Hello, my dear friends.
Those of you, who reside in the desert like me, are on a home-run towards the end of summer (or at least we sure hope so). Despite corona-related regulations and precautions, we want to go out, really out, to the desert, to the mountains, to the sea-side… but it is still <+40 C, so we must wait.
However, this past weekend we have seen some rain coming. Rain? In August? Someone must be
high in the sky with their cloudseeding planes? Whatever the case, the true reality of things is that the local population was out driving in the slightly wet desert, sticking their hands out and most probably exclaiming: “Mashallah!”*
*”Mashallah” or “Mash’Allah” is an Arabic phrase used to show appreciation for a person or happening. It shows respect, and also reminds that everything is achieved by the will of God. The closest English translation is “God willed it.” It is used to show joy and praise, and is evoked upon hearing good news.
Anyway, highly entertaining and not at all dangerous potpourri of driving styles aside (sarcasm detected), that was not the purpose of me venturing into the desert of Sharjah. The real purpose was the visit to the newly-opened (closed due to corona precautions) and once-again opened geological park located next to Jebel Buhais (Jebel//Jabal stands for a mountain in Arabic).
The weather was getting really stormy, and there was flashing lightning right above our heads (and a lot, I mean a lot of electrical pylons too) at the moment that we reached the entrance to the park, but no flash floods occurred in the area.
The entrance to the park is just 10 AED (+50 fils for VAT), but better bring cash because who uses credit cards these days anyway?
Then you get chaperoned to the entrance of the exhibition in an electrical buggy (stylish, yeah).
My mom said that the museum looks like a bunch of funky-looking bottles and it is somewhat the case.
Inside, the first exhibition room is covering the process of the Earth creation and its development from Pangea into the continents that we know now. It also has a special plug-in on how particularly Sharjah was created, and what kind of geological developments lead to making these “mountains”.
And though it being Sharjah, and the UAE, for you my skeptical-about-religion-brainwashing friends, there wasn’t a word of Allah inserted anywhere in the process. Well, at least not in the English version of the presentation.
With all this well-structured information in mind we proceed into the next part of the museum, where you got to first of all enjoy a fabulous video reinforcing all the information you have just read about, but in more of a visual form. Or maybe, it is just for those people, who don’t read, and spend 6 hours a day on tiktok app, and are unable to process any information if it doesn’t involve some synchronized movements of skimpily dressed people… ohhh, I think I am getting off the subject. Anyway, the video presentation is fantastic. My husband and I, plus the other lucky visitor in a cap, enjoyed this cinema experience all to ourselves; at that moment there weren’t any other volunteers. At the end of the film, the screen impressively slides away and you are presented the unrivaled view of Jebel Buhais and its fossilised contents.
The next part of the exhibition will teach a whole bunch about rocks, sand, and minerals that we can find in Sharjah. You can touch pretty much everything, there are interactive games in installed tablets, where you have to learn something and then answer the quiz to see if you got it right. I personally really enjoyed looking at different types of rocks under the microscope. There are also the “binocular”-type machines with which you can really investigate different parts of the landscape just outside, but without leaving the comfort of a/c. So in total, if you really immerse yourself into learning some information about rocks, you can spend a good hour or two in there.
Afterwards, you must go outside “into the wild” and follow the trail to actually have a look at the physical representation of things your just learned (in the wild of +44 degrees C).
It is a beautiful place, very much worth the visit. I won’t spoil the fun of learning all those exciting facts about rocks, you gotta do it yourself – I will just show you some photos.
In the good weather, it is probably very pleasant to roam around there, and we were blessed that at least the sun was behind the clouds and was not grilling us alive, but still there is only a limited amount of time you can stay outside before starting to feel like you’re about to turn into a fossil yourself. So, please once again, a reminder, be kind to people who have to work outside in these temperatures, it is hardcore.
There is also a cafeteria in the museum, where you can chill for a bit with a cold drink (nothing too exciting, we’re still in Sharjah), but much needed after the adventure outside.
Overall, I had tons of fun, the museum is clearly catered towards school-kids but adults can enjoy it same way. It is a nice place to take your date if you want to pretend to be a bit of a nerd (or maybe you actually are).
It is accessible in any type of car or vehicle (maybe even a camel, if you are in possession of one).
On the way back, we drove through some magnificent desert full of wild-life and locals. I have received a decent amount of questions of the “locations pls” for the photos that follow:
How do I tell you, friend, you gotta go out there, open your eyes, and maybe you will see… I wish you the best of luck!
If you just casually happen to log around an equivalent of 70-200 lens with you, that helps greatly to catch these moments. Otherwise, no rocket science tips and tricks, locations, no special kind of salutations, computations, just drive around the desert and be patient.
ah yes, I also got the video:
Thank you and take care of yourselves.