Friday 15 November 2019


Al Hisn Sharjah

Here it is, folks, the news you've all been waiting for. We're going to find out what's happening in the Cultured Emirate - Sharjah!!!

#SharjahSaturday started on Twitter as a result of my infamous rant about the fact that the Emirates is packed with things to do, places to go, stuff to see and an amazingly rich culture, heritage and diversity of locations. I'm still finding new stuff after over 32 years here and simply can't understand anyone sitting on their hands (particularly, not that I'm nagging, you understand, in Dubai) and moaning that there's nothing to do here - or that there's no depth, no culture, no bla bla bla.

So here's the skinny. On Saturday the 7th December, we're going to go to Sharjah (I'm cheating, I'll already be there) and we're going to spend the day together having fun. And then in the evening, decent folk can go home or perhaps find a restaurant for dinner while the naughty kids are going to go to Ajman and play. Not too hard, it's a school night, but enough to see some of what's there.

As anyone wot remembers the joys of GeekFest will recall, I have an instinctive horror of organisation. So #SharjahSaturday is UNorganised. You're welcome to come along for the whole thing, drop in at one or another of the destinations or just pop by and say 'Hi', as you please. The idea is that if you follow the hashtag, #SharjahSaturday you can see where we've got to and what we're doing.

The idea's to get a taste for what's there, so we're not necessarily hanging around and wringing the last ounce out of each location - we're finding them, taking a wander around and moving on! If people like, I'll play tour guide and share some of the history and pageantry of Sharjah's more than colouful past - and if not, I'll happily shut up!

Please note, in the nicest possible way, it doesn't matter to me if 6 or 60 turn up so don't go feeling obligated to confirm or whatever. If it works out for you on the day, it'll be lovely to see you. If not, you can follow the hashtag and have a vicarious day out!!!

Do feel free to bring the kids, BTW...

The Plan 

Meet at Jones The Grocer, Flag Island.
Here we gather, do coffee and stuff before heading at around 9.45 to Mahatta Fort, via Al Hisn Sharjah.

Mahatta Fort
This delightful little museum celebrates the first airport in the Emirates, built in 1932 by the Ruler of Sharjah to house travellers on the Empire Route from Croydon to Australia on enormous Handley Page HP42 biplanes - 18 of them on a full flight! At about 10.30 we're going to head for Arabia's Wildlife Centre.

Arabia's Wildlife Centre
Just off the Sharjah/Dhaid highway, you'll find this gem - the Sharjah Natural History Museum, the Islamic Garden, a petting zoo and Arabia's Wildlife Centre, a zoo designed so that - in part - the humans are caged and the animals are free outdoors. I met its designer once and she, a fervent environmentalist, was delighted by that. At around 12.30 we'll head back into town, passing by the Discovery Centre and Sharjah Car Museum.

Lunch at Fen Café
So funky it'll make your knee joints ache, Fen is Sharjah's home grown art cafe, a vision in smoothed concrete and chilled out ambience with a good dose of hipster menu and a chocolate cake that sits somewhere above lead on the periodic table.

Heart of Sharjah
We'll take a wander through the Heart of Sharjah, the Bait Al Naboodah and the Souk Al Shanasiyah to reach Rain Room at around 3-3.30ish. Those folks who actually want to experience the amazing sensation of walking through a rain shower in a dark cavern without actually getting wet will have to book for themselves. Visits are every 15 minutes for groups of no more than 6 and you book online here.

Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilisation 
A rather wonderful collection of Islamic innovation, history and artefacts housed in what used to be a not terribly successful souq but which is now a thoroughly successful museum!

Al Hisn Sharjah/Souq Al Arsah/Coffee at Al Bait Hotel
Sharjah Fort was totally and faithfully rebuilt by the current Ruler of Sharjah after its almost total destruction in the late 1960s. The Souq Al Arsah backs the uber-luxurious, Chedi-run Al Bait Hotel, a Dhs 27 million conversion of three traditional old merchants' houses in the centre of Sharjah into a hotel that is so gorgeous it makes Pat Mustard look unattractive.

Wave goodbyes/head for Ajman

Sounds like fun? Join us at Jones at 9am on Saturday the 7th December, then!

1 comment:

Rupert Neil Bumfrey said...

I wish you every success with this venture!

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