x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

The call of the desert

Adihex offers an opportunity to see how old and new seamlessly integrate in UAE life.

Any questions about whether the modern comforts of the UAE have created a rift in the traditional relationship between Emiratis and the desert are easy to dispel. All one has to do is visit Adihex, the Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition that opens today.

This annual event, timed just as the camping season is about to emerge from its long summer hiatus, is always enormously popular with Emiratis as well as a great many expatriates.

Many of the constituent parts of traditional desert life - the falcons, the brewing of qahwa and the sometimes heated disputes over who has the most beautiful Saluki or camel - are present at the four-day exhibition.

So too are the modern accoutrements used to enjoy the UAE outdoors: quad bikes, lavish barbecues that would be too heavy to transport in anything but a hefty four wheel drive, and many kinds of hunting equipment.

It is easy to downplay the way the new and the old seamlessly integrate in UAE life, but it is a facet of life here that deserves celebration.

Most modern Emiratis are as at home in a boardroom as they are in a tented majlis, and they still enjoy the desert albeit often with modern conveniences.