A Diamond’s Eye View of the World

a multi-faceted look at the middle east, and the middle west

Archive for the ‘Sharjah’ Category

public piety i: Sunnis in Beirut

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on July 15, 2007

On Friday afternoon I made an end-of-week dairy run to the house of moo, as I am coming to think of my local ba2ala.


As I made my usual “what would I buy if I were a more inventive cook” perusal of its two aisles, I noticed something new in between the mayonnaise (for a small shop, it carries quite a mayonnaise selection) and the canned goods: a Qur’an.


It wasn’t stacked flat or set down as if someone had been interrupted while reading; it was placed vertically, with the front cover facing out. Leaving the mayonnaise and the canned artichokes to their own devices, I kept on walking. I have no objection to the shopkeepers’ decision to display their Qur’an on the shelves – after all, I have fond memories of the phrase I have seen on the backs of many Damascus cabs: “Don’t forget to mention God”. But its perch looks a bit precarious to me, and I definitely do not want to be known in my neighborhood as that insensitive foreign woman who knocked the Qur’an to the floor.


Posted in Americans, Arab world, art, Beirut, dairy, food, Islam, Lebanon, media, photography, religion, Sharjah, shipping, time, travel, women, words | Leave a Comment »

big doings in little Sharjah

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on April 2, 2007

The first Gulf city I visited was Abu Dhabi, nearly 8 years ago. My memories of it and other Gulf cities look much like the Sharjah of today: small, “no-name” businesses branded by their owners name or a description of the product or services they offer, set into the store-fronts of long low-rise concrete buildings:


The Sharjah of tomorrow will look quite different – not quite Dubai, but much more like Doha with a growing collection of mid- and high- rise buildings. The infrastructure – roads, electricity, etc. – is already in place, and the high cost of living in Dubai is turning Sharjah into an attractive bedroom community for Dubai commuters.



Posted in Americans, Arab world, Arabic, Dubai, economics, photography, Sharjah, time, travel | 3 Comments »

beyond the burj: Diamond in Sharjah

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on March 29, 2007

I spent the other night up in Sharjah, Dubai’s smaller (but growing) and more conservative cousin to the northeast.

(The emirate’s name is not properly sharjah but sharqah, reflecting its orientation. The transliteration as sharJah I think was the product of a double translation by an Egyptian or Jordanian Arabic speaker, who must have heard the Gulf pronunciation of “q” as “g” and re-interpreted as a “j”, since Egyptians and Jordanians pronounce the “j” as a “g”).

Sharjah reminds me of the Gulf I remember from the late 1990s and early 2000s – lots of small shops and dust. But it is growing – there are skyscrapers under construction wherever one looks.

I took these photos early yesterday morning while out for a walk.



Posted in Americans, Arab world, Dubai, economics, photography, Sharjah, time, travel, weather | 2 Comments »