We enjoyed a lovely Swedish Arabian weekend. You heard, or read, that right.
Friday was the Swedish part–spent all day at IKEA gathering things for our new apartment. At one point, David and I grew so weary of the trek around the huge store that we almost fell asleep on the display beds.
I wondered if it would be easier for us to live at IKEA as part of the diorama... See how the boy doesn’t hang up his clothes. See how the mother writes laying down in her bed. See how the father tries to set up the sound system. See how the housekeeper makes a sub-diorama with the stuffed animals.
Saturday was the Arabian portion of the weekend. We spent several hours at the Hunting and Equestrian Exhibit, where we discovered just how deeply proud the Emerati are of their history, culture and wildlife.
We were encouraged and welcomed by local attendees to actually participate in the scene…Yes, get on the dhow and walk around it! Yes, hold the falcon! Get your show passport stamped to win a weekend for two getaway! Had Emerati not told us about these things, we would have been silent observers. We also tested out the Arabian styles of furniture, in stark contrast to the Swedish.
We learned about the mangroves that protect the coast–above and below the water. There is project underway to plant 1,000,000 more seedlings to ensure that mangroves thrive well into the next century.
We discovered the Arabian Oryx that was nearly extinct a decade ago, but has been brought back through conservation. The Oryx, while seeming as docile as an antelope, will charge at you and kill you. We also saw a few Arabian horses in the ring. They are spectacular and unlikely to cause you harm.
Yet it was the falcons whole stole the show and our hearts. They are ravenous raptors, but also regal. They wear little hats that cover their eyes while not on the hunt. Still, they can rip a raw piece of chicken to bits while in their headdress. We saw it happen and we also saw a freezer full of falcon food, featuring big and small rats among other tasty tailed morsels.
We also saw enough falcon poop to haunt us for a decade.
By the time we left the exhibition, we had committed to 1) taking a kayak trip through the mangroves and 2) a camping expedition in the desert. Although, hopefully, we shall have moved into our Swedish apartment long before we embark on an Arabian night.