Book Oasis: secondhand bookshop in Al Ain

There is now a secondhand bookshop in Al Ain called Book Oasis. The owners believe it is the very first such shop in Al Ain, and, in fact, may be the only secondhand bookshop in the whole of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi!

Inside, the shop looks like this…

Book Oasis bookshop Al Ain

Most of the books are in English, but Book Oasis also stocks assorted German, French, Swedish and Afrikaans titles too.

Book Oasis has a Facebook page here…

https://www.facebook.com/?pages/Book-Oasis/?439392929412292

And a website at…

www.bookoasisalain.com

Their book purchase policy is as follows…

They only accept fiction and non-fiction books in good condition. Technical books, comics and textbooks are not accepted. They refund 50% on all returned books with the Book Oasis stamp!

Here’s a map showing you how to get there…

Book Oasis bookshop map

It’s located near the Greenland Compund and Christmas Tree roundabout in the west of Al Ain. In other words, it’s not far from Tawam Hospital, the Palm Rugby Club, and Abela supermarket.

Opening hours:
Sunday to Thursday: 10am to 1pm, 4pm to 8pm
Saturday: 1pm to 6pm
Closed all day Friday.

Phone the shop at 050 5338743, or email mail [at] bookoasisalain.com.

Do go along and check this store out! 

And if you do pop by, or phone/email, please would you say that you heard about Book Oasis from the Al Ain Enthusiast site? Thanks! :)

Melanie Graham: an artist in Al Ain

If you’re looking for artwork to adorn your home in Al Ain, check out Melanie Graham.

She was selling her work at a recent fair at Al Ain English Speaking School…

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Here are a few of her pieces in detail…

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During a brief chat with her, she says she creates these beauties using a spoon!

Melanie writes…

“Here’s a short history of the swirly painting. Like so many brilliant ideas it all began in a café in Amsterdam. They served their coffee in a clear mug. The beauty of the white milk swirling into the black coffee inspired me to try and capture that spontaneous and fleeting masterpiece of Mother Nature through art. I began photographing food colour swirling through milk and was pleased with the result but didn’t find it fulfilling. I really wanted to do the same thing on a canvas with paint. Three years later I finally achieved the effect I wanted and so the swirly painting came to be.”

And here she says about herself…

“I was born in Illinois, U.S.A. I moved to Arkansas, U.S.A. in 1992. My husband John and I, along with our son Jack, came to Al Ain in 2006 when John accepted a position at U.A.E.U. and we have been living here happily ever since. I worked for several schools in town before settling at Sunflower School which has a wonderfully friendly school community. The support and encouragement I have received since bringing my paintings out has been amazing. Thank you to everyone who has had a hand in it.”

All the paintings can be viewed at Melanie’s Swirly Paintings on Facebook. The email contact info is [email protected]

Buying outdoor plants

You can buy outdoor plants in the area behind Bawadi Mall…

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My wife, Catherine, chose some great plants and pots. See if you can spot her below :)

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The Afghani owner of the nursery repotted the plants for us…

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This is a snap of we bought, when we got them home…

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12 plants in all, 6 in pots which we chose, plus a big sack of compost, plus the white and pink stones to hold in the moisture – all for 300 dirhams / £50 / US$75.

Here are 3 Jasmine plants which we bought the week before, and the table we also purchased from Ace Hardware at Bawadi Mall…

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Six of the plants we put on top of the divider between our villa and the one next door. Eventually they’ll trail down the sides which should look great. You’ll also see 2 bamboo torches with kerosene canisters inside on the right of our front door which we also bought from Ace…

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Marina Mall in Abu Dhabi

Marina Mall is a popular mall in Abu Dhabi. It’s situated on a marina a few hundred metres east of the Emirates Palace, and opposite the Hilton Hotel…

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Inside…

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Further inside…

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There’s an Ikea here, an iStore for Apple computer products, a Fudruckers restaurant (serving American beef), a cinema complex, and lots more.

