Rediscovering Al Ain in UAE.

This weekend was probably the best in a long long time. Sam planned a fantastic stay at the Mercure Hotel at Jebal Hafeet in Al Ain. The drive was fun and we decided to take the Lisaili Route to Al Ain ~Dubai road. I was visiting Al Ain after nearly 3 years ! Where once it was one of our favorite adventure drives, gradually after the boys came along, it was a trip we took only when we had visitors/guests, who would be fascinated by the Hafeet. Jebal in arabic stands for Mountain, and Hafeet is the name of the mountain. 

Al Ain is the birth place of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Nahyan and also his second son, the present day crown prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Al ain has been projected as the green city of the middle east and for good reason, they have really made remarkable efforts to ensure that every road is lined with trees and grass ! 

Revisiting after nearly 3 years made me realize there were quite a few changes and positive ones at that, that took place here.

The boys were thrilled by the hotel room ! They completly loved the view and the facilities. We had packed a good box for each one of them, which they were in quite a hurry to relish. Ofcourse there were plenty of bonus gifts waiting for my boys. Although the temperatures at the peak of Jebal Hafeet was a good 10C, the winds were so strong, we could barely manage to keep our sweaters on.

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We ate at Pizza hut, checked into the hotel and visited the table top of the mountain in the night. Next morning after a sumptous breakfast which was part of the Bed and Breakfast scheme, the boys went swimming. They must ave been there for hours full of energy and enthusiasm. Later we practised some mini golf !  The hotel has something were strange and beautiful. The walls on the either side of the alcoves were trails of money plant !! Beautifully lined together. I hope I have done justice to the actual view in these pictures.

After checkout in the afternoon, Sam took us over to the Green Mubadzara, which is the natural springs at the foot hill of the mountain. There were several new activities that have popped up over the years one of which was the mini train ride which the kids just flipped over .. no … not literally. They couldnt have just two rides, it was’nt enough !! We all relaxed our feet in one of the many streams which had hot water gushing thru. It was so joyful.

Later before dusk, Sam drove us to the Al Ain zoo, where we were shocked to see some unexpected guests in the bird house … PENGUINS !! Yes, imagine that !! They were in a special enclosure to maintain their subzero temperatures. They are completly fantastic birds.   I hav’nt been  able to upload this fantastic film just to show you’ll how beautifully they respond to human movements. !

Next stop, the Bird show. What fun. Amazing show put up by an super amazing team, But ofcourse the birds of prey themselves stole the show. Watching a vulture hoping right infront of us, or an eagle race to catch a flying prey or an owl fly so soundlessly right above our heads was all a first timer for me and the boys. We were absolutely filled with awe.  It was also the first time we saw white lions ! The Zoo, like most zoo’s are, is huge. By the end of it, we were all just aching for some dinner.

Town Center looked so different from what I saw of it, last time. Pleasently different.  We ate at “Golden Fork” which ofcourse was an unanimous choice and headed back home to Dubai. It was a picture perfect weekend in every sense of the word.

The photographs are just a few of the moments captured.

Arabian Ranches Market Day and Being MOM.

I think one of the best things about being Mom is the love that I am constantly surrounded with. Theres a never ending supply of hugs and affection from every quarter in my home. I feel so blessed that I have sons who are always so happy to please me. If a woman wants to feel like a queen, she just has to have sons like I do. I know I havent been the best of Moms. I, like most mums, have a truck load of shortcomings, and probably becoz my boys have not seen any better, they feel, I am the Best !

I know I am hard on them.

I know I push them with their studies.

I know I dont put as much time with them as I would want to, in playing games or in any creative activity.

 I know the supper is not always on time, and sometimes, Manu, is only too happy to have his banana and chocolate milk to sleep off ..

I know I have little control on the scale of my vocal cords.

I know I am mean sometimes, I know I am weak sometimes, I know I havent tried enough sometimes, and I know I have tried too hard sometimes but being Mom, so many things get accepted by these young boys who know no better that I am merely a mother trying to fix too many problems, multitasking all the time and frustrated most of the time..

Last friday, we participated in the first fair since samie’s surgery, 6 months back. The amount of hardwork and teamwork I got from my below 10 year olds would put any management team to shame.  Piling up the materials, walking past the field with heavy boxes in arm, helping mom lay out the display stalls, hear her mouthfull of panicky screams and shouts, and then actually manage a table all by themselves…. where do you get such children mashallah !!

They are truly amazing. Allah swt must really love me for such a super fantastic gift.

I have posted this slide just to give you a glimpse of what effort went into making that fair such a roaring sucess for me. You’ll find Sawaab and Manu actually selling things and I was most surprised when one customer queried why the hand made card was alittle higher and Bilal, said quite naturally, ” coz my mother puts in alot of her time and creativity to make sure no two cards are the same.”  Shucks ~!~ I WAS BLOWN !!!  The boys were oozing of enthusiasm and confidence. They have coz they have been participating with me for the past 3-4 years and have been watching me since …

Please enjoy watching my family making the most of the Arabian Ranches Market day !

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Hajj 2010

I was sent the link to this particular site which has posted some fantastic pictures of Hajj and Hajji’s of this year 2010. For anyone remotely interested in Haj, please check out all their pictures on the link below. It is super amazing and breathtaking..

Picture borrowed from The big picture ~