ABU DHABI // Amid the weaponry and falcons on display at the eighth Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition, which opens today, stand two gold-plated dune buggies, fully equipped with ostrich-leather seats and plasma-screen televisions. The custom-built safari vehicles, one of which is named "Royal Beast", are equipped with remote-controlled scissor doors, similar to those on a Lamborghini.
The "Golden Edition" Beast comes with black, red and yellow paint sprayed over some of its gold-coated plates, and is equipped with a high-intensity light bar above the windscreen and an eight-speaker stereo sound system. An informational sign on the floor near the vehicles states that it took two years to build the Beast, and that there is only one more in existence. However, it was not immediately clear to the exhibition's organisers who the sellers are, who built them or how much they will cost to buy. The buggies were parked among about a dozen all-terrain vehicles on sale at the show.
Organisers say the four-day event at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre is the largest of its kind in the world. In the centre's halls, more than 600 vendors will be selling, among other items, falconry, equestrian, camping, hunting and fishing equipment. Officials are hoping to attract more than 100,000 visitors to the show. A highlight of the exhibition this year will be the World Arabian Horse Racing Conference, which will include a panel on the breeding of the horse.
To add to the spectacle, there will be an Arabic coffee brewing competition and beauty contests for salukis and Arabian horses, as well as camel auctions. Marine and animal life from Al Ain Zoo will also be featured. One company, Miniature Arsenal, a Moscow-based company that makes exactly that, will be showing its wares for the first time outside of Russia. The firm's tiny weapons include replicas of the Abu Dhabi-made Caracal F pistol.
Because of the size of the event, the exhibition space this year has been increased by a quarter, to more than 30,000 square metres. Mohammed Khalaf al Mazrouei, the chairman of the event's organising committee, said the show served "to reinforce the extensive efforts that have been made by both the emirate of Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates to preserve the rich heritage of the region". email@example.com What are you looking forward to at Adihex this week? Tell us at www.thenational.ae/yourview