Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Hands Off Sharjah!

Cultural Palace, Sharjah
Cultural Palace, Sharjah (Photo credit: gordontour)
Friends from Dubai made The Great Journey North and visited us many, many years ago. Arriving, they amusedly reported their eldest daughter's reaction as they crossed the border into Mordor, leaving behind the wonders of Dubai - "Oh, but Daddy, Sharjah's so very dirty!"

Years later she came to intern for me and I actually forgot to make her suffer. I'll get her next time.

Why is it that the people of Dubai so dismiss The Cultured Emirate? What is it quite that makes them look down their noses at their neighbours? This was brought to mind the other day when someone on an  expat forum kindly linked to this blog. A person was new to the UAE and was asking about Sharjah - oh, the outpouring of denigration and disgust!

Sharjah is just like Saudi, it's backward, it lacks the facilities and finesse of Dubai - on and on they go. I've lived there for nigh on twenty years now and can't say I've ever found the need to 'move to civilisation'. Not for us life in the noise of the approach to Dubai International or the power cuts and parking space denial of vengeful developers. Sharjah has long been home and there's nothing wrong with it. Sure, it's not Croydon (The Telegraph, many years ago, memorably and sniffily dubbed Jumeirah 'The Croydon of the Middle East') but then we never signed up to live in Croydon. It's the fact Sharjah is foreign makes it more fun to live in.

What about the hooch? You can drink at home or go to The Wanderers Club. What about the traffic? We drive around it. What about the strictness? It's more than balanced by tolerance. And you might like to consider how many 'banged up boozy Brit' stories have graced The Sun from Sharjah in recent years - the answer's none.

And if we want gleaming marble-floored shopping malls packed with cookie-cutter global brand chainstores, over-priced restaurants in fake souks and 'lifestyle walks', we know where we can find 'em - conveniently down the road so we can visit when we want but don't have to live with 'em on our doorstep.

Here's to Sharjah and all that's in it!
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Luke said...

Having grown up in Croydon, I am struggling to see the similarities with Jumeirah. Or do they intend to build a Whitgift Centre on the Beach Road?

jnana said...

Hats off :) Sharjah for the win!

Grumpy Goat said...

The Goat is regularly surprised by those comments from Dubai residents to the effect that Sharjah has a monopoly on traffic chaos.

Sure, there are desperate problems, but have these Sharjah-denigrators donned blinkers so they can't see Karama in the early evening? Have they never attempted to drive through Satwa?

Precious de Leon said...

I agree with you! I suffered through a lot of traffic when I lived in Sharjah though. But I love the parks and enjoyed going to Al Qasba during the cooler months. I haven't been to Sharjah for a while now but I hear the Majaz park is really looking good now...

Nick said...

Given the choice to live and work in Sharjah or Dubai after having experienced both. I chose Sharjah, and have not regreted it. And if feel the urge to be part of the hoi polloi, Dubai is just down the road.

click here said...

Sharjah or Dubai both of them very beautiful .I have not been Sharjha for while now but I hear the Majaz park is really looking beautiful and so impressive place ment.

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