x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Keeping kids' summer boredom at bay

The heat is on and soon the holidays will be here. Never fear - families facing the challenge of summer in the UAE will find plenty of inspiration in our new M Plays page: this week children tell us about their desert excursions.

The delights of her desert excursion sent 10-year-old Bea into a cartwheel.
The delights of her desert excursion sent 10-year-old Bea into a cartwheel.

The heat is on and soon the holidays will be here. Never fear - families facing the challenge of summer in the UAE will find plenty of inspiration in our new M Plays page, written by children who share their ideas for keeping boredom at bay. This week: dune bashing

The dune bashing was not how we expected it; being teenage girls we imagined the classic scenario of the Sex and the City film with open-roof four-wheel drives flying dangerously over the dunes. Stupidly, we did not take into account that the desert is in fact full of sand, so our car with a roof therefore was perhaps more appropriate. After realising this, we put on our seat belts and were raring to go. It started gentle and got more and more dangerous as the hour progressed. However, for thrill seekers the restriction of height that the cars could gain would perhaps seem disappointing.

Soon after we were taken to the main camp to meet two men offering dates and coffee, which were truly delicious. We felt very much immersed in the Arab traditions until we spotted three snowboards in the distance. Our first instincts were to race to the highest sand dune carrying a snowboard each, which I must advise against. Annabel cunningly chose to get one of the provided soft drinks instead and then laughed at us all on our failed attempts to sandboard!

Covered in sand, we energetically approached Cammy the camel. We went one by one on a short walk around a volleyball net. Although this was enjoyable the main thrill was when my brother almost fell off as the camel bent down.

We then sat down in the centre of the camp where entertaining music was played, soon replaced by an even more exciting belly dancing performance. We especially enjoyed this point of the tour as two members of our party (Hugo and then Annabel) were asked to join her on stage and made complete fools of themselves. Despite this, Hugo got the rest of the tour group in hysterics with his raunchy dancing. The most memorable quote of the night was when Hugo claimed: "She definitely fancied me!"

Soon after, everyone was up on stage trying to imitate the dancer, but mostly failing and just having fun.

Our hunger after a jam-packed afternoon was satisfied by a delicious barbecue with a variety of meats and salads. A circle of shisha pipes brought an end to the night.

It was great for us to get a taste of such a diverse culture, surrounded by Arab-style cushions, rugs and in particular music and dance. We would strongly recommend this for anyone with an appetite to experience the more traditional side of Abu Dhabi.

Julia and Annabel, both 16

 

On April 6 my brother and sisters and I went to review a desert trip.

When I arrived it was far from impeccable, though it was something new. I imagined the desert to be deserted but it was not.

As I got into the car for dune bashing I immediately knew I was going to be sick. I wasn't but I did feel sick.

Going on a camel was interesting. As the camel stood up it would push its bottom up and stretch high up to the sky, then stand tall. It was frightening at first when he started walking, but after a minute or so it felt fine!

When the camel riding was finished, a belly dancer came to the stage. In about five or 10 minutes she started picking people from the stage and holding her hand out so they would walk on the stage and dance with her. When her dancing was almost finished she took about eight girls (including me) on the stage, and we went in a circle and danced with her.

The dinner was delicious. There was:

Salad.

Meat.

Bread.

Hummus, etc.

It was served as a buffet.

And at the end the adults had shisha. There was only one taste for all of them: apple.

In about 10 minutes they switched off all the lights - it was all dark except for the fire of the shisha.

The adults smoked for 30 minutes until they wanted to go home.

I had a nice time and would recommend it.

Bea, 10

 

Desert excursion, Dh290 for adults, Dh200 for children three to 11, Sunshine Travel & Tours, 02 444 9914 or 050 438 4488 or e-mail sunshine@adnh.com