Last month, in a fit of misguided generosity, I allowed my husband and nine-year-old son, Calvin, to talk me into going with them to Ferrari World. They had it all worked out: we'd spend a night at the Crowne Plaza on Yas Island, then head out after breakfast for a day of super-fast rides and more Ferrari fun than is good for you.
The two of them practically ran all the way from the car park to the ticket booth. I caught up with them a good 10 minutes later - I stopped to examine and exclaim at the price of the tickets (which I still have, considering how much we paid for them) - and found the boys taking millions of pictures of themselves with the Ferrari stallion that's emblazoned on every surface in the park. That horse followed us everywhere - even the jets in the fountain are arranged so as to create an "image" of the wretched animal on the water.
After admiring this glorious piece of engineering, which Calvin was loath to leave and, as is his wont around water, tried to fall into, we pored over our glossy maps and listened patiently as my husband tried to figure out the best route to take through what is the world's largest indoor theme park. Surprisingly, it was quite empty when we visited and there were no queues to negotiate.
In the end Calvin decided for us by running off to the nearest attraction, waving his ticket at the attendant and disappearing inside. So we put our maps away, got into the spirit of things and ended up trying out nearly all of the 20-odd rides.
My favourite was the slow drive in a red vintage car through a miniature landscape of Italy. The other two rubbished it as a sissy thing and declared they wouldn't be seen dead in a tiny car jerking around horribly on a track and controlled by a man in a booth. So I went alone - three times, to their supreme disgust. My husband said he liked the big roller coaster the best; he came back with a new, erratic hairstyle and a silly grin on his face. As for Calvin, he got all sulky and uncooperative when we had to leave and couldn't make up his mind.
"But I thought you enjoyed the junior grand prix," I said.
"No. Got stuck in the middle of the track. Everyone behind me got mad."
The roller coaster? "You let me go on it only four times."
So which one, then?
"The ride through mini-Italy. The one you liked, mum. That could be my favourite," he said innocently. "But we'd have to go back, because I'd definitely need to try it out first."
Tickets cost Dh225 per adult and Dh165 for children under 1.5 metres tall (www.ferrariworldabudhabi.com)