All posts by glimpsesofuae

Umm al Quwain Mangrove Forest

If you are like me and enjoy walking on a natural surface surrounded by nature, or if you enjoy bird-watching, this is a place for you. You can walk, cycle or drive the full length of the mangrove forest (approx. 9 km) And if you go on a weekday morning, you’re unlikely to meet anyone on your way. (Well, you might meet me!)

At either end of the forest, there are small beaches to sit and admire the view, watch out for local or migrating birds or just enjoy the peace away from city life. It’s a stop off point for many migrating birds and birds found living there include Western Reef Heron, Greater Flamingo, Crab Plover, Socotra Cormorant along with sandpipers, plovers, shrikes and many more. You might even be lucky enough to spot a Greater Spotted Eagle or a Kingfisher.

You can also enjoy the mangroves from the other side by renting a kayak or taking a kayak tour. There are tours of different lengths and at different times of day including sunset. You might see crabbers out and you can also join nighttime crabbing tours from the Flamingo Hotel.

Please note that swimming and fishing are strictly prohibited here.

The Governor’s Palace, Masafi

A little known treasure in Masafi is the Governor’s Palace not far from the fort. It lies within the Fujairah territory of Masafi and was home to Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad al Sharqi although it was more of a stopover when travelling to other parts and, like the fort, was of strategic importance.

It has been restored and is open to the public. Its setting amongst the mountains makes it a beautiful place to stop off en route to the cities, beaches or desert and the gardens at the front provide a perfect place to just sit on one of the benches and enjoy the peaceful surroundings.

Location: 25.3040719, 56.1625868

Entrance: free

An enclave in an exclave

If you have driven around the northern parts of the UAE, you will no doubt have noticed that you pass from one emirate into another and then suddenly back again or you may find yourself in an emirate you thought you were nowhere near.

UAE geography is clearly not straightforward. This goes back to territories owned by different ruling families before the birth of the UAE as well as gifts of land between the families and change of allegiance to rulers. And as in so many countries, there was also a British political officer involved in drafting territorial maps.

Ras al Khaimah has a northern and a southern region separated by a strip of Fujairah. Fujairah itself is separated by Sharjah. The emirate of Ajman has two enclaves, one inland, Manama, and one in the east, Masfoot, whilst Dubai has the enclave of Hatta in the east. To add to this, Oman has a few enclaves within the UAE.

Sharjah is probably the most interesting and most scattered emirate. The main part stretches from the city of Sharjah into the central region which includes Dhaid, Madam, Maleha and many other small towns and villages.

On the east coast, the small enclave of Dibba al Hisn is sandwiched between Dibba Fujairah and Dibba Oman. As you continue your journey down the east coast you chop and change between territories, starting in Oman (the enclave of Musandam) then passing through Sharjah (Dibba al Hisn) then Fujairah, then Sharjah again (Khor Fakkan) then Fujairah, then back to Sharjah ( Kalba) before finally going back to Oman. Dibba, Khor Fakkan, Kalba and Wadi al Helou (a mountainous region to the west of Kalba) are known as the Eastern Region.

The most fascinating of these must surely be the tiny enclave of Nahwa which is situated inside the Omani exclave of Madha. Madha is bordered by Sharjah (Khor Fakkan), Fujairah and Ras al Khaimah and has a population of around 3000. Apart from the area of new Madha, it is mountainous territory with numerous beautiful oases scattered through it.

Madha became part of Oman around 80 years ago when its people chose to align themselves with the Omani Sultan rather than the leaders of RAK, Fujairah or Sharjah as they believed at that time that Oman could help them more.

Nahwa covers an area of just 75km² and contains a tiny village made up of new Nahwa and old Nahwa. It consists of fewer than a hundred houses, a police station with a fire and ambulance service, a health centre, a primary school, a sports centre, a small play park, a grocery and several farms. It is governed and serviced by the municipality of Khor Fakkan.

If you haven’t visited any of these places yet, it’s time to get your map out and start exploring!

And a few photos from Madha.

Sharjah Light Festival at University City

There are four locations for the Light Festival at University City. Drive down the main avenue through the City where the palms are all lit up and stop to watch the Sound and Light Show at Sharjah Police College. Next head down to al Dr Sultan al Qasimi Centre for Gulf Studies and finally drive or walk up to City Hall to watch another show. Then you can enjoy something to eat or drink from the food trucks opposite.

