Travelling with kids: Discovering fresh delights in a new city



Perhaps the most challenging thing about moving cities with children in tow is dealing with the period of adjustment. We have done this three heart-wrenching times, and have learnt two important lessons in the process: do your research before you arrive and explore the city on foot as much as possible.

To keep our teenage son from moping this time around, while we were still in Abu Dhabi, a special list was compiled. Crammed with things to do in ­Bangalore, our new city of residence, it was meticulously put together from various sources. Among them is Little Black Book (LBB), a useful app full of tips and interesting information, from where to find the best mango lassi to cycling clubs that meet every weekend.

Which has meant that the past few weeks have been busy and rewarding for our 15-year-old. He has paid at least six visits to what is now his favourite place: The Cat Studio, a tiny glass-fronted space in Jeevan Bheema Nagar. The shelter is home to several rescued cats and kittens, and visitors can interact and play with them (50 rupees [Dh3] for the first 15 minutes; 70 rupees [Dh4] for each additional half-hour). In a few weeks, we’re planning to bring home one of these felines. And while our son hangs out with the kitties, my husband and I sip saffron tea (25 rupees [Dh1]) at Bun Maska Chai (Bread, Butter and Tea), a tiny, open-­fronted cafe with spindly chairs and tables where you can sit and watch the world go by.

Then there's Church Street, a narrow lane in the city centre lined with restaurants and pubs, but perhaps best known for its bookshops. We already have a favourite among these: Blossom Book House, a decades-old store with several levels packed with tomes from floor to ceiling. There's hardly space to walk in the dusty interior, but it's incredibly easy to spend several hours here, lost among the latest bestsellers, valuable first editions and, in our son's case, Tintin and Lucky Luke comics.

In the evenings, we walk around our neighbourhood, and these excursions have revealed various delights. One of our son’s favourite finds is a food stall that pops up daily at sundown. Within minutes, people start queuing for its speciality: momos – Nepalese steamed dumplings that are made on the spot. The large, mouthwatering orbs are stuffed with chopped vegetables or minced chicken, and served with a hot, sweet sauce that sets fire to your insides (50 rupees [Dh3] for a plate of eight).

Farther down the street is a cart selling sugar-cane juice, made tangy with lemon and rock salt (25 rupees [Dh1]), and a shop that does a brisk trade in vada (deep-fried lentil doughnuts) and spicy coconut chutney (20 rupees [Dh1] for two).

It has been about five weeks since we moved, and we’re yet to make a dent in our list of things to do. But the best part, even as our teenager still pines for Abu Dhabi, is that he can’t wait to try it all.

Know before you go
  • Jebel Akhdar is a two-hour drive from Muscat airport or a six-hour drive from Dubai. It’s impossible to visit by car unless you have a 4x4. Phone ahead to the hotel to arrange a transfer.
  • If you’re driving, make sure your insurance covers Oman.
  • By air: Budget airlines Air Arabia, Flydubai and SalamAir offer direct routes to Muscat from the UAE.
  • Tourists from the Emirates (UAE nationals not included) must apply for an Omani visa online before arrival at evisa.rop.gov.om. The process typically takes several days.
  • Flash floods are probable due to the terrain and a lack of drainage. Always check the weather before venturing into any canyons or other remote areas and identify a plan of escape that includes high ground, shelter and parking where your car won’t be overtaken by sudden downpours.

 

MATCH INFO

Real Madrid 2

Vinicius Junior (71') Mariano (90+2')

Barcelona 0

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Haltia.ai
Started: 2023
Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends

Kill

Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

Results

2.15pm: Handicap Dh80,000 1,950m

Winner: Hello, Tadhg O’Shea (jockey), Ali Rashid Al Raihi (trainer).

2.45pm: Handicap Dh90,000 1,800m

Winner: Right Flank, Pat Dobbs, Doug Watson.

3.15pm: Handicap Dh115,000 1,000m

Winner: Leading Spirit, Richard Mullen, Satish Seemar.

3.45pm: Jebel Ali Mile Group 3 Dh575,000 1,600m

Winner: Chiefdom, Royston Ffrench, Salem bin Ghadayer.

