Our First National Day in Abu Dhabi – Yas Beach and Dunes

Today, The UAE celebrated its 46th year as a country, so our family set out to celebrate National Day. We drove for over 1.5 hours to reach Yas Island and stayed at the Rotana so that we could have free access to their beach. Tiyaanah and I spent two days trapped in another hotel with the tiny monsters. (Remember: Hotels were our first homes in Abu Dhabi). Though we enjoyed ourselves, we learned how much we truly appreciate being home.

National Day Vacation

Tiyaanah has a four day weekend because of the holiday. Woot! Woot!!

On Thursday, we took to the streets and set out for our hotel. Unfortunately, I made a mistake with the booking, and the receptionist sent us away. Just when Tiyaanah’s eyes brimmed with tears, Yasser Soliman swooped in with a marvelous (French???) accent.

Yasser: What seems to be the problem?

Dummy: I made a mistake with our booking, so we’re told that we can’t stay here. [I tell him the mistake]

Yasser: Yes. We have high security mesaures here, so you will need to try another hotel. [Gives us really good advice]

[Looks at Tiyaanah. Then, the kids. Walks away. Looks at the kids again. Returns.]

Yasser: You know, you have the kids, though. Let me see what I can do.

Dummy: No. You don’t have to.

Yasser: It’s okay. You have kids. I will just try.

[Removes phone from pocket. Chants some mysterious spell into the speaker and returns it.]

Yasser: We will get you the room. Just go back to the woman who previously helped you.

Dummy: [brimming with tears] Th…ank…You

The Kids

Toddlers sharing snacks on national day weekend

The bros were tight as always. Kairo refused to eat a real breakfast, so we had to give him snacks all day. However, he still shared with his brother. He even fed Kalel at times.

And they enjoyed time together outside too.

National day at the Rotana

The Beach

Tiyaanah and I missed the beach badly, so we only had two things on our mind:

Yas Beach National Day 1


Yas Beach National Day Fun



I wasn’t impressed by our experience. The best thing about the hotel was Yasser. The beach wasn’t a real beach, like in Cali. It was a manmade fiasco that had sand. We had fun, but it was nothing like going home.

And after another 1.5 hours on the road, something magical happened. Kairo napped.

Because our little guy had only fallen asleep for thirty minutes and we were ten minutes away from the house, we decided to go to the location of my next two photo shoots. Flies swarmed all around while I took test shots of Tiyaanah.

At the dunes on national day

The sun was too high in the sky. I wouldn’t usually shoot at this hour, but I wanted to let clients know that they shouldn’t try photoshoots after 10 am or before 4 pm.

Dunes adventure national day

Home Sweet Home

After Kairo woke up and had a snack, we returned to the dunes to take more photos. Unfortunately, the return was a bit of an impromptu mission, so we got out there too late. Fortunately, we had a great time digging our toes in the cool sand. We didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving, but National Day served us well.

Tiyaanah and I discussed how much we enjoyed being back in our space and how we finally obtained a sense of “home” in Al Ain.

This sense of home is probably temporary…we know. Life is crazy in these streets.

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