Dubai Diaries: Do you love the beach?
All across the UAE, there are places to unwind by the sea.
I recently had the chance to spend a lovely morning at Al Mamzar Beach Park. It was a while since we’d been to the seaside, or a park for that matter; open spaces especially in nature tend to alter your perspective on life, at least for those few hours, and you come away feeling lighter, like an enormous weight has been lifted from your mind. This past year has been a tough one. We’ve all had some issues or the other to contend with as a fallout of the pandemic. It’s not always easy to maintain a positive mindset; we do what we can to keep ourselves happy, sometimes in the smallest of ways.
The trip to Mamzar saw us indulging in cool dips in the waters of the Arabian Gulf, a sight as wondrous to me now as it has been for all the years that I have resided in Dubai. As we sat on the beach scooping up sand and moulding it into a ‘sand castle’ (we even considered buying a toy spade and shovel for our next visit) — the refreshing simplicity of that activity instilled a sense of calm we had not experienced for many months. There is something about the sea/ocean that is mesmerising and mysterious, those seemingly endless expanses of blue that have withstood the ravages of time and harbor all sorts of wonders in their hidden depths.
They make your mind wander, and in a pleasant way. As I picked up a few seashells for my collection and rinsed them out before leaving the park, memories of past beach visits came flooding back, including a particularly vivid one from the early ‘80s: my dad’s office picnic to Khor Fakkan. There were games for kids and adults (including a beach race won by my dad); we spent hours playing, grazing our knees climbing rocks, constructing sand masterpieces, and then expressing our excitement very vocally over housie (Bingo), as numbers were yelled out over the sounds of a rattle-and-bump journey back to Dubai in a huge bus.
I remember a school trip to the newly opened Jumeirah Beach Park in 1990, our collective teenage excitement growing by leaps and bounds despite being chaperoned by teachers and being told we couldn’t enter the water. We didn’t mind at all. Just being there, on a wintry (January?) day with our friends was wonderful. In the few snapshots that exist, the joy on our faces is evident.
I can also never forget the time when Jumeirah Beach was nothing but an endless stretch of pristine shoreline, dotted with families, spreading out mats and beach towels, unpacking home-made treats, running into the sun-drenched sea and over the tingling hot sand.
In a more recent memory, I sat with a like-minded cousin for hours on the rocks in Jumeirah 1, just listening to the sea, letting its timeless beauty wash over us. It’s nice that some feelings never change.