Tag: Sharjah

Sport – UAE style

A relaxing contrast to high profile events in the UK

During March I was working in the UAE, and there in the hotel where I was staying in Sharjah were the Pakistan cricket first team, and the English Lions representing England and Wales.

Pakistani cricket team

The weather was lovely with temperatures in the mid 70`s during the day. It was interesting to watch the players of each team, relaxing, but really using this time to prepare for the season, running round the lagoon, and getting fit. There were no raised voices, or bad behaviour, in fact quite the opposite, and each team came into the eating area well dressed, quietly enjoying the week.

There were several matches starting in Sharjah at the old cricket ground. No posters, no large crowds, just a few people like myself who had heard about the games and who had wandered along to find a bench  and sit and watch a 20/20 match without the big coverage and hullabaloo which will come later in the year.

One lovely six went flying over the stands and later a young boy came proudly back with the ball which he had found the other side of a main road, stuck in the sand.

The teams later moved on to Abu Dhabi some 70 miles along the coast to play in the new stadium and ground. This, like the new world-class Formula 1 racing circuit is brand new, and full of bright lights and modern style.

Venus Williams

Dubai in between Sharjah and Abu Dhabi likes to host sport during this time of the year, and just as with the cricket, tennis has a big following, with all the big names appearing in the small stadium near the airport in Dubai.

One evening I was watching Venus Williams play, and in the quiet of the late evening, and the general quiet of the match it was interesting to hear the chanting from the minaret as prayer time came.

If you want a winter break, and enjoy cricket motor racing, tennis, or golf you could do worse than stop off in the UAE to relax and enjoy your time.

By Bob Derham

The New Year’s Day walk

A walk in two continents.

For many years it’s been traditional for me and the family to take a walk on New Year’s Day.  But this time, without me, my wife and family back in the UK decided to go to Stonehenge for a walk, on a cold crisp day.

Why ‘back in the UK’? Because I was in Sharjah, one of the seven emirates in the UAE.

When here I always stay in one of the original hotels of the country, built on the edge of the corniche.  As the day was warm and bright I decided to vary my walk.

Instead of going some 5kms round the lagoon, I made my way towards the area where the shops are mostly run by Indian people. For many years their influence has been very strong, indeed the rupee was used as currency until not long ago.

Arab dhow

It didn’t take long to leave the main area that is regularly seen and head down towards the old port where the Dhows are moored. There is an ancient feel to this area, and the water front is full of activity.

There was one man who had been unloading coal from his boat onto the quay side. You could hardly see his features until he smiled. All along there were people onboard their various craft, none of which really looked seaworthy, but which obviously make a regular and long journey to India.

The pathway was broken, and the occasional cat appeared from a rubbish bin. I made my way past the open market where animals are sold. Nothing is hidden here ! It was prayer time, and from many different minarets came the sound of the chanting. There was a lot of dirt and rubbish, uneven walk areas, and tatty shops. All with quite an East African feel. I passed a selection of tents where many plants and flowers were for sale; no garden centre as we have come to expect in England.

I finally worked my way down to the fish market, and was amazed at the white covering to the broken pathway, which turned out to be made up entirely of fish scales.

The next part of the walk was back towards the lagoon where directly in front of me was the Burj Dubai, which has taken

The Burj Dubai

just over 5 years to build, and measures 2684 feet. It is due to open this week, and if you want some office space, the cost is $4000 per square foot. The contrast from such back street filth to the glitter of the world’s tallest building separated by only a few miles brought home the stark contrast of what for most people is reality, and the unreal.

Sadly the amount of rubbish in all its forms is a huge problem, but I did smile when I saw one fisherman improvising, for instead of a float on the end of his line he was using the upturned remains of an old plastic bottle, but it did work!

Nobody bothered me, and I was quite happy taking in the sights and smells, and lost in my own thoughts, amazed that if you smiled and caught somebody’s gaze they would likely wish you Happy New Year.

By Bob Derham