|A date palm tree with young dates|
So first of all, I know that a lot of people don’t really know the different Middle-Eastern countries from one another. Most people only know that there are a bunch of ‘Gulf’ countries out there – I was one among them too, before I decided to move here. And while I am still somewhat geographically challenged, atleast I can tell you that the United Arab Emirates is a collection of 7 emirates: the capital Abu Dhabi, the most popular Dubai, Ras al-Kaimah, Umm al-Qwain, Fujairah, Sharjah and finally - the one I stay in – Ajman. An emirate is like a state by itself, and each emirate has its own ruler and set of rules. And no – Saudi is not part of the UAE, Bahrain is also not UAE, nor is Qatar.
Coming to Ajman, to be brutally honest, it is a rather sleepy, dusty and boring little emirate. Read a dry-Texan-cowboy-small-town with the searing heat kicking up swirls of dust. It is relatively small, with many people treating it as the suburbs of Dubai, since the cost of living is much lesser when compared to its glamorous neighbour. So while there is a surplus of housing options – half of which lie vacant – when it comes to entertainment, there are a handful of fine dining places, a decent beach, a few shopping malls and a couple of parks. That’s about it. Most people head out to Dubai on Thursdays (which marks the beginning of the weekend over here) for fun; and I don’t blame them as there really isn’t anything much ‘to do’ in Ajman. Yet one tries to make the best of what is provided – is there really a choice?
For quite some time now, I’ve been meaning to head to a park named ‘Ladies Park’ in Al Rashidiya area, Ajman. As the name suggests, this park is meant only for ladies – and children, regardless of the gender. Someone I knew, once remarked, “Why is this park only for ladies? Why would I want to go to a park without my husband?” Well, maybe just to get some "me" time? Or maybe when you have one of those unavoidable domestic tiffs? Or maybe when the husband is too busy and you find yourself sitting all alone at home one evening, with absolutely nothing to do and craving for some fresh air? Although I do find myself in the former situation plenty of times, I happened to be in the latter one evening last week, when I was left to fend for myself. Pondering over the possibilities, I decided to go for a leisurely stroll. And while walking around pretty much aimlessly, I found myself in the vicinity of the Ladies Park – not surprising really, since I live rather close to it.
I decided to go ahead and check it out. Previously I had often googled for information about this park, but unfortunately couldn’t find many details. So here is a short review in case anyone is interested in knowing about this little green pocket. The entry fee is 2 AED – not a large amount at all, IMO. The park is quite well-lit and big enough to accommodate a moderate crowd. It is pretty and well maintained, with lush green lawns, clumps of palm trees, tiny hillocks, comfortable benches and long, winding paths. I visited the park on a weekend and so it was quite crowded with women gossiping away, while children ran around gleefully screeching and giggling. It looked like many had packed little picnic baskets and were happily enjoying themselves. There is also a designated play area filled with children’s play equipment to keep the kids occupied. Also there were some stalls set up, selling snacks and short-eats along with some knickknacks and trinkets.
I took a long walk and then settled down on a hillock to the smell of freshly crushed grass – which btw never fails to remind me of Marina beach, back home...
I wish I had taken a book or a notepad and pen or even my laptop. It is really a refreshing setting to read or write, along with something to munch on. Next time I intend to. I didn't take my camera either - so couldn't take any photos, will do the next time and put them up here. This time, I just looked around peacefully, observing people and smiling at the kids’ games and antics. It is quite a nice place to check out if you live somewhere nearby. Kids will surely love it and if you happen to have a bunch of gal-pals, bring them along too, for some uninterrupted bonding time!