A couple of weekends ago, this happened.
We went to the Ripe Food & Craft Market at Zabeel Park. Everyone’s talking about it and it’s like the “go to” event every Friday when winter starts in Dubai so I really wanted to see how’s it like. The Ripe Food & Craft Markets in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah offer organic produce, grown by local farmers in the UAE. The Ripe stall stocks a great range of seasonal fruits and vegetables grown organically by local UAE farmers. I know what you’re thinking – “farm”? “farmers”? “organic produce”? in the desert?
Yeah. I was curious too, that’s why I wanted to go.
The Friday market event starts at 9 am and it gets really crowded fast. When we arrived at Zabeel Park, going to Gate 1 where the market is, there was no place to park anymore. The husband dropped me and the kids at Gate 2 and I bid him good luck in finding a place to park (later on, I found out that he was only able to park at Gate SIX).
At Gate 2, there is an amusement setup with everything a toddler could wish for. There was a bouncy castle, bump cars, other sorts of rides but most of all, there was a choo choo train. Benjamin Loves trains with a capital L.
The Ripe Market was at Gate 1 and I thought we’d go there first and just come back to Gate 2 for the choo choo train ride later. Benjamin was very disappointed but being a good boy as he is, he believed me when I said, “later”. But there was no later. The husband met us at the Ripe Market at Gate 1 and said, he parked the car so far away, definitely not in Gate 2. Benjamin had fun at the play area of Zabeel Park, near Gate 1 so he totally forgot about the choo choo train ride, actually.
It wasn’t until we went home and I was looking at the photos in bed in the dark that I realized the above photo where he looks at the train is so sad. You could not see his face but you can feel the longing. I can feel the longing!
We had to go back! Today is a holiday for the 43rd National Day of the UAE so it was a perfect chance for a day at the park.
Benjamin finally got to ride the choo choo train today and his face was really serious! He didn’t let go of the small steering wheel at the front, thinking he’s the one running the train! I am so glad we went! He can’t stop looking at the video.
Now December – when most of the countries play the song “It’s the most wonderful time of the year…” nothing can be truer than that with the weather in Dubai in December. The breeze is cool, the skies are clear (no rain or snow) and the temperatures are neither too hot and never too cold (it is a bit chilly in early mornings and evenings but a light cardigan would do).
So many families, expats and locals alike flock to the parks, these massive green areas in the desert that the government has made for us residents to enjoy. There is an entrance fee of AED 5 each (children are free) but the park is well cared for and maintained, we couldn’t ask for more. There are also lots of barbecue stations along the periphery of the park. So many people came in early as those are free of charge (included in the entrance fee) and the early bird gets the worm, or the barbecue and grilling station. (However, pork is not allowed.)
As lunch time neared, the smell of barbecued meat reeked through the park. We were only there to hangout while most families came in very ready with all the picnic paraphernalia! There were tents, folding chairs, water jugs, food, food and more food. They clearly intended to stay there for the whole day.
We left when it was 1 pm and the barbecue smell became unbearable! Benjamin was also starting to point to the people eating…
It was a great day at the park today, I thought we should do this often because cool weather like this is very limited.
Oh and one more great thing about my little humans – the older little human is still young enough to love playing in the park while being old and responsible enough to look out for the smaller human. Then I can just occasionally check on them and take photos but mostly can spend my time lying down in our picnic mat and thinking of a blog post to write later on
while munching on nachos.