Have fun!

#SharjahLightFestival

 

Old Souqs in Sharjah

Have you visited the old souqs in Sharjah? If you love searching for old treasures and you love retro, Souq al Masqoof is for you. You can find old telephones, gramophone players, typewriters, cameras, memorabilia, toys as well as some traditional items and shawls, etc. There is also an Omani sweet shop.

Take a walk through the alley to Souq al Arsa for yet more interesting finds – old Omani jewellery, gemstones, daggers, warrior helmets. Here you can also find shawls, scarves, dresses, etc.

Have a cup of chai in the traditional tea shop before going off to explore the many museums in the Heart of Sharjah.

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Just a little further down the corniche is the newly built Al Shanasiyah Souq. It is on the site of the original Al Shanasiyah Souq, the foundations of which were discovered in 2012 during a survey of the area for the development of the Heart of Sharjah.

This Souq was the original centre of Sharjah business and was a main trading centre in the region at the time.

Stop by the Archeological Findings section to read more and to see the original foundations and coins, pottery pieces, etc that were discovered from different times.

Inside you can find a variety of shops including clothing, more retro and an organic spice shop.

Once you’ve finished wandering round, you can relax and enjoy some refreshments overlooking the gardens and the traditional dhows on the water. There is a children’s play area next to the cafes. (You need to buy a ticket for this inside the souq.)

Have fun!

To know more about what to see and do in Sharjah, follow Why I Love Sharjah

Rock formations around Taween

If you are mesmerised by rock formations like me, head out to Taween on the Dibba Rd E87. Take the turn off to Taween on the side of the road coming from Dibba.

(If you enter 25.5307729,56.1166536, it will take you roughly to the start of the road.)

You can follow the road round to take you back out onto the E87.

The rocks here are all part of the Dibba Zone and if you’re interested in geology, you can read more here.

The Ajman Murals Project

In 2017 The Ajman Murals Project was launched by Ajman Municipality and Planning Department. They can be found at various locations around Ajman, but all in close proximity.

By French artist Shuck2.

Location – above Choithram’s supermarket, Sheikh Rashid bin Humaid St.

By French Tunisian artist El Saeed.

This mural includes a quote of the Founding Father of the UAE, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al Nahyan  – “Our fathers and grandfathers have lived on this land and co-existed with its environment in land and sea, and realised, through nature and by delicate senses, the need to preserve and to take only as much as they needed, and to leave what future generations will find as a source of good and a fountain of giving.”

Location – junction of Ittihad St and Badr St

By Egyptian Dubai-born artist Ramy Elzaghawy.

Skip, one of the most famous horses of Ajman Stud.

Location – Sheikh Rashid bin Humaid St., near the junction with Al Zaher St

By Egyptian Dubai-born artist Diaa Allam.

This mural contains words form the poem Positive Energy written by the Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Location – Mohammed Salem bu Khamis St.

By Sweden-based Julia Rio.

Location – Ajman Corniche.

By Emirati artist Fatima Al Ali.

Location – Ajman Municipality Building next to Lulu Hypermarket.

See more at the following links.

http://wam.ae/en/details/1395302622439

https://www.khaleejtimes.com/news/general/marvellous-murals-beckon-visitors-to-ajman

Talking about family

  • Father – ab
    Mother – oom
    Children – awlad, iyaal
    Son – walad (plural. awlad)
    Daughter – bint (pl. banaat/banayat)
    Brother – akh
    Daughter – ukht
    Paternal uncle – 3am (3 represents the guttural sound of the letter ayn)
    Paternal aunt – 3amma
    Maternal uncle – khaal
    Maternal aunt – khaala/khaalu
    Husband – zawj/rai-ali
    Wife- zawja/hurma

The word iyaal is used locally for children (as in offspring) but if a man says iyaali, it could include his wife or might even be just his wife. In conservative cultures, men often don’t refer to their wives to people outside the family and so if he says ‘I went on a trip with iyaali’ it may mean he went with his children, his children and his wife or just his wife.

  • How many children do you have? – Kam awlad 3andak (3andich for female)?
    I have one daughter – 3andi bint wahda
    I have one son – 3andi walad wahid
    I have five children – 3andi khams awlad
  • Two daughters – bintayn
    Three/four/five daughters – thalath/3arba/khams banaat
    Two sons – waladayn
    Three/four/five sons – thalath/3arba/khams awlad