Patchi chocolates in Al Ain

Many locals and ex-pats give chocolates as gifts. Many people consider Patchi chocolates to be the best.

There is a Patchi shop in Bawadi Mall, located on the upper floor, very close to the balcony overlooking the stage on the ground floor…

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Patchi chocolates are beautifully presented: the shop looks like it’s selling high class jewellery!

Abela Supermarket in Al Ain

A very popular supermarket for ex-pats in Al Ain is Abela which is located in the far west of the town, near Tawam Hospital, and next to the large Oasis Village compound where many doctors and others live.

Here’s the outside…

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Here’s the entrance to the store on the left…

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Also inside this building is a pharmacy/chemist, a toy shop, a florist, and a bank. And on the right hand side is Abela’s pork shop. The sign above the entrance says it’s for non-Muslims…

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We love shopping at Abela as the bread is superb. Amir, Abela’s manager, is a lovely guy, and he says the bread is baked fresh every day, and any bread that is unsold each day is thrown away. He told me that there are 2 Abela supermarkets in Abu Dhabi. The owner is Lebanese.

Abela has a great range of magazines and newspapers. Prices are similar to Lulu’s but Abela can be more expensive for non-mainstream fresh vegetables. By that I mean that prices are similar for tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, potatoes, onions, apples, bananas, etc – but Abela is more expensive for strawberries, aubergines (zucchini), green beans, etc.

Sharaf DG store in Al Ain for electronics

There’s a very impressive electrical store in the new wing of the Al Ain Mall called Sharaf DG…

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They sell Apple Macs too…

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…and iPads…

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Prices on mobile phones, memory sticks (thumb drives), and other electrical goods, look good. You’ll find Sharaf DG on the upper floor in the new section, next to an escalator off the central courtyard.

Another place for Apple products is the new iStore in the Al Ain Mall, located on the ground floor, only about 200 metres from Sharaf DG. (See separate article.)

Buying alcohol, wine, beer at Spinney’s in Al Ain

There are several places to buy alcohol in Al Ain. One of them is Spinney’s which is behind the Home Mart furniture store, north of the Diwan roundabout, and south of Jimi Mall.

Next to Home Mart is the La Brioche café, and there’s a Pizza Hut nearby too.

Spinney’s doesn’t look like a regular shop: there are just 2 nondescript doors…

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Inside…

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The wine selection is different from what you can buy from the store behind the Hilton Hotel. Here, prices for red and white wine start at 27 dirhams (£4.75 / US$7.25) a bottle.

Buying rugs in Al Ain

There are dozens of shops where you can buy rugs in Al Ain. Whatever price you are quoted, beat them down to at least 67% off this price. If you can, pay only a quarter of that first price offered.

A friend of mine called Nick went shopping for rugs, and invited me along. We went to the shops behind Bawadi Mall…

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Here’s Nick walking barefoot on one rug to see how soft it felt underfoot…

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Buying indoor and outdoor plants in Al Ain

There are lots of places to buy indoor and outdoor plants in Al Ain.

One great place is a small nursery near to the Al Ain Mall…

If you are approaching the Mall, where it is coming up on your right-hand side, turn left at the lights just before the Mall, heading north in the direction of Lulu Hypermarket.

At the next lights, turn left and within 10 yards turn right into the nursery.

The white building on the left houses the indoor plants…

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Prices are good. These pots can cost 35% less than similar ones in Ace Hardware in Bawadi Mall…

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The guys here will re-pot up plants for you…

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Hasan, on the right, is from Alexandria, Egypt. He did a 4-year agriculture degree there. He knows his onions (as we say in the UK), when it comes to which are the best plants to buy. And he has a great sense of humour. Ajim, his assistant, is on the left…

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So if you want to get any indoor or outdoor plants to make your villa/apartment more like a home, do pop along and meet Hasan and his colleagues.