I promised I'd tell you about our alernative new year's eve plans so here goes:
We ended up on a farm in Sweihan! How did that happen? Well, our friend's mom knows the guy who owns the farm, and knowing he was out of town, she asked if it was OK if we spent our New Year's there. The guy said OK, so we hit the road at around 5PM yesterday.
Sweihan is around 111 km away from Abu Dhabi, and we were excited at the prospect of discovering a new part of the UAE. We arrived at the farm at around 6:30, and my first thought was: "hmm...interesting". The house on the farm was rather old, with a couple of rooms with minimal (old) furniture, another room with a hole in the ground (the bathroom), and I think there might have been some sort of a kitchen, but I did not wish to venture any further. The house did have a nice, outdoor tent (Arabic-style, with cushions on the sand), so we set up some tables right next to the tent.
I believe that you can have fun anywhere, as long as you are with friends, and that was in fact the case yesterday. We were 14 people, we had some good music, some booze, enough food to feed a small army, and an amazing starry sky.
As soon as we rang in the new year, some people started falling asleep in sleeping bags inside the tent (I guess it's a sign that we're getting old when we can't stay awake past midnight!). I managed to stay up till around 3:30AM, then decided to hit the sack even though I was not extremely sleepy. It was very cold, and we were all bundled up in sweaters, windbreakers, socks, and covered up to our noses (my nose was the one thing I could not keep warm last night!).
At 5:30 AM my brother wakes me up (I had managed to doze on and off) telling me that my sister was not feeling too great, she could not stop shivering. So we decide to head home, leaving the others sleeping (a couple of friends were still awake). The thermometer in my brother's car indicated 11 degrees celcius. No wonder we were freezing! We got home at around 6:30 AM, took warm showers and went to bed. I definitely did not get enough sleep, I was up by 12PM!
Overall, it was a nice, different experience. It also made me want to discover more areas in the UAE...I have lived here for almost 15 years now, and I used to come back at least twice a year during my 10 year absence, and we have never really ventured anywhere other than Abu Dhabi and Dubai (I did visit Khor Fakan and Al Ain a long long time ago, I must have been around 8 or 9, but it doesn't count). So hopefully, this year, we'll try to be more adventurous in our travels around the UAE.