Exploring Sharjah



Today I went exploring near my hotel.

The city of Sharjah is centred on a large lagoon, so almost everywhere are promenade waterfronts and high rises.

Next door to our hotel there is a public park full of palm trees, all in impeccable rows.

As I wandered in this garden, hopping from shady spot to shady spot to avoid the midday heat [along with many other napping shiftworkers and picnicking families], I caught glimpses of the far shore and the little island in the middle.

There was also a carnival or something being set up, as parts of the park were full of half-inflated bouncy castles, stacks of folding chairs, a Bedouin tent and a horse tied to a tree, lazily munching on grass.

I tried to take his picture. It didn’t go well.

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There are amazing little details I’m encountering on my first visit to a primarily Muslim country.

Our tour guide told me yesterday that there are over a thousand Mosques in Sharjah, of all shapes and sizes.

Looking out over the lagoon I could see dozens of domes and minarets dotted between skyscrapers.

Next to the park I came cross the stunning Al Noor, a beautiful Turkish style mosque commissioned by the Royal family.

I happened to be walking by at the lunchtime prayer service [Fridays are the equivalent of Christian Sundays in this faith]

The prayers were broadcast on tannoys from the roof. The steps and grassy nooks around the building were full of men bent in prayer.

It was rather beautiful, all these people joined in worship under palm trees.

Soon the closing prayer was called and everyone began to spill into the parking lots and park. A flood of people came out – chatting, ambling, texting.

It was a huge contrast to the solemnity that had been surrounding the place moments previously, but equally breathtaking.

There were families spanning three generations, all skipping hand-in-hand back to cars. There were wives and children waiting outside to greet fathers and friends. There were gangs of teenagers, gangly and hilarious.

It felt like a real community. It is also the first connection I’ve had to everyday people here – though I hope not the last.

While I’ve enjoyed the tourist sites and delegate programmes immensely, I often find seeing real people live their real lives is the most interesting part of a journey.

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Comments
One Response to “Exploring Sharjah”
  1. The city of Sharjah is one of the most wonderful cities of the world for tourists visiting because it has profound attraction attached to it

    Like

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