With having a week off of work for the Eid holiday, I wanted to go somewhere. The problem that I have is in paying loads of cash to go somewhere to do something that we could do around our home. While the idea of traveling to exciting new cities appeals to me, the idea of dragging two complaining kids around an exciting new city fills me with dread. As much as I'd like to tell myself that we'd be organized enough to plan around the kids, I know that we wouldn't and that traveling out of the country with our kids would be hell.
A few weeks ago, a student of mine suggested that we go camping in his hometown, Dibba. (To see where Dibba is in relation to Abu Dhabi, have a look at the map below.) He told me that he could show us a secret little beach that he knew that wouldn't be be busy. I've had similar offers before and they tend to come from students who are the biggest pains. I tend to just ignore them until the students forget. This guy mentioned it a few times and since he's a genuinely nice guy, I thought we could take him up on his offer.
I was slightly worried because I wasn't sure whether he'd be available like he said he would. Also, we had friends who were coming with us who hadn't been camping in the Middle East before who were relying on us. My wife and I made alternate plans in case things didn't work out, but since I'd never led a camping trip before, there was added pressure.
We left on Saturday morning and got to Dibba at about 12:30, just in time for lunch. I called my student after we ate lunch and he took us to the combination internet cafe, gaming center complete with Playstation 3's, a pool table, and table soccer. We were able to relax and enjoy my student's hospitality before heading off to his secluded spot.
When we got there, we were a bit disappointed to see a lot of broken glass by the rocks near the beach. While the beach itself was fairly nice, there was the worry of the kids cutting themselves. on glass. To be fair, it was cleaner than a lot of beaches and camping spots that I've seen in this area. In addition, with the speed that my student began helping us clean the area up, I could tell that he was a bit embarrassed by the state of things. Once we did a quick check of the beach area to make sure that there weren't any surprises, we were able to reason that as long as we kept the kids away from the rocks where the broke glass was, we'd be fine.
Camping went well with the kids having a blast splashing around in the water and digging in the sand. As the tide went out, we had more and more places to spread out. We built a fire, had our dinner and roasted marshmallows. Once the kids were all riled up from the sugar, we put them to bed and ended up going to bed around 10:00 pm.
Around 2:00 am, my wife woke me up to say that the waves were getting within a few feet of our tent and we had to move it. Both families dragged the tents with kids inside further up the beach and moved everything to a safe distance. Satisfied that we had taken care of the problem, I went back to sleep.
At 4:00 am, my wife woke me up again so we could move our tent again. This time we had to move it to the edge of the rocks and move all the chairs and other camping equipment onto the rocks. We debated whether we should move the tents onto the rocks with all the broken glass in the 4:00am dark, but decided to take our chances with the tide. Fortunately, our gamble paid off with the waves stopping about a foot from out tent.
Although we had originally planned to go camping two nights, our friends' tent broke. We figured that it was probably best just to head back and go to Dreamland water park for the day instead. We got there at about 11:30, ate our picnic lunch in the parking lot, and had the whole afternoon for the kids to splash around. Because Sunday is during the work week and the holiday doesn't start for most people until Tuesday, the park was almost empty. After a quick stop at the best liquor shop I've seen in the UAE (conveniently located next to the water park), we headed home.
While we didn't get to go camping in Musundam, Oman like we'd planned, we had a good trip. We had a day to relax at home before we head out to Musandam for another two days of camping tomorrow.