WHILE RETURNING FROM A MEMORABLE TRIP TO JORDAN, I had a long transit at the Sharjah airport. As my plane hovered over the brown landscape of Sharjah, I couldn’t take my eyes off the city, which looked neat and well planned.
Spending all day at the Sharjah Airport, I craved to see Sharjah and Dubai. I should have applied for a transit visa maybe. Dubai and Sharjah have attracted Indians since a long time. I am from India and have long nursed the dream to explored United Arab Emirates. The distance between Sharjah and Dubai is short and takes less than an hour to cover the journey. I might plan a trip here soon. The long transit fuelled my dream to explore Dubai and Sharjah. Maybe I will travel there soon and also club offbeat UAE destinations such as Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Ras-al-Khaimah, Umm al-Qaywayn, Al Fujairah, Ash-Shariqah etc.
Business Class lounge at the Sharjah Airport
Unable to explore Sharjah due to a lack of visa, I compensated by exploring the Business Class lounge at the Sharjah Airport and the airport itself. The lounge had me engaged and had great facilities. It had everything one needs during transit. Wi-fi, magazines, newspapers, sitting area, work-desk, alcoholic beverages, buffet etc.
I was delighted to find Indian dishes such as Aaloo Gobhi (Potato-cauliflower curry), dal (Lentils) and rice in the buffet. I had some along-with red wine and my last fill of mezze platter (Hummus, Labneh, Moutabal, black olives, the works!) During my week long sojourn in Jordan, I had stuck to the delicious mezze platter. Not only is it healthy but also vegan friendly. Being a vegetarian, it was my best bet. I myself can rustle up some great tasting mezzes.
Post lunch, I strolled aimlessly at the Sharjah airport, only to be surprised by some discoveries every now and then. I was amazed to see so many Indian dishes on sale at the airport. Being an Indian, it was amusing to me. Blame the high Indian footfall or the influence of Indian cuisine, there was no dearth of Indian food available in the food courts of The Sharjah Airport.
Indian Food Galore at the Sharjah Airport!
I was most impressed with an outlet called Mumbai Spices. It served typical Mumbai dishes. Their tagline read: ‘Spirit of Mumbai, Taste of India’. Being an obsessive Mumbai lover, I was delighted to see this outlet. They sold Pav Bhaji, Puri Bhaji, Samosa, Vada and even South Indian dishes like Masala Dosa, idli, uthappam etc. Another outlet sold Indian dishes like Paneer Masala, vegetable curry apart from Falafel wraps.
Some Chinese outlets also served Indian style Chinese food, viz. Hakka Chowmein, Vegetable Manchurian (Dry gravy) etc. Mc Donalds was also vying for attention with its Happy Meals and what nots. Their menu was minimalist and different from what we get in India. The food court looks much similar to a food court in India, except the script on the menu boards.
SHOPPING FOR SOUVENIERS AT THE SHARJAH AIRPORT:
I am not much of a shopping person. But I was intrigued by the interesting souvenir options available at the Sharjah Airport. Burqa clad women, Sheikhs and camel heads wearing sunglasses were my favorite. All these were done in porcelain. And were actually a cruet set (Salt and pepper shaker).
The colorful and metallic camels, chirag and eagles were other typical souvenirs available at the Sharjah Airport. I am sure Dubai had similar souvenirs to offer.
I instead shopped for coins and notes. Well, it’s not shopping in real sense. I exchanged some Indian currency with the currency of U.A.E to add to my collections. I have been a Numismatics enthusiast since childhood and have been collecting currencies of different countries since eons.
How to reach Sharjah and Dubai:
Emirates run regular flights to UAE. Known for their high standards of service, it is an apt choice.
Air Arabia offers comfortable rides to UAE. It is spacious and well managed.
Where to stay in Dubai?
- J.W. Marriott, Dubai is a great option. It is a luxury property and close to Hamarain Centre and Deira City Centre. It has 351 rooms, 10 restaurants, spa and much more.
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