Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Expat Life: Ladies’ Park, Ajman


A date palm tree with young dates
It has been more than 2 years since I’ve moved to the United Arab Emirates. But I realized that I’ve hardly blogged anything about life in the UAE as such. In all these months, there are places I’ve discovered, restaurants I’ve tried, people I’ve met and various experiences I’ve had. So I’ve decided to set up a tag, Expat Life and write something regularly about the place where I first set up a ‘home’ after getting married.

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!

11 comments:

  1. It does seem like the kind of place one would like to visit, when one needs time off to spend it with just ourselves. Do post pictures of them :-)

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  2. I like this new segment/feature! :). I will consider starting one too.
    This sounds like a lovely park... I love such green places that invite one to ponder, relax, and refresh themselves. Look forward to the next place in Ajman.
    Btw, I thought you were in Dubai all this while! Another ignorant person :)

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    1. Yeah you should!
      Yes and especially in a desert-country like the UAE it is a true blessing.
      Not your fault abt Dubai-I just tell everybody I stay in Dubai, as no one would have ever heard of Ajman - it's just easier for ppl to identify :-)

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  3. Can women go outside without being escorted by a male in Emirates? When i was in Saudi,we had to wait till my father comes even to go to the shop across the road!.

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    Replies
    1. omg tht sucks! I would probably have gone back to India if that was the case here - but actually the UAE is relatively liberal, when compared to other Islamic countries.

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  4. Okay, I WAS considering a job in Ajman. But seeing that I find Doha, Qatar, to be one of the sleepiest places I've ever been to (the main reason why I'm considering a job in the UAE in the first place),your description of this place does not entice me at all. Well, sounds like heaven for some, but maybe not the best place for the big-city people type. Thanks for the tip!

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    1. Hi Mark! Actually Dubai is a fun place to live(though a tad expensive) - so if you are considering moving to the UAE looking for a lively environment, I would recommend checking out Dubai.

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  5. Hi, I have some questions about living in Ajman, as I may end up there soon. Will you shoot me an email? Thanks, Mai! ladylyfe@gmail.com

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  6. I am moving to Ajman with my six year old son in February. It will be an adventure! New job, new surroundings, new everything!! Thanks for the description of the park, sounds really nice. Any other suggestions for a single mom would be much appreciated, thank you!

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    1. Wow that sounds exciting indeed Karen! Welcome to Ajman :-)

      Actually since I don't have any kids yet I haven't really thought about kid-friendly things to do over here specifically - so I'm afraid I might not be very knowledgeable in that area... However the Ajman Citi Centre mall does have a children's play area and there is also a nice little beach in Ajman.

      There are many schools and day care facilities as well - but I don't know which ones are the good ones!

      February is a good month to come to the UAE - the weather is pleasant. What will you be working as? Have you sorted out your accommodation yet?

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