8 THINGS TO SEE AT ABU DHABI'S FESTIVAL OF EMIRATI HERITAGE, QASR AL HOSN

Here's your cultural update from the Gulf; put away your anthropology graduate degree cynicism, we're going mining for some nation-defining traditions. Guaranteed Expat Comprehensible!
  1. 1.
    Camels
    So many camels, mostly with small children clinging tightly to their backs, desperate to avoid a 12-foot fall into the sand. That there in the background is Qasr Al Hosn (which my Arabic speaking friend translated to "palace of the fort"), the oldest building in Abu Dhabi
  2. 2.
    A fake lake with fake ocean sounds played over a loudspeaker
    And some stalls selling fish in a variety of forms. I tried dried baby shark and let me tell you, it was incredibly disgusting
  3. 3.
    Lots of traditional looking arish (palm leaf) woven mats and houses, antique tea urns, studded chests, etc
    Artfully arranged in a casual, rustic, Instagram-friendly fashion
  4. 4.
    Falcons
    And children prodding at the falcons, who were putting up with it nicely
  5. 5.
    The archive room
    The UAE gets a lot of criticism for not having any history, but the archive room - full of old photographs, video clips and newspapers - proves that it has almost 50 full years of history (and shows off the frankly incredible rate of infrastructure development)
  6. 6.
    The souk
    Replica souks selling miscellaneous bits of fabric, decorative tea urns and embellished knives, dates and honey, karak tea, fancy slippers, etc, are popular across the Gulf, and Qasr Al Hosn has a special, extra trinkety version
  7. 7.
    Dhow making demonstrations
    A dhow, also called an abra, is a traditional Gulf pearl-fishing boat. These guys are making one by hand out of not much more than wood and rope. Actually, that guy on the right is just using his iPhone, because cultures are a marvellously ever-changing thing
  8. 8.
    A garden of indigenous plants
    Mostly palm trees tbh but surprisingly fragrant