We really enjoyed our desert drive as Bec blogged about in the last post. We had also been considering purchasing a second vehicle. So, on September 10th, we bought a 2011 Jeep Wrangler from a colleague of mine. The next day, Bec and I were back in the desert with the Oryx 4×4 group (this time with our own vehicle). Just as the group pulled off the blacktop a sudden sandstorm picked up. I was completely covered in sand after letting some air out of the tires and Bec and I were wondering if the drive would even happen. As the wind began to taper off, we found ourselves in a very rare Abu Dhabi occurrence, a rain storm! The leader of our convoy headed out and we were on our way. The weather improved and the sun came back out. Bec and I were a little tense at first, but we soon settled in as I got used to the sand. We didn’t get stuck, but there were 2 occasions where we didn’t quite make it up a dune and had to reverse to the bottom and try again. We had a lot of fun and look forward to some more Oryx drives and possibly some camping.
During the month of September, we were able to keep our Abu Dhabi Bucket Challenge going. The next item we pulled from the bucket was a cultural theme; a visit to either the Qasr al Hosn Centre or Heritage Village. As it was still pretty warm outside we opted for Qasr al Hosn. We were pleasantly surprised by the museum and hope to tour Qasr al Hosn once the renovations are complete.
Abu Dhabi’s symbolic birthplace, Qasr al Hosn is the emirate’s first permanent structure, which was home to the emirate’s ruling Al Nahyan family. A permanent, free-to-enter exhibition at the Qasr al Hosn Centre tells the story of Abu Dhabi and its people through the city’s oldest building. Fascinating oral testimonies and historic photographs bring this important monument to life. Contemporary Emirati voices reflect on Abu Dhabi’s history and transformation and Qasr al Hosn’s key role as a vibrant symbol of Emirati heritage, culture and tradition.
Qasr al Hosn began life in the 1760s as a coral and sea stone watchtower, with a commanding position overlooking the sea, later transformed into an impenetrable fort. Due to the shells’ reflective effect, the fort’s walls would sparkle in the sun offering a welcome coastal navigational tool for the region’s merchants. Mangrove was chosen to make the flooring and roof structure due to its natural strength and durability.
During the exploration and discovery of oil between 1939 and the 1950s, Qasr al Hosn went through a period of expansion and an iconic palace enclosed the initial fort. The Father of the Nation, the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, ordered a large scale renovation of Qasr al Hosn, transforming it from ruler’s residence into a museum and repository of collections relating to Abu Dhabi and the Gulf.
Now, Qasr al Hosn is going through a new phase. Earlier this decade, it was discovered that the white render on the fort’s walls was causing corrosive moisture to be trapped on the original coral stone bricks. A project is underway to reveal the original brickwork and allow the structure to breathe.
Courtesy of –Visit Abu Dhabi http://visitabudhabi.ae/en/default.aspx
We also accomplished the next bucket list item the morning of the desert drive. We tried a new yoga studio for an intense hip opening session.
The next weekend we attended a show that combined the worlds of circus, dance, and theatre by Cirque Eloize called Cirkopolis on Thursday night. On Friday morning, Bec ran the 5km indoor Aloft Runs for Children race at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre. That evening, we had dinner with friends at the Emirates Palace Hotel before attending the Ice Theatre of St. Petersburg’s version of 1001 Arabian Nights on an artificial ice surface.
Becca left for Canada later that night and, for me, duty called…I was off to the desert.