Midnight in Ramadan: Al Qawasim Corniche in RAK comes alive after dark

Families come together to enjoy the atmosphere and walk off the iftar kilos

Ras Al Khaimah, May, 09, 2019: Ahmed Rashid (L) and Mohammed Rashid at the Al Qasimi Corniche in Ras Al Khaimah . Satish Kumar/ For the National / Story by Rubai Haza

Step on to Al Qawasim Corniche in Ras Al Khaimah at night during Ramadan and you will hear the sound of children playing and laughing in front of a stall selling dondurma, or Turkish ice cream.

The vendor will trick and tease them with the hard-to-melt ice cream, stretching it into long, chewing-gum-like strips before at last handing it over to them, their parents sharing in the joy too.

Families drink a coffee or puff on shisha in one of the nearby cafes or take a walk along the creek, surrounded by twinkling Ramadan decorations and lights.

“This is my favourite place in RAK,” said Asmaa Bashir, 25, a Syrian mother of two who was at the Corniche with her mother, sister and two daughters – Hala, 4, and Lana, 3. “I come here to enjoy family time and eat ice cream with the girls.

“It’s a good treat for us and like a reward – to be able to spend some free time away from the kitchen during Ramadan,” she said.

"The weather is still good enough to walk and the girls love it."  

Al Qawasim Corniche, the most popular street in Ras Al Khaimah, comes to life after midnight as families arrive to unwind, catch up or simply stay active during Ramadan.

"I come here every day after taraweeh [additional Ramadan prayers] with my cousin to try to get rid of the extra calories we gained during iftar," said Emirati Mohammed Rashid, 31, who was walking with his cousin, Ahmed Rashid, 33.

"Many people choose not to exercise during Ramadan but we see it as very important before and after iftar."  

Ras Al Khaimah, May, 09, 2019: Kids enjoy the ice cream at the Al Qasimi Corniche in Ras Al Khaimah . Satish Kumar/ For the National / Story by Rubai Haza

Ahmed agreed, saying that people should stay fit and active during Ramadan.

“We should treat Ramadan as any other month. It’s the month of giving and taking care of people and yourself, therefore we should not neglect our bodies and always stay active,” he said.

The three-kilometre-long Corniche became an important recreational destination after it was renovated in 2017 and footpaths and cycle lanes were added to promote a healthy lifestyle.

Another Emirati who came to walk on the Corniche said she always encouraged her family to walk to stay fit.

"I always try to encourage them to join me for a walk," said Sara Khames, 30.

“Me and my friend come here to jog almost every day. We start at about 11pm and stay until at least 12.30am, and sometimes more.

“I see many people do the same at the Corniche. Some bring their children to walk with them or play around them while walking.

“The atmosphere is very encouraging and better than sitting at home watching TV and getting fat.”

Ras Al Khaimah, May, 09, 2019:  Kids ride the rental cycles at the Al Qasimi Corniche in Ras Al Khaimah . Satish Kumar/ For the National / Story by Rubai Haza

Tourists also visit the Corniche to experience the holy month atmosphere, try traditional Emirati food and enjoy the outdoor weather.

Two visitors from Sudan said they came to the area to have a traditional iftar in one of the restaurants with family and then decided to stay until midnight.

“The weather is perfect and the area is very beautiful and well organised. We don’t want to leave yet,” said Hadeel Othman, 21.

"You can feel Ramadan vibes everywhere with the lights and the decorations – it is very special. Plus, everyone is enjoying their time here."

 Her friend Khansaa Al Hassan, who went to the Corniche with her sister and two nieces, said the food was great and the atmosphere was family friendly.

"You can see families playing with their children," said Ms Al Hassan, 26. "It's a very friendly and warm atmosphere and we can't get enough of it."