I’d spied the posters, but had found it hard to muster any enthusiasm from my friends about going to see Jumana: Secret Of The Desert. But, when my parents were in town, I reasoned they wouldn’t want to spend the night cutting shapes on the dance floor at Chi (or, rather, they might, but I wouldn’t want the embarrassment), and thought the ‘mystical tale of Arabian folklore’ would be a definite parent pleaser.
We followed the torch-lit path to the Al Sahra Desert Resort’s amphitheatre and the oldies paused for a ride around on the resident camel (no longer a novelty for me; it’s more common to ride a camel than a bike in this city, I’m sure you’ll agree). Fire jugglers, souk-style shops, a shisha café and a traditional Arabic buffet also helped while away the time before the show started.
We settled down (well, as much as we could settle on a backless stone bench) in the huge amphitheatre and looked on in awe. I apologise in advance for using a word usually spouted by faux-enthusiastic marketing types, but Jumana really is an ‘extravaganza’. Huge jets of water dart around the floating stage, lights and lasers project beautiful colours and images; fireworks pop, dancers prance and bend, and acrobats spin around and around in mid-air attached only to precarious pieces of ribbon.
It’s all too easy to brush off shows like Jumana as little more than tourist fodder (as my friends had done), but anticipating a week of sightseeing with my folks was a good excuse to give in to some guilty tourist pleasure. On paper, Jumana might read like an obvious tourist trap, but I can honestly say I’m glad I got caught.