Bored with the idea of dinners and casual get-togethers, the Dubai-based friends Sarah Smith and Sahar Fikree put their thinking caps on and came up with the Hello DXB Challenge - an all-day event designed to shake things up for Dubai residents, getting them to see their city in a new light.
"We thought it would be fun to create a whole day event where people can get together at the weekend and discover new things they might not have tried before," says Fikree, a 35-year-old half-Emirati, half-Iranian senior design manager in architecture for a Dubai-based property group. The other half of the Hello DXB Challenge duo is the 31-year-old Briton Smith, who is a brand manager for Johnson & Johnson.
The Challenge - now in its second year - is a full-day event where participants put on their strategy hats, roll out their maps and carry out fun tasks set out by Fikree and Smith. Challengers attempt to solve riddles to discover their next destination, where more challenges await them. It's like a mini-version of the reality game show The Amazing Race.
"We were inspired by the ethnic and cultural diversity in Dubai," says Fikree. "Different social groups tend to get into regular routines of where to go, what to do, and what to eat at the weekends. We wanted to introduce all these different experiences to everyone, regardless of age, gender and cultural background.
"Dubai is truly a melting pot of cultures and we hope that through our Challenge, residents of any neighbourhood get exposed to the full spectrum of cultural activities that the city offers."
Attempting last year's challenge were 14 people in four teams. They were given a list of 25 different tasks to do around Dubai, ranging from finding and trying a camel burger to petting a falcon, finding a shark in the Fish Market and even getting on a local radio station! There were four bonus rounds that entailed solving a riddle to unlock tougher tasks, such as taking a dip in the infinity pool of a hotel. The winning team was Al Barsha, led by Afrouz Irani. Each member of the team won a day entry to Wild Wadi.
"It was our first Hello DXB Challenge and the overall experience was very well received," recalls Smith. "Some of the challengers have lived in Dubai for more than 10 years and their feedback was that they got to see parts of Dubai that they never knew existed before. All the challengers who took part last year really enjoyed doing all the challenges, discovering new places and meeting new people."
Smith adds that the event is ideal for anyone who likes a fun day out, being engaged in different activities and working in teams to discover new things. The event offers a chance to expand your knowledge of Dubai, see new places and do new things in the city, while making new friends along the way.
"It offers such a wide range of challenges that there is something for everyone to enjoy and get involved in," says Smith. "Teamwork is a key factor to success. In addition, planning is key.
"The team that won last year had a clear strategic plan. They didn't do as many challenges as the other teams, but they focused on the challenges and bonus riddles which had the highest points available.
"We provide the teams with the list of challenges, a map, a goody bag full of essential items and a transport budget. The rest is up to the teams to achieve success and have fun along the way!"
"This year's challenge will be another fun-packed day," promise Smith and Fikree. "We have a completely new set of challenges and riddles to solve and new areas of Dubai to explore."
• Starts on Friday at 10am, at Jumeirah Beach next to Dubai Sailing Club in Jumeirah 3
• Ends 6pm, at Voda Bar in Jumeirah Zabeel Saray Hotel on the Palm
• Fee Dh250 per person (includes picnic lunch and spending money of Dh150 per team to be used towards petrol, public transport and/or entry fees)
• There must be four people per team, so get together with friends, colleagues and family for a memorable fun-filled day
• At the end of the Challenge, there will be an awards ceremony where the members of the winning team will be presented with their prize
For more information please visit www.facebook.com/HellodxbChalenge.Contact Sarah Smith on 050 259 1482 to register.