Monday, February 23, 2015

A Piece of Europe in the Heart of Sharjah

Elegance at its finest. This is how I can describe the place that Glacie and I had visited last night to unwind our minds. Ladies and Gents, we just found a new place to hang out whenever our feet feel itchy. A piece of Europe in the heart of downtown Sharjah, particularly in Al Qasba is the coolest place I have seen around  our area, so far.

In my viewpoint, the nearness or farness of a place depend on an individual’s perception of distance and the surrounding circumstances as well. Al Qasba for me is a walking distance from our humble dwelling in Al Qasimia but for my wife, it’s far from being a walking distance. She has to pardon me for that because I suffer from a disease called ambulophilia (excessive love of walking) :P From our home, we walked to Corniche park. Al Qasba is notable for having the Eye of the Emirates, a famous landmark that stands 200 feet tall. Like the tower of Babel, the Eye of the Emirates is visible at any point in Cornich so you won’t be lost when you feel like walking to Al Qasba.

Following the tiled pavements of Corniche park, we marched our feet to where the Eye of the Emirates is standing. A chilling 18 degrees centigrade temperature coincided with intermittent blow of strong north-westerly wind made our stroll worth it for me. After walking 2 kilometers and passing under 2 bridges, at long last, sigh of relief.  

This place in Al Qasba looks like a tiny city of Rome or Paris within the city of Sharjah. Glowing with lights, there are two great buildings in classic European architecture standing grandly and facing each other. I think those buildings house the Central Souk, Maraya Art Center, and the Bajeel Art foundation. The first floor of each building houses a line of classy restaurants and stores where you can find delectable and scrumptious cuisines of different countries.

In between the buildings is the Al Qasba canal where small boats pass occasionally creating a wavy effect in the water. It reminds me of a European canal. On both sides of the canal are tiled pavements lined with ornamental plants and trees, cafes, and food stalls. Connecting both sides is a beautiful European bridge made of concrete and wood.

Our long walk made our stomach growl so our gastric juices brought us to Nando’s; a Portuguese restaurant that boasts its specialty called “peri-peri”. Peri-peri is a sauce made from lemon juice, garlic, and chili and is a main ingredient of its foods. Glacie and I ordered their creamy chicken soup (soup of the day) with bread and butter, ½ roasted chicken with pita bread, and a bottomless soft drink. 

The chicken soup that came with bread tasted creamy with a bit of sour kick which I guess came from the lemon juice. The creamy taste of the soup was perfect with every bite of the bread with butter filling. We liked the chicken very much; I could say that it’s a tastier version of Philippine roasted chicken. The meat was so tender and the skin was a little crispy. My wife wanted to order another platter of chicken but our lipocytes prevented us to do so.        

Cleaning time!

"Oh so strong, oh so yummy"

Pardon my coffee addiction but truly, coffee complements my every meal and it has always been my priority whenever I go somewhere so my wife and I bought Turkish coffee at an ice cream stand right outside Nando’s. Turkish coffee has a strong flavor that I like. I ordered one small cup for me. Sipping a cup of steamy coffee with my loved one in an extremely romantic place in the cold, cold night gives me the feeling no words can describe.    

Saturday, February 21, 2015

A Walk Around the Globe

What can be more exciting than walking in your feet around the Globe, visiting and appreciating each country’s native products and culture, and meeting its people? A walk inside the Dubai Global Village, may do. Isolated from the towering skyscrapers of gleaming Dubai, Global Village is likely located right in the middle of the desert. I’m not pretty sure if there is any bus fleet running around the area but the fact that it’s not-so-easy to reach, one can find a private vehicle or a cab convenient to be taken along.

One can hardly feel the sense of enjoyment when strolling in solitude so together with our friends kuya Kiko and ate Mercy, and my brother-in-law Pen, my wife and I fled from the mediocre Sharjah to the sparkling Global Village. As we parked the car, first thing that caught my eyes is the enormous ferris wheel with its colorful lights attraction installed on its spokes showcasing the waving UAE flag and a world map with all its effects. We bought entrance tickets and readied our feet for a seemingly long journey to the world.

First off: India. India’s edifice occupies the biggest space in the village. Inside are stalls offering Indian products like clothing, jewelries, sweets, and other household ornaments and products, but one thing that really caught my attention is the vintage gramophone. Everyone knows I’m damn crazy over vintage thingies but that I was penniless. Nice thing about me, I’m very much oriented by the Tagalog saying, “Habang maikli ang kumot, matutong mamaluktot”  and that’s all there is to it.

The concept of “selfie” justifies the reason why monopod is invented. Using Kuya Kiko’s ever reliable monopod, we were able to take groupies with every country’s edifice as the background. Some countries’ interiors impressed me like those of Iran, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, and other middle-eastern countries. However, I got cheesed off for Cambodia, Italy, and the Philippines. they weren't that nice.

After about two hours of walking, we felt hungers pangs in anticipation of the late dinner so we had to find the fast food store known to us; Kentucky Fried Chicken. I can say that the foods there were tasty so they were all consumed with justice. One instance that is so memorable there when an African-looking crew called the costumer numbered 26 to claim the ordered foods. From time to time he yelled “number 26” and nobody cares. The oft-repeated “number 26” has been the“last number syndrome” (in relation to “LSS”) of my wife and brother-in-law until this present time.

It was my first time to visit the Global village and I can say that the trip was worth it.  With the kindness and generosity of kuya Kiko and ate Mercy, our trips have always been so enjoyable.