ABU DHABI // Friends and families gathered across the emirate yesterday to enjoy the first day of the long weekend.
Sun lovers flocked to the beach and cooled off in the ocean, while others escaped the heat by heading to coffee shops and malls for the Isra Wal Miraj holiday.
Adelle Lumalang, 34, from the Philippines, enjoyed a picnic with friends at a shady spot under a tree at Al Bateen beach.
“It’s an extra day off. It’s nice,” she said. “On a normal two days off you don’t get to go to the beach and spend time with friends as much because there are other things to do.
“It is really hot. I was going to go into the sea but now I don’t think so,” said Ms Lumalang, who works in investment banking and has lived in Abu Dhabi for 10 years.
Sed Maulion, 32, from the Philippines, was with his wife and 11-month-old baby, Kalista, at the same beach.
“Every weekend Kalista goes to the beach. She likes the water a lot,” he said. “Now it’s too hot for her so we go early in the morning. I am keeping her in the shade a lot.
“For the rest of the weekend I think we will stay at home. It’s too hot outside.”
Essam Ahmed, 51, cooled off by swimming in the sea with his son Omar, 10. “The water was very good,” said the Egyptian project manager, who lives in Abu Dhabi.
Emirati Sultan Al Mehairbi, 16, was also enjoying the water with his friends.
“I’m going out on the jet ski because I don’t have school,” he said. “For the weekend I will go to Dubai. It’s a time for family and friends. One day for family and one day for friends.”
Khalid Hussien, a 24-year-old accountant from Egypt, also planned to head to Dubai.
“I have a diving course. The time off gives you a chance to do more things,” he said.
“I will go to the park with my family on Saturday. We have children in my family.”
Taking in the view at the capital’s Breakwater was Fadi Farhat and his 18-month-old son, Ahmed.
“I take him to the beach and afterwards to Dubai,” said the 32-year-old Syrian, who works for a building company. “I see it as a good time to spend with my son. Most of the week I am at work. He wanted to see the beach. He wants to swim and play football.”
Teachers Mohammed Jaffel, 33, and his friend Mabrouk Hamrouni, 40, both from Tunisia, were relaxing at a cafe near the Corniche.
“We no longer have the pressure of preparing lessons so we feel a little bit more at ease. We try to enjoy it,” Mr Jaffel said.
“We meet friends and some friends come from other emirates to visit us. It’s a social occasion.”
Mr Hamrouni added: “This weekend we may go to Dubai and go to a club there and maybe do some shopping. The summer holiday is approaching and so we need to do some shopping.”
Ace Cammacho, 32, a planning engineer from the Philippines, was shopping at Al Wahda Mall yesterday morning.
“It’s good to get out of the heat in the mall. I’m planning to go to the beach in the afternoon,” he said.