sharjah is one of the 7 emirates (states) in the uae (united arab emirates), others being dubai, capital abu dhabi, umm al-quwain, ras al-khaimah, ajman and fujairah.
a lot of expats (and some malaysians) working in dubai, opt to stay in sharjah for the cheaper house rent. it's just 40 mins away from dubai city center.
i think the best place to go to when visiting sharjah is the venice-like 'qanat al-qasba' - more on that later. but since we're already in sharjah, why not drop by sharjah aquarium (something like our aquaria klcc).
no, don't fix your eyes - the khaleef in the pictures above is my khaleef - when he was about to turn 3 years old! we already went here during the first month i'm in dubai, before delivering kahfi.
now fast forward 1 and a half year later, here we are back again to bring mr. khairul's family for a stroll among the sea creatures.
entrance fee is 20dhs per adult - and free for kiddos under 5. it's closed on sunday so you can come between 8am to 8pm on other days - except friday of course - as you know, in uae - most businesses usually begins after friday prayers.
the view outside of the sharjah aquarium is gorgeous - the relatively tall skyscrapers, the sea, and the classic dhows resting at the port - a juxtapose of sharjah's old and new.
once inside, we're greeted with a distinct smell of the ocean! there's a mock port complete with viewing balcony, lifesaving float, fishing nets and the works - interesting setting but they could have placed more display like little boats and old cans.
kahfi has had it, it seemed! he was wriggling like mad, and making a big fuss, so the sympathetic aunt and grandma obliged and set him free! his excitement cannot be described in words!
soon after, the path led to a small room where two benches were set in front of a screen depicting the fishermen lifestyle and history in sharjah and the uae.
alright - guilty as charge! - i got bored too soon and left to see the next exhibit with khaleef and mr. khairul's youngest sis sofia.
kahfi masih sangat-sangat excited. he even tried to catch the passing fishes in the aquarium!
next we walked into the aquarium-tunnel where more marine life can be seen, including a beautiful set-up of underwater reefs and corals. i remember khaleef being doubly excited when he was younger...
khaleef spent quite some time at the 'do's and don'ts' board - and i enjoyed asking him to interpret the pictures.
"don't touch then the shark.."
"cannot take picture.."
"don't throw into the water.."
"...and don't disturb the fish.."
smart boy, khaleef!
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this is 'qanat al-qasba' - and i say it's the venice of uae because of the canal that runs through it, where visitors can have boatrides on traditional dhows (boats) and enjoy the view. not as gorgeous, i'm sure - but it's something!
there are a number of restaurants and cafes here with waterfront seats - nando's, dunkin donuts, thai restaurant lemongrass, among others.
here, as you can see from the picture, is also where you can ride the 'eye of emirates' - exactly like our 'eye of malaysia' - offering scenic view of the surrounding areas, as well as glimpse of the neighbouring dubai.
mr. khairul rode on with sis tina, sofia and bro asrar and khaleef.
before heading back to dubai, we indulged ourselves with 'mini melts' - the cutest ice-cream i've ever seen! it's ice-cream, but in little beads. you know - not the usual dome-shaped scoop - but tiny round beads of ice-cream in a cup!