DUBAI // A small slice of the desert lies hidden away from the bustle of the Dubai Shopping Festival, among the concrete of Festival City.
The Bedouin Lifestyle Camp on Festival Promenade has a bit of everything – sand, camels and Emiratis weaving traditional clothing.
For the whole of the festival, until February 3, shoppers can sample the region's food, clothes, handicrafts and heritage, with local music and dancing each night.
The UAE section of the camp sits alongside those of Yemen, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco, Kenya and India.
Visitors are welcomed by falconers and, once inside, local women offer tea and traditional Emirati food.
"It shows them a glimpse of the history and heritage of the place and the continuity that transformed us into the modern, civilised place that we are today," said Adel Misbah, planning manager at Dubai Events and Promotions Establishment, part of the Department of Economic Development.
Taha Al Musharafah, from the Jordanian section of the camp, says that traditionally the men focused on daily tasks such as herding livestock, building tents and hunting, while the women milked the animals and made cheese, laban and yogurt.
"They also have ingenious ways of cooking various dishes using the limited natural ingredients available in the harsh landscape the Bedouins inhabit," said Muaaz Al Maani, also from the Jordanian camp.
India's diverse landscapes and environment also include harsh desert.
Visitors can experience the life of that country's desert nomads.
"The lifestyle of Indian desert nomads does not differ much from the Bedouins of Arabia," said Mohan, from the Indian section.
"It is the circumstances and the environment that people live in which makes them adopt a particular lifestyle – such as making use of the animals around them, like the camels."