Wild wadi rising: another adventure in learning strategy through experience

This past Tuesday I experienced something that only comes around once every few years, and when it does come it is unpredictable and awe inspiring - a wadi flooding with water runoff from the mountains after a flash rainstorm that dumped more rain in a half an hour than the UAE gets in some years!

My Strategy/Capstone (basically the same group of graduating students) classes were on a field trip to the Hatta region of the UAE - it was organised by "The Hatta Group" as part of their eco-tourism development project (another blog post to come after their final report).

We started out at the Azba of one of the students - a true paradise in the valley of the Hatta mountains. We ended the day at the Azba to eat a meal prepared by Emiratis from at least four Emiratis, working together, improvising, dealing with somewhat stressful situations, critical thinking and all the while wondering, why don't more people visit this beautiful region only 90 minutes from Dubai (some real opportunities for eco-tourism SMEs).

As befitting my students from Hatta, who prefer experiential learning and "doing" to books and boring ppt slides (I was told I did not need to eat part of the lamb's tongue as I can talk too easily already!) I will explain the story through photos and a truly awe inspiring video. (I sound dorky, but really it is worth my own embarrassment to post it)

I felt like I was in Africa, not the UAE!

Traditional Hatta breakfast for guests - soooooo delicious (and the date and bread dish needs to be made into energy bars!)

Miss, you need some exercise and there are fig trees and plants to see!

Walking down was not easier... but totally worth it!

A delicious wild plant, sort of tastes lemony...

Huge pomegranate tree!

Dates soaking up all the rain we have had in April. 
After a bit of an off road adventure, arriving at the wadi - the water is cool on the feet

Preparing the fire to cook lunch - totally old school except for that fire torch thing!

Cleaning the meat

These flowering trees grow along the wadi - they smell awesome!

The water just seemed to disappear into the rocks, but the ground was solid - mystery!

After a few culinary disagreements - it smells delicious

S. Al Shehhi "I smell a wadi coming" - Dr. Connie "Whatever!"  From hot sun to clouds and thunder and lighting (Saif, you were right and I was totally wrong!!! I am sorry :))

A few drops turns into more - we race for the vehicles, we will come back for the lunch 

Harder and harder rain - ah, yeah, let's get to high ground!

Water started to run from the mountains into little brown streams

As we get to higher ground, people come to see if the wadi will rise!

Rain... lots of it!

Let's head back (we seem to be missing on truck FULL of students)

We found them getting ready to see the wadi... we stayed and watched

From a dry "road" to a rushing river in less than an hour!

Water everywhere!

Luckily the last 4x4 rescued lunch! It had finished cooking in the back of the truck and we ate like royalty!

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