It can cost up to 41,000 dollars but modifying a regular Jeep to tackle Dubai's desert is becoming an increasingly popular pastime. Ivor Bennett reports on the expats seeking thrills in the dunes.
If you thought life in the desert was dull, think again. The work is hard in Dubai, but the play is harder. (SOUNDBITE) (English) OWNER OF JEEP, DANIEL FERNANDES, SAYING: "For me it's just, you release from everything of daily life and you just come out into the desert, to such a nice area." The terrain can be hostile. But that's part of the thrill. Dune-bashing is a weekly event. (SOUNDBITE) (English) OWNER OF A JEEP, BARRY CHRISTIE (STANDING WITH HIS DAUGHTER ZOE), SAYING: "It's an opportunity to enjoy amazing surroundings, with an amazing bunch of people, and the challenge of driving in the desert." It's a challenge for the cars too of course. To be made desert friendly, they're brought here first. A business that turns regular jeeps into so-called Jeepers. (SOUNDBITE) (English and Arabic) JEEPERS OWNER AND FOUNDER, NIZAR MADANI, SAYING: "We get the cars completely standard, and we pimp them." It's been going for 9 years. But figuring out which parts fit best took some time. (SOUNDBITE) (English and Arabic) JEEPERS OWNER AND FOUNDER, NIZAR MADANI, SAYING: "The difference between us and the others is we just don't buy accessories and put on the vehicle, no, we create our own parts, we create our own design, we did our own brand. So we created a community within this brand. So when you say Jeepers, Jeepers is a community." Like anything in Dubai, though, becoming a Jeeper isn't cheap. Modifications can cost as much 41,000 dollars. But in this heat, money can easily burn a hole in one's pocket.