x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Taking it nice and easy in Dubai on the long weekend

Waterpark, movies, or the mall - residents of Dubai enjoy the Isra wal Miraj holiday weekend.

Some Dubai residents took advantage of the extra day off by playing cricket on Jumeirah open beach near Burj Al Arab hotel. Pawan Singh / The National
Some Dubai residents took advantage of the extra day off by playing cricket on Jumeirah open beach near Burj Al Arab hotel. Pawan Singh / The National

The start of the long weekend to mark Isra wal Miraj offered Dubai residents a welcome break from work - although filling the extra free time proved to be tricky for some people.

A last-minute problem meant Neelabh Jha's planned trip to Oman did not work out. Instead, the 32-year-old opted to enjoy a leisurely breakfast at a beachside cafe at Jumeirah Beach Residence.

However, his friend Sampada Tendulakar, 27, a banking professional, said they were "clueless about what to do" with the rest of the long weekend. "We are trying to figure out what to do next," said Mr Jha. "We are thinking it will probably be a movie."

Many other people will be spending the break at home.

"People have left and only me and my friend are staying," said Lana Gorbasch as she enjoyed a cup of coffee with friend, Marina Judd.

The friends were sitting outside under the shade of an umbrella, enjoying the free time and trying to avoid the worst of the heat.

"We are not doing anything exciting," said Ms Gorbasch, a businesswoman in her 30s who lives in the neighbourhood. "We went to the beach, then had breakfast. We had no chance to book a flight or hotel somewhere on the east coast.

"We can even see JBR is not as crowded as usual."

At the adjacent beach, Mary Esmaellian, 23, was not so sure about that.

"I usually come during the week, so today is definitely busier," said the freelancer. "I think more people will come later."

She said her plan was to swim and sunbathe with her sister, Maty, then go out with friends in the evening.

Some Dubai residents were planning a trip to Abu Dhabi as a way to entertain themselves over the weekend.

Mouna Dani, 28, said she was going to visit today's ladies-only event at Yas Waterworld.

And Daniel Lawlor, 26, said he was visiting the capital tomorrow.

"Today we will just go to the beach and get some jet skis or something," said the Irish marketing manager.

With temperatures yesterday reaching 40°C, the air-conditioned malls were the preferred location for some.

"Today is the last day of my holiday," said Layla, a 25-year-old hospital worker from Saudi Arabia, who was on holiday in Dubai with her family.

They had been shopping at Marina Mall and were pondering their next move.

"Maybe we will go to Dubai Mall," she said, adding that a visit to the cinema sounded appealing.

Brenda Ganwani, 47, was having lunch with a friend, Charu Mathur.

"We are just enjoying the day," said the operations manager. "I did not want to travel anywhere since I am travelling in two weeks anyway."

vtodorova@thenational.ae