How can I find my way home?


How can I find my way home?



Landscape is all of these–all the time–stirring–changing…and so I must write.


And so it is, too, for Erik Chalmers, the protagonist in The 23 Club, himself strangely attracted to the mysterious Empty Quarter…despite the exhilarating life around his home in the Berner Oberland of the Swiss Alps.

Only his obsession with landscape, to build captivating gardens, could drive him to this place, the Empty Quarter, a place historically incapable of supporting life!

…and chiaroscuro…

This is Erik Chalmers’ landscape journey into the Empty Quarter. This is the Rub al Khali. With its own chiaroscuro, this beast turns obsession inside out.

The 23 Club is a landscape story. It is fiction from fact. It is chiaroscuro. Erik Chalmers’ journey through geography…through history…at best, like the story itself…chiaroscuro…always a blur, always a hope–for clarity, for an inspirational result.


The 23 Club

Immersed in the contemporary culture of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, against the backdrop of the Empty Quarter, The 23 Club tells the inside story of how an iconic project gets built in the oil rich, Gulf region of the Arabian Peninsula.

Table of Contents

  • Desertification
  • It’s 2AM
  • Spike Lounge
  • The Walk
  • Rub Al Khali Coastal
  • Rub Al Khali Inland
  • Liwa Qsar
  • The Nursery
  • Finding Majlis
  • Library Majlis
  • Villa Majlis
  • Long and Short
  • Pilgrimage
  • Wanderweg
  • Appendix 1:  Berner Oberland Back Story
  • Author’s Notes
  • Plant List
  • Colophon


(to be continued)

…still felix? Hardly!

…my tether?

Four incredible deserts–Nafud, Dahna, Nejd and the Rub al Khali. No weather reports–no GPS–no communications? No way. Still felix?

Our Western image of the Empty Quarter landscape, an image pieced together from the writings of our past, the holy books, the Greeks, the Romans, Marco Polo(1254-1324), Ibn Battuta(1304-1369), the ships docking in Genoa and Venice, the writings of Richard Francis Burton(1821-1890), Gertrude Bell(1868-1926), T.E. Lawrence(1888-1935),  Wilfred Thesiger(1910-2003), and others, continues today–even with GPS, even with 24/7 online large pipe digital coms–to be a mystery…an unknown landscape…still beckoning…still threatening.