Saturday, March 31, 2012

Visitor Adventures: Heritage Village

The thing about the Friday brunch is that it doesn't feel very Arabic - you're in a hotel, drinking alcohol with every kind of food you can think of, Pop music in the background ... So, Saturday's adventures were designed to give everyone a better idea of Abu Dhabi and a taste of the Middle East.

Our first stop was supposed to be the Emirate's Palace, but due to a wedding and conference, we weren't allowed in unless we had and invite, which we didn't. So, U-Turn and off the Heritage Village.

The Heritage Village is one of the few places in Abu Dhabi that hasn't been torn down and replaced by a sparkly building or mall. The idea is to showcase traditional Arabian culture so there are a number of different housing types on display, some animals, some local craftsmen, a small museum and a small market selling an interesting combination of local handicrafts and tourist junk.

And the place was packed! This was actually our first time to visit when the village was open and we couldn't believe the number of people. I think we saw 3-4 huge tour buses parked outside.

We started with some time in the little market and our visitors bought a few things and even tried to bargain, but with all the tour bus folks, the vendors were firm on their prices - a change I've seen in the short year I've been here. And too bad, as the bargaining is part of what makes shopping in the local markets so fun for me.

After the market, we wandered over to see the camel and the houses.

The sun was pretty hot and this whole area was sand, so everyone got a small taste of the desert heat and walking challenges.

We walked through the rest of the village and stopped in the local craft exhibits and the small museum. Everything was a bit small, but good to at least see some of the culture being preserved in this city of sparkles. A few more pics for you.

 Handmade pottery workshop
 Leather goods workshop
 Courtyard area by the workshops
Weavers - those aren't paintings hanging on the walls, they are woven carpets - stunning!

At this point, the crowds and the sun and that fact that it was past lunchtime, helped us decide to head back to the apartment for some Lebanese take-away. Then a nap for the visitors so everyone would be well rested for the Desert Safari later that afternoon.

No comments:

Post a Comment