Saturday, 14 April 2018

Ghosts In The Desert? Madam!

Blog posts are like London buses or policemen. You don't see one for two months and when whoosh along come thousands of the swine.

I found myself down the usual wormhole in the Internet the other day and discovered an odd location in a map when I was looking for something else entirely. It caught my eye as I scanned the area and I zoomed in again to check the distinct impression of a strange label flickering on the map.

I'd never seen it before and it was oddly fascinating.

Sure enough, it was there: 'Ghost town'.

I checked it on Google Maps, where it was labelled 'Madam old town'. We went there - to Madam old town or Madam ghost town, depending on which source you believe - today.

Just south of Madam, (I still can't say that without thinking about Frankie Howerd and his 'Ooh, madam!') you turn right off the road and head into the sands. And there you'll find this:

It's all protected by a sort of berm of sand humped up at the village entrance, you have to take something of a leap of faith and just drive up over it. The sand's pretty soft, what with so little rain this winter.

What is it? Why's it there? Was it really Madam before the road brought strip development to this little inhabited area of Sharjah made famous only because it was on the road to Hatta, now blocked to all but Omanis, Emiratis and permit holders? It looks like corpo housing. The sand's reclaimed it in the main. There are neon light fittings but no sign of power or other infrastructure.

All in all very odd. A little mystery...


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