x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Toys for the boys are a joy for the girls too

A microlight plane to fly to your wedding? Maybe some striking furniture? Or how about an artwork that reflects your DNA sequence?

The show runs at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre until Saturday. Daily entrance costs Dh100 or Dh250 for adults, and small children may visit free.
The show runs at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre until Saturday. Daily entrance costs Dh100 or Dh250 for adults, and small children may visit free.

ABU DHABI // You wouldn't expect a show called Big Boys Toys to have much to interest the fairer sex - but you would be wrong.

Such amazing attention to detail, such imaginative designs, and so many products designed just to get away from it all mean the expo has quite a lot to offer to Big Girls too.

For instance, amid all the gadgets and heavy machinery you'll find what might be some young girls' dream: a two-seat, open-cockpit microlight with a parasail rig, capable of whisking a girl away as though she were on a magic carpet.

The microlight, the Summit 2, is available at the Jazirah Aviation Club in RAK, and can be rented for Dh500 an hour, or purchased outright for Dh100,000.

The craft requires only 15 hours of training. It could be used, for instance, for the dramatic landing of a bride and groom at their wedding ceremony - or with an extra seat added at the back so an experienced pilot can take them in.

The wedding ceremony could even be conducted at the flying club.

"It is definitely doable," said Barbara Donaldson, a co-ordinator at the expo.

The Summit 2, which can travel at 45kph, has attracted many women, she said, and so was not a just a "big boy toy".

"Local girls find this very convenient because the pilot sits in the front, so they don't have to be next to him. They can take off their abayas and take pictures of themselves," she said. "Our youngest passenger, an eight-year-old girl, was waving the whole time at the people on the beach. When she finished, she said: 'I felt like a princess'."

To the right of the Summit 2 lay another elegant, shiny, white fixed-wing microlight, which can be flown by pressing on the pedals and moving a control yoke. The two-seat vehicle can be bought for Dh250,000 and comes in many colours - including pink. It can also be rented for Dh300 for 20 minutes at the club, or for Dh400 including training sessions. Learning how to fly it takes 20 hours of training.

Down the row, a motorised backpack paragliding rig attracted one young woman who strapped on the 23kg fan.

With the help of an instructor and a co-ordinator, she was able to walk around with it and pose for photos. She even practised running wearing it. "You had it on more than is required for you to fly with it," Mrs Donaldson told her.

"We had one woman receive training and fly with the 17kg engine rig a couple of times, but then she stopped because she had a child," said Alaa al Ramahi, a microlight instructor at the club.

But flying isn't the only attraction at the show.

A few steps away from the planes lay a collection of high-style terrestrial artefacts: artistic couches, transparent pianos, black crystal chandeliers and a red curved pool table that might fit perfectly in a young woman's dream house.

A stylish white-and-black couch covered with pony hide on the front and rabbit fur on the back was designed as a one of a kind by the UAE-based artist Khalid Sharaan.

With a simple drawing of a horse on the front, the couches would create a perfect "Zorro"-themed living room.

DNA "art" nearby allowed athletes to discover what injuries they are prone to, and anyone can get portraits, characteristic analysis and customised jewellery based on their genetic material through a Russian genetic-sequencing lab.

"We are looking for the super Russian athlete," said Lidia Kazakova, the public relations director at deScript.

Different-coloured portraits of DNA sequences covered the walls.

To the untrained eye, they all looked the same, but there are differences, Ms Kazakova said.

"The one in the middle is for Miss Russia, and the one on the wall there divided into four parts is of the family whose photo is on top," she explained. "If you look into details and analyse, you'll be able to see the difference."

The show runs at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre until Saturday. Daily entrance costs Dh100 or Dh250 for adults, and small children may visit free.

hdajani@thenational.ae