Its True! Bournemouth “Gaza Strip” DOES exist – at least thats what the locals in the suburb of Charminster call it …
Bournemouth – An Introduction
“Sunny Bournemouth” is just 100 miles away from London, on the south coast of England – it is nearly opposite the Isle of Wight, and famous for its music festival and many yacht regattas.
The town is home to over 200,000 people, which swells by many thousands at weekends and during the Summer months – it is a well known resort with many hotels, restaurants, and leisure activities on-hand.
At one point in Bournemouths history there were more hotel bedrooms within its boundaries than any other city in Europe outside of London, with approximately 30,000 beds.
The town also benefits by being a premier English language teaching centre, with many schools attracting students from all over the world to learn English.
Where to Go – What to Do
Bournemouth is in the county of Dorset and is an ideal tourist base. Tourists benefit from a nine mile Sandy Beach, and it is well-placed for visits to Salisbury, Stonehenge, Winchester, the New Forest and Dorchester (the famous market town residing in whats known as ” Hardy Country”). The Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site is only 45 minutes away, with over 90 miles of stunning coastline containing fossils dating back 180 million years recording Earths history.
The weather is so clement in Bournemouth that Palm trees flourish year round. Its a very green town, with many parks and an abundance of fine Championship golf courses. It also benefits from its growing international airport, which already services many European countries, with direct flights to major cities and resorts in the Mediterranean.
Nearby is the Sandbanks Penisula, which has some of the most expensive homes in the world – the houses have beautiful views of the Purbeck Hills and across one of the worlds largest and most stunning natural harbours anywhere – it provides the perfect environment for sailing and watersports. The mudflats and salt marshes are an ecological paradise for roosting birds.
There are three theatres – The Pavilion, The Pier Theatre and the Bournemouth International Centre. We also have multiplex Cinemas, the Russell Coates Museum, an oceanarium. two piers, beautiful gardens and a pedestrianised shopping area running from the east to the west of the town joining at the the Town Centre called The Square, which usually has a number of attractions throughout the year culminating in the German Christmas Market. The town also boasts its own large international conference and exhibition Centre called the B.I.C. At certain times of the year the main leisure centre has an ice rink installed. During the Summer months there is a free firework display near Bournemouth Pier on Friday Nights.
Bournemouth is also one of the hottest spots in Europe for young people going clubbing. It is also a firm favourite for stag and hen parties.
Bournemouth was recently voted the “Happiest Place to Live in the United Kingdom” – it received a vote of over 82% to take first place.
The ” Gaza Strip “
Let me reveal all about the “Strip”. I have already mentioned the great influx of language students visiting our town – they used to come Spring to Autumn, but nowadays the schools are very busy all year round, such is the demand for English as a language worldwide. The consequence is that Bournemouth has become one of the most truly cosmopolitan towns in the United Kingdom.
To answer the needs of these new temporary residents, the main street in Charminster has burgeoned with bars, restaurants, cafes and shops selling exotic ethnic foods. Most of the owners of these outlets tend to be from the Middle East, with Italians, Spanish, Portuguese and Turkish people supplementing their numbers. Korean,Japanese,Chinese and Asian foodshops are on the increase. It has made the main street a vibrant and colourful place to eat, drink and shop.
The bars and restaurants tend to serve food and drink all day long – you wont go hungry on the Gaza Strip.
There has, I have noticed, been a change in the body language and traditional greetings of the English, due to the influence of the traders and the students – many more men kiss and hug each other in the street quite readily! I have also noticed more back-slapping and handshaking than would have been seen previously.
All in all, the Gaza has benefitted the community as a whole. Also, due to the Smoking ban in shops and bars, there are more people lining the street – they have adopted an almost bazaar-type comradeship. If you take a ride along the Gaza, youll notice the number of people calling out to each other with jokes and comments across the street, previously unknown in conservative England.
Depending which end of the strip you start from, the boundaries of the “Gaza” are as follows: starting from the north, you have Sinbads Restaurant at the traffic lights, commonly known as “Kebab Juction and the Corner of the Gaza” (this was a genuine instruction to a taxi driver by a passenger, and he was taken straight there), you reach the end of the strip in the south at Tesco Express. In-between these junctions, you can feast on just about any mouthwatering food you desire.
Restaurants & Bars
Listed below are but a few of the venues on the “Strip”. I have also included the nationalities of the owners, who have spotted the opportunity to provide services to an extended community. They are to be congratulated for their foresight and capital investment in turning what was a mediocre suburban shopping street into a vibrant experience for all to enjoy.
