Thursday, February 10, 2011

Al Reef kids

I was out walking Milo tonight and just thought how great it was to see kids playing in the street at 8.30pm when it is dark (except for street lighting of course). I would guess they were between say 7 & 10, running up and down the road, playing on their little bikes and one had a little dog on a lead. The builders had left a pile of sand and they were all jumping and digging in it. Brilliant!

Some moany old so-and-sos might say it is irresponsible to leave them out on their own, but I say good on 'em! It reminded me so much of my own childhood, when back in the 70s in the UK similar scenes would have been seen up and down the country. Not so any more and I for one think it is sad.

In my early years when I was really quite little (maybe 5 or 6) we lived in a neighbourhood that was still under construction (Grove Hill, Hemel Hempstead) and I can remember playing on building sites - and I mean climbing up onto scaffolding and climbing up 1 or 2 stories! They would deliver the triangular timber roof frames and pile them up on top of each other and we would have great fun climbing up and into them. And like the kids on Al Reef, we jumped and dug into piles on sand. Behind all the construction were corn fields. We would walk into the fields and walk for ages in corn that was taller than we were! - finding our way back by following our tracks.

I tried as much as possible to give freedom to my kids as they grew up; letting them walk to the shops, playing out front etc. , but society still kind out frowns on you in the UK (and in other places) if you give kids too much freedom.

I'm a big believer (and I think the facts back me up), that in the UK the crime rates on child abduction are pretty much constant when looked at over the last 30-40 years and too much scare mongering goes on because of high profile cases like Madeleine McCann. As sad as these cases are, it still remains a fact that these sort of cases are very, very rare (and course in the UAE the incidence is even lower), and should we make significant behavioral changes because of these very rare events?

Well I don't think so and so I say to the parents of kids on Al Reef - keep on letting your kids out to play, let them enjoy their childhood.


  1. I agree that kids need to be outside more and away from the t.v., video, computer. With weather like we have right now in February, it is an ideal time. Kids don't do enough outdoor activities here and that is a shame.

    Good topic to bring up.

  2. I recall as a child in North America, we spent most of our time outdoors playing all sorts of sports...we would look for any excuse to play outside and this was only about 15 years ago. Now if I were to look outside my house I don't see a single child playing outside. It's sad to see what modern technology has done to the youth generation of today.

  3. In my youth, I would leave the house after breakfast, meet up with my buddies and spend the day climbing trees, flying kites, fishing, playing army and exploring the woods. Those were good times. The only parental rule was to come back home when the street lights came on.

    I fear that todays kids will never experience a "simple childhood" such as I had. Things have changed and not for the much for "progress".

  4. Hey Neil, love the blog. I am in the process of moving to Abu Dhabi and have been recommended Al Reef as a place to live. So, would be great to have a chat sometime to get your thoughts.
    Best wishes,
    Simon Warr (!!!)

  5. Are you kidding me!!?? Mail me now! :-)

    ... although I am leaving tonight for a trip to Kuala Lumpur and Singapore - so won't be back until Friday....

    Let me know how I can get in touch... you got Skype?


  6. Hey,

    we are moving to Abu Dhabi and we are looking at Al Reef & Al Raha. We have two yound kids and what you describe is exactly what I want. I know I am writing this a year after this post. But would love to hear where you think would be a good place to live with kids in Abu Dhabi would be. We are moving out from Dublin & my husband will be working for Ethidad. Thanks jenny

  7. Hey Anon... good to catch up with you on email now... good luck with your move!

  8. Hi Neil
    Great Blog!
    Myself and hubbie are moving to Abu Dhabi from Ireland. His flight is this coming Wednesday and I'm to follow!( hopefully soon as I get a job! ) It's very exciting. We are deciding between Abu Dhabi and Dubai as I will more than likely find work in Dubai and it there is a little more choice as regards accommodation. We have a dog called Nala ( a golden retriever) and will be bringing her over when it cools down . Do you think Abu Dhabi is better for a dog than Dubai? she is used to living beside the sea and letting her off the lead which I know is a bit of a no no over there but what is Al Reef like for dogs? Would just love some info. We are in our early 30's also so not sure if Abu over Dubai is the place for us!! Thanks! Sarah

    1. Sarah,

      Glad you enjoy the blog! If you want to email me, it may be better to respond to you. You can get me on