After spending over five years in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, I found myself typing on my laptop about my first impressions and experiences in my new home-Sharjah, UAE. Sharjah is very close to Dubai- just 20 minutes from Dubai’s airport. When random people ask ”Where are you now?’‘ I always answer ‘‘Dubai” – this saves me the hassle of discussing Geography. I have explained pretty well to my dear friends where I was going and where Google locates Sharjah. I just love the sound of its name- Sharjah! It rhymes with Ta-ra! ;-)

The view from our window. Instagram: @herdailydigest http://web.stagram.com/p/563719203481012807_15690849

My new location is still in Asia but the differences are huge. This made me realize how Southeast Asian I am! Whatever I am writing here today, some may change in few months as these are just my first impressions and experiences- this is just my third day plus I haven’t been out a lot. Jet lag makes me want to sleep all the time, you know!

1. There are a lot of Indian restaurants in Sharjah. I am a big fan of Indian cuisine and it seems that I might be getting every single meal from them unless I learn how to cook their food. Oh, I can always try!

2. There is no cold shower. The temperature varies from medium hot to extremely hot which is a good thing. You will never be scared of water in this case. I remember ages ago when all I wanted was to soak myself in a hot tub or to have a long hot shower. Well, this is it- everyday. ;-)

3. The weather here is 35C and they say October and onwards are the cooler months. Ha! Imagine that! Although it is scorching hot outside, I have never seen anyone using an umbrella. Why is that?
Early mornings and late evenings have better atmosphere though. I probably start my walking exercises tomorrow, before the sun rises :-)

4. They don’t use AC here- they have a ‘chiller’. For two nights in a row, I had to get up and head to the living room to turn it off. Generally, It’s friggin cold inside the buildings. For real!

5. When you take a taxi, you pay at least 10 dirhams. If the meter says 5 dirhams, you still have to pay 10 unless your fare is more than that. And that’s the time you pay the exact amount.

6. The taxi fare from Dubai airport to Sharjah is between 60-90 dirhams. Isn’t that a lot? The Philippines and Vietnam were my previous homes so in those countries, paying that amount for a 20-min ride is already quite a lot.

7. Still about transportation, I noticed two mornings in a row that there were a lot of cars heading to Dubai from 6.30am. So don’t go that way until about 10am. The other lane (Dubai to Sharjah) was almost empty.

8. My first coffee experience here was at the Carrefour when I bought a cup at Dunkin’ Donuts. It was very sweet and the lady gave me two more sachets of sugar while reminding me she already put sugar in it. Urgh! I don’t like my coffee too sweet. Maybe buying coffee somewhere else would taste different. I will head to their Starbucks next time.

9. Arabic and English and the combination of both is the lingua franca in Sharjah. Everyone understands English regardless their origin or ancestry! I love it because I don’t have to mime.

10. Supermarkets and convenience stores are everywhere! Almost every apartment block has one and they sell similar stuff. But still the business is good and thriving! In fact, there is Al Madina in our building and our first purchase was a red gumball that Ram awfully wanted! ;-)

The Eye of Sharjah. Instagram: @kingceejay_ http://web.stagram.com/p/561572385330190269_182809500

I am excited to explore the new environment. I hope to meet new people as no matter how bad or great the place is it’s the people that would make any experiences worthwhile. Oh, not to mention delicious food and beautiful sights! :-) I will be tweeting, instagramming and facebooking from time to time. Where can I follow you? What’s your Facebook/ Twitter/ Instagram handle?  I hope to be swapping stories with you.

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