Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 9 December 2019

Abu Dhabi F1: luqaimat, coffee and falcons a hit with racegoers

The Heritage Village is a great place to unwind while sampling UAE hospitality

Abudullah Hammadi and pet falcon Hirjeel at the Abu Dhabi F1 Heritage Village. Courtesy: Saeed Saeed.
Abudullah Hammadi and pet falcon Hirjeel at the Abu Dhabi F1 Heritage Village. Courtesy: Saeed Saeed.

If you are heading to the Abu Dhabi F1 this weekend, here is a cool tip: head to the fan zone and head to Heritage Village.

Located just beside main grand stand, the low key site has proved to be a wonderful spot of relaxation after a long day of walking and racing action.

There you will find make-shift tents where you can rest underneath the shade will being served the local treat luqaimat (fried dough balls drizzled in honey), karak (milky tea) and coffee.

If you want to get more involved, you can pay a visit to Abudullah Hammadi. Clad in white kandura and wearing shades, he is a picture of serenity as he sits beside his pet falcon Hirjeel.

Upon request, Hammadi would happily give you the opportunity to have the powerful bird perching on your arm for a picture, providing you follow his instructions.

“Be calm and assertive,” he tells a nervous teenager. “If you are cool then the bird will be relaxed as well. Don’t move too much or you will make the bird anxious.”

The kid’s nerve got the better of him and Hammadi mercifully took hold of the bird once more.

“Not everyone gets it the first time,” he says. “But I am glad they are here to see this part of our culture.”

Abudullah Hammadi and pet falcon Hirjeel at the Abu Dhabi F1 Heritage Village. Courtesy: Saeed Saeed.
Abudullah Hammadi and pet falcon Hirjeel at the Abu Dhabi F1 Heritage Village. Courtesy: Saeed Saeed.

Hammadi says this is the fourth time he is taking part in the Abu Dhabi F1 cultural program. The Abu Dhabi resident said the village has grew to become a go to destination for race goers.

Not only do they experience Emirati treats hospitality, they can also witness a string of traditional performances, including the much loved Ayala – a folk dance in which two rows of men standing face-to-face, chanting traditional Bedouin tunes while waving their sticks to beats of drums.

“They see this and they ask questions and I am happy to answer them,” he says. “A lot of time though they come to take a picture of Hirjeel

Given to him as gift ‘from a sheikh’ four years ago, Hammadi says the bird has been a worthy companion in many of his cultural appearances.

“She is three years old and she is always with me,” he says. “She would sit me with me with no complaints. The only thing she wants is to be fed delicious meat and she is happy the whole day.

Updated: November 29, 2019 07:23 PM

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