I flew within 1 nm of the Isreal border and their hyper-vigilant air defense system.
The empty wastes of the Saudi Arabian desert.
"Far below me, a yellow haze hid the desert to the east. Yet it was there that my fancies ranged, planning new journeys, while I wondered at this strange compulsion which drove me back to a life that was barely possible....I knew instinctively that it was the very hardness of life in the desert which drew me back there - it was the same pull which takes men back to the polar ice, to high mountains, and to the sea. To return to the Empty Quarter would be to answer a challenge, and to remain there for long would be to test myself to the limit....It was one of the very few places where I could satisfy an urge to go where others had not been....in those empty wastes I could find the peace that comes with solitude, and, among the Bedu, comradeship in a hostile world." - Across the Empty Quarter, Wilfred Thesiger
24 hours prior to departure a sand storm was raging over the central and eastern Saudi Arabian desert. I endured the remnants of this storm as I progressed east during the last 3 hours of flight. Visibility dropped to less than one mile as I flew through the brown haze. I hoped the engine intake filter was removing the dust/sand particles before it contaminated my engine oil.
Manama, Bahrain. At 118F, I was cooking in my nomex flight suit prior to departure.
Visibility varies from marginal VFR to IFR during the summer due to constant dust storms. Temperatures were so extreme I paid to park the plane inside an air conditioned hanger owned by a local sheikh. I worried that the canopy would melt if the plane was left outside. Eddie from G.A.S.E told me about one RTW trip that was halted in the middle east due to failing avionics and a melted canopy.
My iPad, running Foreflight, crashed several times in flight due to the unbearable heat. The panel avionics worked flawlessly throughout the entire trip with the OAT -15c to +48c. My iPhone 7, a backup to the iPad for all approach charts, was not affected by the heat.
The magnificent Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi, UAE.
The columns are covered with gold leaf and inlaid with semi-precious stones and mother of pearl.
Burj Khalifa in Dubai, UAE is the world's tallest building (828m or 2717 ft).
Sail shaped Burj Al Arab Jumeirah - The world's most luxurious hotel. I could not believe the display of wealth in the United Arab Emirates.