In no particular order:
Serves mainly continental food and a varied selection of wines, open until late, very popular in the evenings, gets very busy, mainly due to the efforts of Miguel, Marco, Einstein ( Ali ) Guzel and Ishmael the Boss -all great lads who always have a smile and a welcome for you… not to mention their wicked cocktails.
The Nippon Inn
Japanese / English Owner
This little restaurant and bar is run by Steve and his Japanese wife; they are right next door to Sebis, and serve some amazing versions of Japanese food resembling Spanish Tapas… nice people.
This small, friendly bar restaurant has a reputation for Italian / Spanish food with a fair smattering of Middle Eastern meals. It benefits from having a very sunny patio, where you can while away the time and enjoy eating garlic olives, a slice of pizza and a glass or two of wine whilst watching the antics of the people parading up and down the Gaza. Tariq is mine host and will always give you the time of day.
Serves mainly Italian food and wines together with that lovely Peroni beer, open until late, very popular in the evenings, gets very busy – they have great Jazz nights and always do their best to provide lively entertainment.
Sal e Pepe
A great Italian restaurant operated by the lovely Nikki and Nico the owners, upmarket food and drink for the discerning, just wish they opened at lunchtime again.
Certainly the most famous Italian restaurant on the strip, very friendly, and ably run by Ann and Lorenzo for many years. This restaurant has a very long association with the soccer fraternity, having hosted many dinners for professional footballers when they have come to compete in the town.
You also have the following to choose from:
Havanas Night Club… The Vibe Nightclub… Bar Zuka… Retro… San Miguel… Baraca… Damascus… Bedouin… Pasa Mr Falafael…
STOP PRESS… Soon to be opened by an Englishman will be an “American Diner” – ah, but he is half Italian… God bless.
All of these venues, and this is by no means a complete list, are owned or operated by the following nationalities:
Lebanese, Israeli, Turkish, Morroccan, Palestinian, French Algerian… these great people have made the “Gaza Strip” what it is today. Many Thanks, all.
The Sad Part
I have a sad observation to make, there is only One pub on the Gaza. Its called the Richmond Arms, and what a state the Brewery has let it get into. It has one of the biggest Gardens of any pub locally, and borders a least 100 feet of the “Strip”, separated only by dingy railings. This once happy and vibrant community pub is now in a disgraceful state of decor. The opportunity to be a showcase on this thriving street, and to attract back a bountiful customer base,is being ignored. Given the effort our Middle Eastern friends have put in (and quality, too ), the brewery should be ashamed.
Why do the people of Spain enjoy the freedom of choice when it comes to where you can and cannot smoke in a Bar / Restaurant environment.
I am led to understand that if premises are under a certain square meterage say 100 or that said premise only has a capacity for upto 100 people then they can apply for and are granted a license which they display on their front door advising the public that they make smoke within…how sensible.
The question is of course …..can it be done in the United Kingdom.
A Good Part
For the first time this year, an event known as the Bournemouth Sevens will be staged at the sports facilities near the Airport, 31st May and 1st June 2008. I have copied some information below should you be interested.
Roger Woodall, Director of Diamond Sports Events, a former rugby player and founder of Bournemouth Sevens, realised there was a unique opportunity in England to create a two day festival on par with world tournaments such as Dubai, Hong Kong, and Amsterdam. His goal is to make this annual festival the largest in Europe, appealing to everyone from all ages.
This rugby/music festival will be a whole weekend of entertainment!
It will be a magnificent event for years to come. Not only will there be 24 national teams fiercely competing for the number one spot, we are pleased to announce our special guests the England Rugby World Cup Winners (Lewis Moody, Martin Johnson or Jonny Wilkinson TBC), plus numerous international and premiership rugby players. In addition, the world-renowned band Electric Mayhem will be performing live at the festival. Not only will they get the B7s Arena rocking, they also bring a huge production and PA system.
B7s will be a truly exclusive experience, held at the picturesque venue of Bournemouth Sports Club. It will be transformed into the ultimate sporting arena with 65 acres of picturesque grounds and a capacity to cater for 10,000 people each day. We are also very lucky to have our own parking and camp-site for 3,000 people.
We welcome all Rugby clubs, Hockey clubs, Netball clubs, sports clubs, Universities and anyone who is up for some fun.
Be the first to experience this carnival weekend! Find more information at http://www.bournemouthsevens.com
Why not visit the Gaza Strip after the events of the day finish and Party On…
And if you are visiting Bournemouth with a group of people and need Hotel Accommodation why not use our Services….. http://www.hotelsmart.co.uk
Welcome to the ” Gaza Strip “… whenever.