4.15pm: Handicap Dh105,000 1,400m

Winner: Ode To Autumn, Patrick Cosgrave, Satish Seemar.

4.45pm: Shadwell Farm Conditions Dh125,000 1,200m

Winner: Last Surprise, James Doyle, Simon Crisford.

5.15pm: Handicap Dh85,000 1,200m

Winner: Daltrey, Sandro Paiva, Ali Rashid Al Raihi.

The burning issue

The internal combustion engine is facing a watershed moment – major manufacturer Volvo is to stop producing petroleum-powered vehicles by 2021 and countries in Europe, including the UK, have vowed to ban their sale before 2040. The National takes a look at the story of one of the most successful technologies of the last 100 years and how it has impacted life in the UAE. 

Read part four: an affection for classic cars lives on

Read part three: the age of the electric vehicle begins

Read part two: how climate change drove the race for an alternative 

ABU DHABI ORDER OF PLAY

Starting at 10am:

Daria Kasatkina v Qiang Wang

Veronika Kudermetova v Annet Kontaveit (10)

Maria Sakkari (9) v Anastasia Potapova

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova v Ons Jabeur (15)

Donna Vekic (16) v Bernarda Pera 

Ekaterina Alexandrova v Zarina Diyas

COMPANY PROFILE

Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside

THE BIO: Martin Van Almsick

Hometown: Cologne, Germany

Family: Wife Hanan Ahmed and their three children, Marrah (23), Tibijan (19), Amon (13)

Favourite dessert: Umm Ali with dark camel milk chocolate flakes

Favourite hobby: Football

Breakfast routine: a tall glass of camel milk

Roger Federer's 2018 record

Australian Open Champion

Rotterdam Champion

Indian Wells Runner-up

Miami Second round

Stuttgart Champion

Halle Runner-up

Wimbledon Quarter-finals

Cincinnati Runner-up

US Open Fourth round

Shanghai Semi-finals

Basel Champion

Paris Masters Semi-finals

 

 

Confirmed bouts (more to be added)

Cory Sandhagen v Umar Nurmagomedov
Nick Diaz v Vicente Luque
Michael Chiesa v Tony Ferguson
Deiveson Figueiredo v Marlon Vera
Mackenzie Dern v Loopy Godinez

Tickets for the August 3 Fight Night, held in partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi, went on sale earlier this month, through www.etihadarena.ae and www.ticketmaster.ae.

Sarfira

Director: Sudha Kongara Prasad

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Madan, Paresh Rawal

Rating: 2/5

DUBAI BLING: EPISODE 1

Creator: Netflix

Stars: Kris Fade, Ebraheem Al Samadi, Zeina Khoury

Rating: 2/5

Bridgerton season three - part one

Directors: Various

Starring: Nicola Coughlan, Luke Newton, Jonathan Bailey

Rating: 3/5

Company profile

Name: Fruitful Day

Founders: Marie-Christine Luijckx, Lyla Dalal AlRawi, Lindsey Fournie

Based: Dubai, UAE

Founded: 2015

Number of employees: 30

Sector: F&B

Funding so far: Dh3 million

Future funding plans: None at present

Future markets: Saudi Arabia, potentially Kuwait and other GCC countries

Building boom turning to bust as Turkey's economy slows

Deep in a provincial region of northwestern Turkey, it looks like a mirage - hundreds of luxury houses built in neat rows, their pointed towers somewhere between French chateau and Disney castle.

Meant to provide luxurious accommodations for foreign buyers, the houses are however standing empty in what is anything but a fairytale for their investors.

The ambitious development has been hit by regional turmoil as well as the slump in the Turkish construction industry - a key sector - as the country's economy heads towards what could be a hard landing in an intensifying downturn.

After a long period of solid growth, Turkey's economy contracted 1.1 per cent in the third quarter, and many economists expect it will enter into recession this year.

The country has been hit by high inflation and a currency crisis in August. The lira lost 28 per cent of its value against the dollar in 2018 and markets are still unconvinced by the readiness of the government under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to tackle underlying economic issues.

