Nicola Jane Ablett shares her experience of moving to the relaxed emirate of Ras Al Khaimah
from the pulsating capital city of the UAE
After 18 years of living and loving Abu
Dhabi, it was hard for me to relocate.
I reached my decision due to a
random opportunity to work as a trainer with
two national cohorts at the Centre of Excellence
for Applied Research and Training (CERT),
on an ADCO PASS Programme at the Men’s
Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) in Ras Al
Khaimah. However, after spending eight weeks
in the emirate in 2011, I fell in love with Ras
Al Khaimah and started my research into the
possibility of moving lock, stock and barrel to
the emirate, to redress the balance of life and
enrich the quality of my life.
Moving to Ras Al Khaimah was made easy
because of the facilities offered by the Ras Al
Khaimah Free Trade Zone Authority (RAK FTZ).
Opening a company in the free zone played a
substantial role, and was a major attraction in
moving to the emirate.
Although my friends showed apprehension
in my centre being able to adjust to the
dramatic change in the nature of the two
emirates, I knew it was just the beginning of
My love affair with Ras Al Khaimah began
some 14 years ago when I passed the city on
route to Wadi Al Bih, stopping at the dhow
wharf in the city and sipping on straws cold
coconuts whilst watching the sailors and the
fishermen mend nets with their obvious pride
in their heritage. Ras Al Khaimah at that time
was completely different from the one that we
drive over now.
Ras Al Khaimah has great history and
fabulous scenery, and I find this energising,
and knew I had to relocate to get ‘grounded’
with the source of energy to move forward.
Also, some of my favourite activities like walking,
climbing and exploring the mountains, and
kayaking and swimming in the sea, accessible
within 20 to 30 minutes, were the other
highlights for me.
Archaeology has always been a passion for
me, and there are many archaeological sites
in Ras Al Khaimah, going back to more than
4,000 years. Julphar, as the emirate was known
in earlier times, was on all the prime trading
routes with traders from the Far, Middle and
Near East passing through, leaving all sorts
of wares behind them and taking many local
products onward. From spices to chinaware,
clothes, foodstuffs, metals and everything else
one can imagine are found here, and this is
available in the local markets and the various
souqs of the emirate.
Ras Al Khaimah, with its sea, coastal plain,
lagoon, creeks and the splendid Jebel Hajjar, is
my source of inspiration. Divided by the creek,
where you will find the oldest golf club in the
emirate, is the ‘new’ bridge, which connects the
old Ras Al Khaimah with the new. The emirate
gives fabulous views from everywhere, and
if you stay at RAK Hotel, the oldest in Ras Al
Khaimah, you will have a spectacular view of
the sea, lagoon and the mountain.
The opportunity to drive or wander around
the traditional souqs, view the old mosques,
meander through the narrow streets and arrive at Ras Al Khaimah Museum that is full of
historical artefacts and fascinating information
about the emirate should not be missed. History
was also made in this courtyard recently
when the first classical concert was held here
where an Emirati soprano performed alongside
a cellist and pianist.
Accommodation in Ras Al Khaimah is mostly
large, and has balconies and terraces often with
sea views. The prices, although now rising, are
still highly competitive compared to the other
emirates. There are also good schools for those
who require them, and universities of high
calibre. There are shopping malls and high-rise
buildings mingling together with old structures,
without conflict, and complement each other.
At night, the sky is dark, and there are
always stars to be seen. Wherever you are, you
can see the mountains in all their splendour,
and in different shades depending on the time
of the day and year. Sunsets and sunrises,
whether viewed at sea or with the mountain
backdrop, are just incredible.
The pace of life here is still moderate, and
people have time to greet each other and
enjoy small conversations. The frantic pace
of life reached in Abu Dhabi has not way off
here, and I love the aspect of humanity being
in tune with its environment here. Here, you
still have a community feel, and people look
out for each other.
The social fabric in Ras Al Khaimah is linked
with the traditions, ethics and aesthetics of the
culture and social mores of the population. The
people in Ras Al Khaimah are well-known for
their stories, music and the traditional dances
performed by men and young girls.
The traditional dances are full of meaningful
movements, and the rhythm of the movements
tell stories all of their own but always in keeping
with the values and traditions and a connection
with the community.
I recently discovered Al Wahabiyyah, one
of the oldest art forms of the UAE, something
I had known about before moving to Ras
Al Khaimah, and is still performed in Ras Al
Khaimah. The songs meant for the performance
are divided into three sections. This is
something that I look forward to experiencing
first-hand. These traditional dances can be
seen being performed around the Emirates on
special occasions such as national holidays,
feasts and often at weddings.
This is not to say, as some people outside
of the emirate think, that things are slow in
Ras Al Khaimah. In fact, the emirate is abuzz
with large industries, small and big businesses,
malls and souqs, hotels and resorts, water
and adventure sports, and other social and
commercial activities. The city also boasts a
number of creative minds, and has various
social organisations, managed by residents as
well as the government.
Walking on natural beaches of fabulous
sand, and paddling in the clear sea with a
coastline that goes on for miles, is a delight.
The red sands that glow and shift in front of
your eyes as you drive down the E611 and
ambush you on corners, especially at night; I
cannot explain how much I enjoy them every
time I use the road. Each morning, when
I awake and draw back the curtains, I get
a thrill when I see the mountains. So, do I
regret my move to Ras Al Khaimah? Not at
all. I encourage everyone to look at his or
her work, life and home balance. Apparently,
Ras Al Khaimah has not only given me new
opportunities in the city, but has created
access to the whole of the UAE. I will always
be passionate about Abu Dhabi, but now Ras
Al Khaimah has my heart.
Nicola Jane Ablett has
more than 16 years of
experience in all aspects
of Human Resource
Management in a
variety of business situations and
demonstrates a strong background
and accomplishments both on an
individual and team basis.
She is experienced in both coaching
and mentoring and has a successful