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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Liwa Date Festival

Liwa is an oasis community in the extreme Southwest area of the Abu Dhabi emirate bordering on Saudi Arabia known as the Empty Quarter. The name accurately describes the environs. There you will find the the real Emerati culture as it was a mere 40 years ago. It is a world away from the hustle and bustle of Abu Dhabi City and Dubai and is just 2 hours down the road.

I always am surprised at the resiliency of the human race from the Eskimos in the Arctic regions to the residents of Liwa that have not only existed but thrived in one of the harshest environments on the planet. Because of a freak geological formation, the water table is unusually high in Liwa which allowed date palms to grow in a limited area. These seeds of the date palm are what sustained generations of Emeratis in the past centuries.

Google "date fruit" and you will find out that dates are a very complete food item densely packed with vitamins and minerals with many health benefits. Those of you in Western countries miss out on eating them from close to the source. I used to hate them until I tasted fresh ones here. The Emeratis have a very enjoyable custom of supplying fresh dates and a pot of sweet Arabic tea as hospitality items in business waiting rooms all over the country. I enjoyed this perk when I waited to have my oil changed in the Jeep at the dealership last week.

I have attached a video link to the Liwa Date Festival from one of the local newpapers. I understand it will be running though the 26th of July so I just may have to make a road trip!

If the video loads slow, hit pause and go get a beer and let it load fully and hit play again.

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