Sign of The Times


The times they are a changing.  The shops/stores/workshops in Sanaiya used to all have huge, often garish, brightly coloured signs illuminated by internal fluorescent lighting, but a recent edict from the government has seen a move towards standardization.  Whenever a business trading license is renewed, the owner has three months to upgrade/update his sign.

Throughout history, whenever “progress” is made a little of the old life disappears and many lament its passing.  However the new signs are all lit by LEDs which are far more environmentally friendly and no doubt in time the old banner type signs will be forgotten; Al Ain has a very transient population and many residents in 5-10 years from now will know no different.

So, in a bid to record the “old”, here’s some pictures I took when wandering round Sanaiya yesterday evening.

One of my favourite Indian restaurants – and they deliver to Mehran’s garage, so you can pick up your car and a curry at the same time.  Their Chicken Chachina is truly wonderful!


Another favourite restaurant, this time Lebanese.  They will deliver all over the area but their restaurant is by Saniaya standards, very comfortable – it’s even got tablecloths and chandeliers!


The good thing about the old signs for non-arabic speakers (and especially those who cannot read arabic) is that the business name often had a picture of their product, which helped no end in finding them!


You see I haven’t a clue what this business sells


nor this one – time I learned more arabic words (and script too)!


Some of the business names are classic – “Successful Line Machinery Trading Est” – and its got pictures too so at least I know what they sell. If I wanted to kit out an industrial workshop at least I would find the right shop!


The old signs are very colourful, and this is what has given night-time Sanaiya a “Las Vegas” feel.



I’ve never been to this restaurant but might just give it a go – if I can find it again (better go before they change their sign)


There’s plenty of bakeries in Sanaiya too, the recovery truck driver at Mehran’s came in with some amazing Iranian style flat bread last night and he was good enough to share it.  I don’t know if it was from this bakery but there’s quite a few to choose from in this area


While wandering about I found not one but two branches of the famous “Abdul Azziz” Pakistani Restaurant – very good curry all for about 10aed (£1.70) per head



The yellow Lipton signs are synonymous with ethnic cafes


Car part stores are to be found everywhere here



And car repairers of course.  Car denting anyone?



and of course my favourite garage/hangout in Sanaiya…


Here’s a picture of a block with half the signs changed – I know which look I prefer


I urge anyone who’s brave enough to go down and have a wander about before it’s too late; I felt completely safe, except when wandering down the streets that didn’t have street lighting.  Clad only in black (t-shirt and jeans) I was keenly aware that cars couldn’t see me too well!

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