The Hamptons in Arabia

The first thing that came to my mind when I first saw the beach of the Park Hyatt hotel on Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi was memories from the Hamptons on Long Island. Unlimited beach, white sand and huge waves. From these three, only the first is original, the rest is made by the Abu Dhabians. It is common practice to do things as they like in this place of earth. They bought white sand, put some artificial reefs in the sea in order to create waves, et voila! The Hamptons at our feet (Arabia). Enjoy the photos!

Το πρώτο πράγμα που ήρθε στο μυαλό μου όταν είδα την παραλία του ξενοδοχείου Park Hyatt,στο νησί Saadiyat στο Aμπου Ντάμπι, ήταν αναμνήσεις από τα Χάμπτονς στο Λονγκ Αιλαντ. Απεριόριστη παραλία, άσπρη άμμο και τεράστια κύματα. Από τα τρία, μόνο το πρώτο είναι αληθινό, τα υπόλοιπα είναι φτιαγμένα από τους Αμπου Νταμπιανούς. Είναι πολύ συνηθισμένο σε αυτό το σημείο του πλανήτη να κάνουν ό,τι επιθυμούν και όπως το επιθυμούν. Aγόρασαν άσπρη άμμο, έβαλαν και ψεύτικά βράχια μέσα στην θάλασσα για να δημιουργήσουν κύματα, et voila! Tα Χάμπτονς στα πόδια μας και στις φωτογραφίες παρακάτω :

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Desert Island-Sir Bani Yas

Sir Bani Yas,  the island which I visited recently, has something unique and its uniqueness is relied on the fact that it  is natural, a real island, a characteristic which  is quite uncommon in this man made land of the United Arab Emirates. It is located just off the shore of the Western region of Abu Dhabi.

The name Sir Bani Yas Island originates from the Bani Yas tribe, who first inhabited Abu Dhabi. Sir Bani Yas Island was created millions of years ago when natural geological forces created the ´salt dome´ island present today.

The first human settlers arrived several thousand years ago, long before people set foot on what was later to become the United Arab Emirates. Thirty-six archaeological sites have been discovered throughout Sir Bani Yas, each providing a distinct insight into the island´s history. One of the oldest sites is the remains of a pre-Islamic monastery which dates back to 600 AD. Each of these sites has now been carefully covered, to protect them until the time when they can be incorporated into the destination experience.

Sir Bani Yas Island was first mentioned in European literature around 1590, when the Venetian jeweller Gasparo Balbi listed ´Sirbeniast´ as an island around which pearls were often found. It was also described in some detail during the 1820s and 1850s by British naval officers who were surveying the lower Gulf waters.

Bani Yas Island was originally home to Arabia’s largest wildlife reserve. Spanning over 87 km2 the reserve was established in 1971 by the late ruler and founder of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

The hotel’s entrance

The only accommodation for the visitors  is  the Desert Islands Resort & Spa Hotel  by Anantara which has  64 rooms including six private lodges   spa, swimming pool etc. The hotel’s architecture and decoration blend in marvellous in the whole environment of the island.

P.S. It was from the nicest experience in Abu Dhabi

Penelope hits the Arabian Desert

If the “future is a desert” and earth a “train of dust,” love still can exist in this environment; it is possible for human bonding, community, love to “marry this space” of the desert (Adonis 1984)

I speak of Desert without repose
Carved by relentless winds
Torn up from its bowels
Blinded by sands
Unsheltered solitary
Yellow as death
Wrinkled like parchment
Face turned to the sun. ( Landscape by Chedid 1995)

desert1Heading to the desert. First surprise,  a tree in the middle of the desert. Thinking  “quiet early to have hallucinations”

 

desert2

The tree was real,  it was still there on our return using the compass 😉

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If Cartier-Bresson was alive, I’ m sure he would be envious of my photography skills

 

camelfarmFirst stop a camel-farm.  Those two little ones were so cute..!!!

desert10The sand makes the climbing a quite challenging task


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The atmosphere was full of sand creating this cloud of darkness and at the same time protecting us from the sun! 


the-camp
The camp  looked like an  oasis. We found  nice  food, drinks and big cushions to lie down

 

bedouin The Bedouin ready to take the tourists for a ride with his  camels. The one with the coloured hat around  the mouth was quite naughty, she likes to bite people and particularly the tourists who plough into her homeland with their 4×4!! (good for her  😉 )

P.S.  Bedouins are nomads. Tracing their ancestry to the first Arabs who roamed through the eastern Mediterranean and North Africa, they still maintain an active and vital cultural presence throughout the Arab world, erasing borders between nations. For Bedouin poets, the desert is not an arena of war but a place for community, not a site of alienation and exile but a location for self-fulfillment, and not devoid of nature but full of life. For the Bedouin, the phrase “the future is a desert” has positive implications.

While survival in the desert is not easy, Bedouin life in the desert is not the result of forced exile, but rather of positive choice. Their culture is spiritual, communal, and ecological. Using the terms of an ecofeminist dialogics, they are interactively “engaged” with their world, rather than in opposition to it; they give to their world as well as gain from it. They are not victims in the desert, but celebrants of pride in their home. To understand this, we need to readjust our view of home. In the West and in much of the East, home is a fixed center outside of which there are borders that should not be crossed. Literary theorist Patrick Murphy suggests that we need to “recognize the relative nature of centers and their dynamic relationship with margins” and to accept a new kind of center, one which “serves as pivot, a base on which to step and from which to move on to another center-as-pivot” (Murphy 1991, 51-52). This sort of moving center within a borderless desert is a way to understand the sense of home and community that Bedouins create in their poetry. The desert really has no margins, it is everywhere the same, and wherever the Bedouins are within the desert they are at a center which is always changing as they wander their margins.(by by Maysa Abou-Youssef Hayward)