Dubai Tube family has a picnic.

We’re having a 4 day long long loooooooooong weekend and We have been completely enjoying it. Its really very rare to get so many holidays one after the other. First Eid holidays and now the UAE National day weekend have really been stress relievers.

I dont think we are a very traditional or rather conventional family. I realized this truly when on Friday, I suggested that since the weather is so super fantastic, why dont we go to the beach and thats when It popped to me, that we havent had a beach visit or a park visit in like ……… forever. Maybe once when the boys were 4 or 5 ! Thats nearly 5 years back ! Why have we become such a tube family. Mom ~ tube, dad~ tube and kids~tube oriented.

Suddenly there was an urge .. a need to break the spell. Although We were getting a bit late, I decided that we just had to enjoy the cool waters. Some of these pictures speak volumes of the fun that we had this friday. It was such a bliss. Scores and scores of families were there. Some in the water, some playing with the kids, some without families,  were just roaming around aimlessly.  Probably remembering their families and hoping they were here to share the moment with them.

One thing I never understand about some particular arab states of the middle east is their need to always carry the foldable chairs and plonk themselves and their shishas to enjoy any scene. But the good thing about the locals and the GCC folks is that they would carry their beautiful carpets with them and gladly spread it over the sand and enjoy their macrona meals over it. Different people different likes.

When we were a young Indian family living the dream in Kuwait back in the 70s. We carried everything from tea flasks, to soap with us in our tiny japanese cars. I suppose thats where I get it from. I too have my Yukon  stacked up with spare blankets, sheets, pillows, jackets, water and what have you ~ at any given time.   So much has changed, we have achieved so much in terms of progress but quite a bit is lost too. Amongst one of those things is that we have lost interdependence. We are more nuclear now, we prefer to move around as a single family as opposed to how we “needed” to move around as a group of families, dining together as “middle class restaurants” ~ far far from the reach of today’s fast food restaurants,  we found joy in sharing the hot homemade tea’s in thermos’s rather than hoping over to any one of the Eppco/Enoc fuel stations to grab a costa with some fuel ! All cars ran religiously behind one another and if one had a pit stop for the kids to answer the call of nature., everyone would wait coz there were no mobiles to communicate, remember !  And there were no bathrooms either 🙂

 For the older folks, it must be quite a change and they must never end with lines like,” back in our days . . . . . .  .”

 I am fine with whatever, I dont miss much, I am happy as long as “WE” are happy and having fun. To be very honest, I think life is so much more convenient now compared to then when mom used to spend half the night preparing for the picnic and a large part of the early morning packing everything.  It must’ave been so stressful but the women folk would do it ~ they’d do it for the family. If anyone has seen the movie “NAMESAKE” He understands what I mean and if you have not seen this movie, then grab a copy of the dvd at the earliest.

I broke the spell and absolutely enjoyed running, collecting shells, making a complete utter mess in the mud fight, making sand angels and just generally swimming around freely in the beautiful beach. 

By the time, the boys were ready to leave, it was nearly dusk and what a spectacular view we got, on one end, stood the gorgeous Burj Al Arab, and behind us was the magnificient Burj Khalifa. The shots, I got, are nothing short of amazing.

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.