Sometimes it’s good to break the mould and get out of the city, and the emirate. Northeast of Dubai is Sharjah, a more traditional and conservative state. About a month ago the study abroads went there to visit some cultural museums, like the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization which houses coins from the Umayyad caliphate and a recent covering of the Ka’aba. There’s also the Sharjah Calligraphy Museum, but Krishna and I skipped out on that one to take an adventurous ride across a river on a dinky boat. Then we ate hummus.
We also visited the Blue Souk, but Krishna and I ended up wandering off again, where we came across a farmers’ market.
One day in Sharjah just wasn’t enough, so Krishna and I went back for round two, this time in the surrounding desert. Probably among the top three touristy things I’ve done here, this excursion was hilarious and surprisingly fun. We were picked up by a driver at our university who drove us two hours into the middle of nowhere, which was admittedly pretty sketchy. And then we hopped into another car which zipped off to the sands for dune bashing, which felt like a rough old-school wooden roller coaster ride to me and hanging from the precipice of death to another tourist, who was shouting exclamations of panic in Arabic. The camel ride later that night was a little boring in comparison.
While the traditional dancing and local food were good, the best part of the overnight desert safari was stargazing and sleeping in a worn out tent. Believe it or not stars are actually visible here once you’re outside city limits. And the sunrise the following morning was National Geographic worthy.
The city has been good to me, but it was fun to go back to my roots and camp in a more remote location. The peace and quiet at this makeshift B&B helped me get some much needed R&R. My time in Sharjah taught me to be adventurous and do the cheesy tourist things. Just make sure to bring along a street-smart friend who speaks Hindi.