Dear Ali: I am looking for a park in Abu Dhabi that is big enough for 40 or 50 people to gather, play ball, have a barbecue, etc. Is there anywhere you can suggest? CO, Abu Dhabi
Dear CO: Sounds like you are planning to have some serious fun - which you should, given that the weather is just perfect, so take advantage of it while you can.
Most parks have signs stating what is and is not allowed. Some parks allow people to have barbecues. The following are good ones:
• Khalidiya Park on Khalidiya Street, just opposite the building with the Prestige Cars showroom.
• The park behind the Hilton Corniche hotel.
• Capital Park on Hamdan Street.
• Al Matar (airport park) near Sheikh Zayed Stadium next to KFC, my favourite.
If you invite me, I will share with you my secret recipe for yummy lamb chops! But then again, it wouldn't be a secret anymore, so no need to!
Dear Ali: I am fascinated with camels. I went to the camel festival this year and someone told me that camels can have many names. How is that possible? KS, Germany
Dear KS: Ah, finally, someone asked me a question about camels! Yes, in the Arab world, camels have long been given names. There are names for female and male camels, and names common for both genders.
"Ibil" and "Hijen" are the most common names given to both genders and camels of all sizes. From these, new names branch out according to the size, development stage and characteristics of the camel.
"Al Fahl" is a common name for male camels, referencing their procreative powers. "Addawser" is given to camels that are big in size. "Al Haml" is for camels that wander around the desert without a master, and "Al Midifaa" is given to camels that have a lot of fat and woolly skin.
Female camels have many more names than males. "Al Bikra" means a virgin, so it is for camels that haven't mated. "Al Hail" is for camels that have mated but never carried a baby. "Al Ashraa", which means 10, is a name given to a camel that is pregnant to the 10th month. If a camel has given birth prior to her due time, she is called "Al Saood".
Baby camels are called "Al Heeran" or "Futtaim" if they are still nursing after their first year.
"Al Mataya" or "Al Rahila" is a name given to a young camel that people can ride. "Al Shamlal" is for a camel that is light and fast, and "Al Sharif" is for a camel that is old, tired and slow.
Camels also are named for the way they drink water:
• "Al Gasreed" - when a camel does not drink much water.
• "Al Ghab" - when a camel drinks once every two days.
• "Al Rabea" - when a camel drinks every three days.
• "Melwah" - when a camel is always thirsty.
• "Al Riffa" - when a camel drinks water at any time.
Many specialists agree that there are more than 1,000 camel names, and names can differ from country to country. Even though it may be hard to keep up with them all, it is fascinating to know that camels are not named randomly. Even specialists admit they have more to learn about camels.
If your kids want to ride a camel, which many will want to try, teach them to say "Aba arkab eljamal", which means "I want to ride on the camel". "Erkab" or "arkab" also can be used when getting into a taxi or your car; you say to your guest, "Erkab elsayyara", meaning "Get into the car".