Collecting Emirates

 

Four out of seven in two days.

 

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The unmistakeable skyline of Dubai was shimmering in the mist this morning.  Having been here before and not being enthusiastic purchasers of designer-goods, we opted for a short ride to Sharjah this morning.

 

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Apart from this rather grand roundabout with several official buildings around it (and the Quran on a large pedestal in the centre), Sharjah seemed to us to be a rather shabbier version of Dubai.  A little soulless, with huge apartment blocks and none of the sparkle and confidence associated with its neighbour, we were unsure how our morning would be filled.

 

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Half an hour at the heritage centre was quite interesting, with some nicely laid out room settings.  First question from me was, what’s the “hat” doing there?  Answer: it’s a food cover.

 

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A gentleman’s trunk with his wardrobe laid out inside

 

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and that of a lady, beautifully decorated inside and out.

 

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But we hadn’t been there long before our guide was shooing us right along to the souk next door.  Of course, we’ve spent so long in Thailand, Sri Lanka and India, these things don’t really hold much interest for us and we were soon champing at the bit, tired of saying “no thank you” and ready to move right along.

 

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There was, however, some delicious aromas coming from this sweet factory!

 

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Rather less sweet than those coming from our next stop – the fish market. 

 

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Actually the fish was very fresh and smelled good.  There was a huge quantity of every fish imaginable too and our first query was, will it all be sold?  Who knows?

 

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Some wonderful colours and I’m snapping away, much to the amusement of one of our friends, who is curious to know what on earth I’ll do with so many fishy photos!

 

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Leaving the fish market behind, we can’t quite believe that we’re to spend an hour in another souk – a gold souk this time.  We wander up and down aimlessly, hoping that a Starbucks will appear miraculously but sadly, it doesn’t.

 

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Our favourite memory to take away with us from Sharjah will be the glorious scent of this Neem tree.  Something akin to the scent of lilac, it was a lovely fresh note on a hot and sticky morning.

 

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This afternoon, I took advantage of the shuttle bus to the Dubai Mall and found it quite an interesting experience.  I was happy just to stroll around in the cool air, to watch families and children enjoy the attractions

 

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This huge aquarium was provoking a lot of attention – sorry about the reflections from the sweet shop on the opposite side.

 

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But how strange, to suddenly find myself in Waitrose!!  Weird.

 

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Though it was glitzy and full of everything one might dream about, I’d had enough really and decided I’d return to the ship on the next shuttle.

 

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As I did, I spotted this shop along there with all the other designer storefronts.  UK friends will understand why it made me smile!

 

Writing this, I can sense a weariness which may be because we’ve just packed our suitcases for our flight home tomorrow morning.  27 days and more than 2000 photographs later, we’re really more than ready for home.  It’s been a truly fantastic trip; most certainly one of the best, we both agree.  But, as always, we’ll settle for an elegant sufficiency!

A few Good Things

To Oman and back