill!!
    Another two things I find quite fascinating:
    Rasheed told me he drove 40kms to the dunes not on the road but through the desert. When asked he said he did not use any navigating System, he just knows how to get to where he needs in the desert, after all he’d been living in the desert for 30 years. Considering, that for me the dunes don’t look too different from one another, and in addition they change shape and move I find this astonishing.
    The other thing is: here he is driving through the desert, in his open car, and I am sure, sand squirting all around him, as he has no responsibility for a passenger, and his Thoub and Shamagh (my Emirati friends, please correct me if you call your clothes differently) his robe and head dress, are the brightest of white. No speck of dust to be seen. His friends also. How do you do this guys? You always look so smart and clean and I, with my travel clothes always feel like Ashenputtel beside you.
    I tried to record the ride, but I had to watch where we are going and so the film contains more dashboard than dune. Unfortunately. So I only attach the downhill ride which was quite uneventful compared to the ascent
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    Anita Neitsch

    it's amazing how quick you find friends to experience that country and people .l think the whole journey gives you the roundup or satisfaction in or of your life . have a good homecoming (but not yet , hey ?!)

    2/6/21Reply
    ElisaLola Rexelby

    A homecoming is not in sight as yet. Our friend Corona does not allow for easy solutions.

    2/8/21Reply
    Anita Neitsch

    hey Aschenputtel , don't loose your shoe in one of these sanddunes .........

    2/6/21Reply
    ElisaLola Rexelby

    😀😀

    2/8/21Reply
     
  • Day648

    Last Day in Saudi

    February 1 in Saudi Arabia ⋅ ☀️ 24 °C

    The end of my exceptional Saudi Experience came too sudden.
    Another highlight, this time of the architectural kind, the Ithra Building in Dhahran. I find this building absolutely sensational! Inspired by rock formations in the desert.Read more

  • Day645

    Falcons, Camels, Goats and Sheep

    January 29 in Saudi Arabia ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    Going hunting with a falcon. The view of the pigeon needs to be manipulared with some tape so she flies upwards. Once it is released and has gained some ground, the falcon is being sent off. We jump into the cars, the chase is on. The falcon is after the pigeon, we after the falcon. A sandstorm makes it quite hard for falcon, so, to my big surprised he loses the flattering pigeon. But now we have to catch the falcon, so in high speed we race through the sand, through ditches, over dunes, past some camels, across a highway... until the falcon is tired and lands on some structure from where the hungry bird can be lured with some chicken leg.
    After that I am brought to the women's camp, not without a short camel ride on the way.
    And then the women's camp. What can you say, the women generous warm hearted, always ready to laugh, to party, to sing. Always making you feel welcome and at home and part of the family
    Late at night a desert spring mouse came for a visit. I am sure it got some scraps of the bread, prepared just there and eaten like our crepes.
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  • Day641

    Thank You!

    January 25 in Saudi Arabia ⋅ ☀️ 22 °C

    After seven unsuccessful attempts crisscrossing all of Al Hofuf and all the surrounding towns to refill my gas bottle, the heaven sent me some very helpful guys. They took me to their farm and after a few tries and modifications they connected my empty to their full bottle and squeezed some Gas into mine. Good that I don't need to worry about my career as Safety Advisor any longer!!!
    Then some friends appeared and they decided to make me even happier by taking me to their workshop and giving my car a service and a good wash. But first we had to have lunch. Off we went to quite a fancy restaurant. After the main course, the owner or employee gave me a guided tour and a long photo session with interview and many more photos with guests and other people ensued.
    Finally we were released and returned to our table where I was surprised to find our tea and coffee to still be warm. We continued on to the workshop, where they did the service and the car wash for free!!! And they threw in a spare oil filter for the next oil change on top! Thank you guys from the Lube Masters! You really rock!!!
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  • Day639

    Al- Ahsa Province

    January 23 in Saudi Arabia ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

    Visiting Rashed and his huge family in Al-Ahsa and enjoying again the boundless Saudi hospitality. Another dream coming true: riding a horse in the desert. Doing it without saddle is quite a challenge and I loved it.
    Visit in the Jawatha heritage park
    And a simple but delicious dinner at home. I thank you so much for your hospitality! You all made me feel at home.
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  • Day627

    Invitation to a Bedouin Camp

    January 11 in Saudi Arabia ⋅ 🌙 17 °C

    And in the middle of nowhere I was packed up and swiftly transferred to a Bedouin camp.
    Men and women live in separate camps, quite a distance apart. This allows the women to freely move outside the tents without Niqab, do they wish so.

    Most of the time I am invited into the men's tent only, which I consider as a great honor. But this time I spent some time with the women as well. What a lively bunch that was! A very enjoyable evening.

    As I cannot post pictures of the women, I attached the little video to share the atmosphere and joy with you. 
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