x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

More UAE residents are heading abroad for Eid

With Eid Al Adha falling midweek some workers are getting up to nine days off – and making the most of the break by travelling abroad.

One of the many people travelling overseas is Maryam Al Ayderous, 24, an Iraqi-Emirati who is heading back to Iraq for the first time in 8 years. Antonie Robertson / The National
One of the many people travelling overseas is Maryam Al Ayderous, 24, an Iraqi-Emirati who is heading back to Iraq for the first time in 8 years. Antonie Robertson / The National

With Eid Al Adha falling midweek some workers are getting up to nine days off – and making the most of the break by travelling abroad.

Omeir Holidays, one of the UAE’s leading travel agencies, said it had seen a rise in flight bookings.

“This year is much busier due to the week-long Eid,” said Conrad Caeiro, operations manager at the agency. “Flights are tight this Eid with the top destinations being Thailand, Malaysia, Maldives, Seychelles, London, Geneva, Paris and Turkey.”

One of the many travelling overseas is Maryam Al Ayderous, 24, an Iraqi-Emirati who moved to the UAE from Baghdad in 2005.

“My family and I haven’t been back to Iraq for over eight years now,” said Ms Al Ayderous who was born and raised in Baghdad.

When she was 16, Ms Al Ayderous and her family had to leave Iraq due to the increase of violence after the American-led invasion in 2003.

“At times we were trapped in school because we couldn’t go home from the fighting on the streets,” she said.

Unable to complete basic daily tasks, the family decided to emigrate to the UAE where they could live securely.

Ms Ayderous has since earned a university degree and found a graphic designer job in Dubai.

“Dubai is now my home but I am flying off the roof with excitement at the idea of heading back,” she said.

Although she longs to visit the city where she grew up and where most of her childhood friends live, her parents are steering away from the Iraqi capital. Instead, they are flying to the less-volatile city of Erbil, capital of the Kurdish region in northern Iraq.

“Members of my family and my friends are coming up to see us in the north,” Ms Ayderous said. “I miss my family, my friends and of course the food, all of which I will get in Erbil, as well as a chance to see the beautiful nature in the north.”

Rodha Al Tayer, 24, is also taking advantage of her time off to travel with her family.

Having stayed in the UAE last Eid, she said she was looking forward to a trip to London with her mother, brother, sisters and aunt.

“When Eid landed in the cooler months we used to take road trips around the UAE, seeing the desert and places like Fujairah.”

With Eid holidays now starting to fall in the warmer season the Emirati media communications graduate is increasingly in search of a more temperate climate.

“I’m excited for the cooler weather, the food, and the outdoor markets in the streets and London.”

Ms Al Tayer said that more and more her family members are travelling abroad for holidays.

Having moved to the UAE from the US just two months ago, Joshua Mussa, 22, is taking eight days this Eid to connect with his parents’ past in Kenya.

The NYU Abu Dhabi employee decided to visit Nairobi, the city where his Ethiopian father and Norwegian mother were married, and lived in before moving to the US.

“My parents initially met in Addis Ababa in the 1980s but since my mother was not Ethiopian they were not allowed to marry in Ethiopia,” he said.

Mr Mussa’s parents opted to move to and settle in Kenya.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the church in which they were married, the apartment in which they lived and the restaurants in which they dined.”

The UAE’s proximity to so many countries offers a great opportunity to take journeys such as this one, Mr Mussa said.

“It took me longer to travel from my university in Philadelphia to my home town in Washington state then it will for me to get to Nairobi from Abu Dhabi.”

He said he was looking forward to sharing his own Kenyan memories and experiences with his parents when they come visit him in the UAE next month.

tsubaihi@thenational.ae