Continuing our United Arab Emirates road trip onwards from Umm al-Quwain, we came to the diminutive little emirate of Ajman. At only 260 square km, Ajman is indeed little, but with a quarter of a million people, it didn’t seem as tiny as I had anticipated.
Furthermore, it seems the closer to Dubai, the better the state of affairs of the emirate. Hardly surprising. Ajman seemed much more affluent than I had expected. That could, of course, say more about my expectations.
In Ajman, city centre means City Centre
“You want to go to city centre?” our passport-less driver asked. Absolutely! Only, it turned out city centre meant City Centre, yet another shopping mall.
Well, I wasn’t pleased, but my daughters were. Also it was lunch time, so I relented. And I can recommend the Satay Chicken at Salathai in the food court. Even got as much satay sauce as I wanted (there never seems to be enough). The girls enjoyed their fried rice and spring rolls, too. As malls go, City Centre wasn’t all that bad.
After that “forced” shopping mall visit, we had a look around Ajman town. Again, we gave the local museum a miss. Our few hours in Ajman was spent partly in City Centre and partly in the city centre.
This may well be my shortest post ever. Ajman is probably the one emirate I feel I know the least and I’m struggling to find much to say about it. Or perhaps it simply isn’t that much to say about Ajman? In a comment to an earlier post, fellow Middle East traveller Sabina said there’s nothing to do in Ajman other than hang out at the 5-star Kempinski hotel or at the beach, but it’s nicely quiet and uncrowded.
So, anyone remember the names of the 7 emirates again? Could be useful for that next pub quiz, you know. Here they are: Dubai, Ras Al-Khaimah, Umm Al-Quwain, Ajman, Sharjah, Abu Dhabi and Fujairah.
That region is still developing so much that I’m not surprised some areas have little in terms of tourist attractions. At least you can get a good bite to eat!
I almost took a bus to Ajman to check it out, but just a few days before I was going to do that, my friend took me over in her car, to dinner and to her house. I am SO glad I didn’t waste a bus trip, because once I was there, I could clearly see there was nothing to do. I would have wandered around for half an hour before I got bored. I could have actually walked back to Sharjah, though, if I had taken a bus over instead of going with my friend, because the emirates abut one another.
We ate at a nice little restaurant on the roadside owned by a Palestinian friend of hers. I ordered nachos, which was a mistake as the chef’s version of nachos was comical. While at the restaurant I watched for over an hour as four Muslim girls, either in their teens or early 20s, smoked shisha at the outdoor table next to ours during the entirety of our time there. Seriously, they just kept passing that shisha pipe back and forth forever. It’s very weird to see Muslim women smoking shisha, don’t you think?
Hey loving your new site, looks fantastic!
Did you see the last Sex and the City movie where Carrie’s ex is learning the names of all the emirates? The only one he has managed to remember, in addition to Dubai and Abu Dhabi, is Ajman.
@Andrea – true. It is developing. Should be interesting to see what will happen in these more obscure emirates in a decade or so.
@Sabina – Interesting to read other experiences of these odd little places.
@Ayngelina – Thanks, this new theme is much easier to work with.
@Kim – You know, I saw that on a very long plane journey a few weeks ago. Not a very good film, I thought. But I do remember the scene you’re describing. I suppose Ajman is an easier name to remember than Ras Al-Khaimah. Or Umm Al-Quwain. But I remember thinking as he visited all the time, he could make the effort to remember all of them, the silly chap.
Are any of these emirates revolting like the rest of the middle east?
Interesting question, Jason. The UAE is a bit different from many of the neighbouring countries, in that 3/4 of the population aren’t emiratis (locals).
The emiratis are well off and have little reason to revolt, I think – low taxes, low crime rates, excellent healthcare, low interest (or no interest) mortgages, free unis, child allowances – it’s practically Scandinavia (except the low taxes 🙂 …
Of course, the imported labour force (from India, Pakistan, etc) are in a much, much worse situation. And if they decided to revolt – or even go on strike, well… they would probably be deported.
Your travels are always interesting!
It’s actually amazing that Ajman is considered an emirate. There’s nothing to do there, nothing to see. I’d rather go to Al Ain (which belongs to Abu Dhabi) than Ajman. Don’t miss Al Ain! A beautiful oasis.
@Daniel: Oh yes, Al Ain would be lovely. I would love to hang around there while re-reading Thesiger’s tales of the Empty Quarter.
Well put from an excellent blogger