Thursday, June 02, 2011


Just beautiful.
When I lived in Manchester I was forever muntering my way round the city on a variety of history walks and tours - which resulted in much teasing from my friends.  These often involved getting up at the crack of dawn and marching around canals and libraries in the cold Winter air.  I was very often the youngest person in the group, but what can I say, I love history and the past and was giddy as a goat as I explored with the OAP's.  This might explain why since I moved to Dubai I'm often seen muntering around the creek, the old souks and Bastakiya - anything with a bit of a backstory and I'm there. 

So when I heard about an old deserted village in RAK, I was all over it like a rat up a palm tree!  Jazirat Al Hamra is quite the most fascinating place.  You can read more about it here, but basically it's an old fishing village that sits right on the coast, that was abandoned in the late sixties.  It's in various states of glorious decay; most houses and shops don't have roofs, there's graffiti everywhere (new additions to arabic graffiti collection on their way!) and slowly but surely the vegetation is re-claiming the buildings.  Some houses are remarkably intact - and there's something truly magical about stepping into a mini-compound, seeing the kitchens, bathrooms, cooking areas and standing in the courtyard looking up at the huge palm trees gently swaying in the silence.

There's also a real sense that you're exploring - you see virtually no-one else at all, and if you choose, there's quite a bit of effort involved in climbing over walls, though holes in walls, around collapsed get the picture.  It was an absolute treat!

It's rumoured to be haunted by Djins now (so much excitement in  the office when I announced I was off 'djin hunting' for the weekend) and this was definitely at the back of my mind as I pushed open creaking, dilapidated doors and peered through windows into black rooms beyond.  But it's hard to feel shivers when it's 40 degrees and sunny, and I didn't feel unnerved at all.  That said, I wouldn't want to hang around there when it gets dark, it's just a  little too remote for my liking.

If you haven't been, I can't recommend it enough.  We'll be back.

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