Thursday, 29 April 2010

Old Dubai

One night, we took the boys downtown to the old part of Dubai. It's the old downtown, it's the heart of Dubai from years ago. It's still home many of the gold souks, the fabric souks, the spice souks, the carpet souks and many other places for businesses to buy their wares wholesale. Parts of the souks are now fairly touristy, but some things are just as they were 50 years ago.

There is a creek that runs through the old part of Dubai and Dubai remains an important port of call for western merchants. Old wooden ships called dhows from the far east, India and within the region, would unload their wares in the souks and on the dock. The goods were haggled over and then sent on to their next destination. It's amazing to see these rickety old boats, loaded down with western goods, headed to some far away place across the Persian Gulf or the Indian Ocean! They stack them high and haphazardly. Used cars, rice, TVs and plastic kitchen ware might all be thrown in the same dhow. The contrast of the old boats filled to the brim and decorated with laundry with the modern buildings in the backdrop is fantastic.

We hired an abra, a traditional ferry, to take us on a ride through the creek. Scott and I enjoyed the sights, sounds and the sunset. The boys were not too impressed and really just wanted to hurry up and head to the spice souk and the gold souk we'd been speaking of all day. They loved the spice souk and the shop keepers loved them. They were given sweets and allowed to touch and smell everything. This is still a fascinating part of the city for me.

A few familiar brands as we walked the busy, crowded streets......

The McDonald's was jam packed! And there was a separate line for ice cream cones which they sold for 1 dirham which is about 30 cents.

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