The villas close to the town centre of Mudurnu in the Bolu region are intended to resemble European architecture and are part of the Sarot Group's Burj Al Babas project.

But the development of 732 villas and a shopping centre - which began in 2014 - is now in limbo as Sarot Group has sought bankruptcy protection.

It is one of hundreds of Turkish companies that have done so as they seek cover from creditors and to restructure their debts.

Asian Cup 2019

Quarter-final

UAE v Australia, Friday, 8pm, Hazza bin Zayed Stadium, Al Ain

INDIA'S TOP INFLUENCERS

Bhuvan Bam
Instagram followers: 16.1 million
Bhuvan Bam is a 29-year-old comedian and actor from Delhi, who started out with YouTube channel, “BB Ki Vines” in 2015, which propelled the social media star into the limelight and made him sought-after among brands.
Kusha Kapila
Instagram followers: 3.1 million
Kusha Kapila is a fashion editor and actress, who has collaborated with brands including Google. She focuses on sharing light-hearted content and insights into her life as a rising celebrity.
Diipa Khosla
Instagram followers: 1.8 million
Diipa Khosla started out as a social media manager before branching out to become one of India's biggest fashion influencers, with collaborations including MAC Cosmetics.
Komal Pandey
Instagram followers: 1.8 million
Komal Pandey is a fashion influencer who has partnered with more than 100 brands, including Olay and smartphone brand Vivo India.
Nikhil Sharma
Instagram followers: 1.4 million
Nikhil Sharma from Mumbai began his online career through vlogs about his motorcycle trips. He has become a lifestyle influencer and has created his own clothing line.
Source: Hireinfluence, various

HIV on the rise in the region

A 2019 United Nations special analysis on Aids reveals 37 per cent of new HIV infections in the Mena region are from people injecting drugs.

New HIV infections have also risen by 29 per cent in western Europe and Asia, and by 7 per cent in Latin America, but declined elsewhere.

Egypt has shown the highest increase in recorded cases of HIV since 2010, up by 196 per cent.

Access to HIV testing, treatment and care in the region is well below the global average.  

Few statistics have been published on the number of cases in the UAE, although a UNAIDS report said 1.5 per cent of the prison population has the virus.

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others

INDIA SQUAD

Virat Kohli (capt), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Vijay Shankar, MS Dhoni (wk), Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami

About Seez

Company name/date started: Seez, set up in September 2015 and the app was released in August 2017  

Founder/CEO name(s): Tarek Kabrit, co-founder and chief executive, and Andrew Kabrit, co-founder and chief operating officer

Based in: Dubai, with operations also in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon 

Sector:  Search engine for car buying, selling and leasing

Size: (employees/revenue): 11; undisclosed

Stage of funding: $1.8 million in seed funding; followed by another $1.5m bridge round - in the process of closing Series A 

Investors: Wamda Capital, B&Y and Phoenician Funds 

Tonight's Chat on The National

Tonight's Chat is a series of online conversations on The National. The series features a diverse range of celebrities, politicians and business leaders from around the Arab world.

Tonight’s Chat host Ricardo Karam is a renowned author and broadcaster who has previously interviewed Bill Gates, Carlos Ghosn, Andre Agassi and the late Zaha Hadid, among others.

Intellectually curious and thought-provoking, Tonight’s Chat moves the conversation forward.

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In 2018, the ICRC received 27,756 trace requests in the Middle East alone. The global total was 45,507.

 

There are 139,018 global trace requests that have not been resolved yet, 55,672 of these are in the Middle East region.

 

More than 540,000 individuals approached the ICRC in the Middle East asking to be reunited with missing loved ones in 2018.

 

The total figure for the entire world was 654,000 in 2018.

Karwaan

Producer: Ronnie Screwvala

Director: Akarsh Khurana

Starring: Irrfan Khan, Dulquer Salmaan, Mithila Palkar

Rating: 4/5

The specs

Engine: three three 212.7kWh motors
Power: 1,000bhp
Torque: 15,600Nm
Range: 530km
Price: Dh500,000+ est
On sale: early 2023


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