Bedouins – The people who strum a chord in your heart!
Do you want to destress and rewind? Do you want to forget the strenuous monotony of meetings and events? Then head out for a unique sojourn with us. We are the Gulf Tours, the people who offer you an authentic gulf experience with a host of must-see places and activities on our itinerary. The Bedouin experience is the biggest draw and the highlight of our tours, which is guaranteed to ignite your curiosity the most.
Bedouins are the oldest inhabitants of the deserts of Arabia. They traditionally live in ‘Buryuuthajar’, which are tents made of goat hair. These tents are usually square or rectangular and stretched over a frame or supported by a single center pole. When you visit one such tent, you’ll be offered a thick, gritty coffee made from green coffee beans crushed in a brass mortar and spiced with cardamom. Coffee breaks are the primary social activity of Bedouins. Typically a guest has to accept three servings of the brew.
The Bedouin tribe were once fishermen and pearl divers. They were a dominant force contributing to the growth of culture and trade in the early days of the UAE. The iconic wooden dhow boats, now more commonly associated with the Emirati tradition, were originally a part of the Bedouins culture. Bedouins follow many customs and traditions. Marriage among close relations is widely prevalent, especially marriage among cousins. Most Bedouins belong to small tribes, where a Shiek is the head of the clan. A sheik may not have much muscle to back him but wields his power through the authority vested in him and through the preference of the tribe members.
When you come across Bedouins, you’ll find them to be resourceful and highly hospitable. Exhausted after a long day of driving, when you approach one of the Bedouin tents, someone would appear with some refreshing local coffee and mat for you to sit on. Yet they will never ask who you are or where you come from. This will make you wonder whether we have long forgotten such subtle human values.
Community dining is yet another revelation for you. The Bedouins are embarrassed by the habit of eating from your own individual plates. They say, “Eating together is the only way Bedouins know”. Though men have their own place and their own platter, women take up another area, while the children mostly share food with women. When the boys get older, they automatically join the group of men. If there are no guests, the Bedouins often eat together with their families from a single large platter.
You’ll notice that Bedouin men traditionally wear white cotton full-length long sleeve shirt, over which they have an ankle-length sleeveless robe, and a red tasseled sash around the waist. Some men have a unique dagger stashed into their waistband. You can also see them wearing camel hide sandals, ankle boots, or Western-style shoes. Women prefer dark-colored full –length dress and have a handkerchief stashed into the waistband.
The most intriguing aspect of Bedouin life for you would be to find out how they navigate themselves on the vast emptiness of the desert sands. They’ll tell you, “The slant of the sand dunes sculpted by the desert winds gives us a sense of direction.” They are adept at identifying human and animal tracks on the sand, pinpointing whether it belongs to a man, woman, child, or a particular animal. You will also find out that Bedouins lead a life of pride and simplicity in the desert, while they treat the environment they live in with tremendous respect. The camel is one animal that is central to and an integral part of their life. As a highly utilitarian animal, the camel is vital for their survival in such harsh conditions. Thus it is considered a gift from God.
If you ask Bedouins, whether the desert makes them feel powerful or powerless? They’ll always answer in unison, “Powerful’. The Bedouin people still love to live in traditional tents, though many have moved into cities and live in modern apartments. You’ll come to know that wherever they live, the Bedouins keep close ties with their nomadic kin, ardently speak the language, and practice the culture that exclusively identifies them.
Traditional pursuits like camel riding and camping in the desert are the most popular activities for these urbanized natives. It provides an inviting opportunity for them to experience their beloved deserts and sprawling wilderness that lie around them. If you are ready to drive into the desert, near Al Ain, you will likely run into some of the native Bedouin people camping in the area, where you’ll relish first hand their immense hospitality and lifestyle. Leaving an indelible medley of memories for you to cherish long after.