From the air, our vehicle is a tiny, dazzling white dot cast adrift on swells of powdery golden-orange sand. We’ve driven across the dusty flats of the emirate of Sharjah then on into sandy wastes flanking the mountain ridges of Oman. Outcrops of razor-edged black shale punctuate the sunbaked landscape.
We’re skirting the farthest eastern edge of the Empty Quarter, the Rub `al-Khali, a merciless 650,000 square kilometres of dunes and broken rock stretching way out west beyond the bounds of the imagination.
It’s said the Rub`al-Khali contains more than 16,000 cubic kilometres of sand among which sand mountains rise 300 metres. Legend talks of a land…
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