This week we only taught from Sunday until Wednesday because of the Islamic Hajiri New Year. So, Scott and I decided to leave from our School in Nahel and drive two hours north west to the third largest city in the Emirates – Sharjah! On our way, let’s just say we got a little lost:

There were two thoughts that crossed my mind as we drove to the top of this hill and saw the path that led before us: 1) we are certainly lost and 2) darn it! why don’t we have a jeep wrangler yet!!!!! lol. So we turned around and after only ten minutes found the road we needed to be on. We stayed at the Rotana Hotel in Sharjah – we had great views. Sharjah is actually just next to Dubai and so we could see in the Burj Khalifa in the distance (it was hard to capture on camera)

After two hours of driving, a day of teaching, and feeling really really lazy we decided to just order room service. We got the curry of the day and it was delicious!! While waiting for the room service we discovered this:

Now I don’t see why locating the hairdryer in the desk drawer in more convenient nor more comfortable for me but it did give us a good laugh. So after a restful night we decided to explore the city of Sharjah. Sharjah is known for its museums and while we were there the International Book Fair was being held at the Sharjah Expo Center! So we ended up going to three museums, the central souk, the book fair and Al Qasba (a waterfront area) all in one day!! Here are the pictures . . .

We started the morning at 8:30 at the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization. This museum is located in the beautiful building you see below which was once an old souk. The inside is really gorgeous.

This exhibit was all about religious calligraphy – each piece was so intricate and beautiful

This beautiful dome is on the third floor of the museum

We really learned a lot at this museum about the history of the middle east and about Islam. If you are in Sharjah and enjoy museums and learning about history it was well worth it! We really enjoyed our time. After the museum we took a little stroll by the water.

We then headed down to the central Souk which is near the downtown area of Sharjah –

The bridges connecting both sides of the Souk

The inside of the Souk

After some shopping and bartering we were hungry – so it was off to Al Qasba!

Al Qasba – this is where the Eye of the Emirates is!

The Qasba is on a canal area and it is great for walking around. All of the restaurants open up outside and there was a nice breeze (this is exactly was Buffalo needs in their waterfront in our opinion). After eating a nice lunch outside we grabbed some coffee (and would you believe it Amy they even had a Starbucks!).

Scott thought it was pretty cool that you could see the reflection of the Eye of the Emirates in my sunglasses

After all of that exploring we thought it was time to check out the Sharjah International Book Fair!!! I was so excited and it did not disappoint. There were books from all over the middle east (of course most of them in Arabic) but there were also books from India, Malaysia, the UK and the US and many were translated into English. There was a ton of stuff for kids and it was great seeing so many Emirati people leaving with handfuls, bags, and carts full of books for them and their children – yay for books : )

Loved their slogan

And would you believe it but even after all of this we still had time for the Aquarium!! I was so excited, I had been wanting to go to an aquarium for months now (so Heidi this one’s for you!!!). The aquarium is also located on the waterfront so we snapped some pictures before the sun went down. So moving from a part of our day that was full of words to a part of our day that only requires pictures:

At the end of the Aquarium there was a second story balcony where we had time to snap some more pics of Sharjah:

View of the Dubai skyline through the haze

So after leaving the Aquarium you would have thought we’d done enough but as saw on our tickets that we were able to get into the Maritime Museum for free! Since the museum was right next to the Aquarium we figured, why not? So off to our third museum we went!

oh my silly husband : )

So after three museums, the souk, the Qasba and a book fair it was time for our two hour drive back home – thank you Sharjah for a great mini vacation!