Have you ever been kissed by a camel? Well, I have. And let me tell you … those lips are big!

We were enroute from the busyness of Dubai to Al Ain, an Oasis city of green in the otherwise camel-coloured desert of the United Arab Emirates (UAE,) a Middle Eastern country just east of Saudi Arabia on the Persian Gulf. I was fortunate to have flown Pearl (business class) to the UAE from Toronto on Etihad Airlines, based out of the UAE capital of Abu Dhabi. Etihad provided impeccable service and was an absolutely wonderful introduction to my first experience in the Middle East.

The UAE was the farthest from my home in North America that I’d ever been – physically, and culturally. Here, you’re quite likely to see camels off in the distance, just as we see deer and antelope scattered about the countryside in Canada. And we did!

But then … all of a sudden … we saw a few camels close enough to get excited about! They were no longer just dots in my camera’s viewfinder. For a moment, the otherwise conservative natured, John, became a completely four-wheeling free spirit – despite the fact that we were in a Honda Civic – and left the safety of the pavement, making a short cross-country (or should I say “cross-desert”?) trek over the sand and onto a smaller road, where we could get close to the camels. (snip)

Welcome to Travel Diversion with Doreen, my new travel blog. Many of you will have already visited my other blog, http://doreenisthewizardofwords.blogspot.com

which I started in February, 2009 and for which I have now completed 100 posts. It’s time to celebrate, and to separate the milk from the curds (or in this case, take the travel posts and put them in a stand-alone blog.) The Blogger blog will continue to exist and be the resting place for my musings on the writing life and other lifestyle-related posts. I will post there during the first full week of every month and the third week of every month.

I will post travel news, thoughts, pictures and articles here during the second and fourth weeks of every month. It may take me awhile to master the art of WordPress, as I’ve spent the last 18 months learning Blogger — and I’m no techie. But I’ll try, and hopefully make this an attractive and interesting place for you to be amused or enlightened with my travel diversions.

Please visit my website at the link below to read how my date with the camel turned out …