I am now a year and half into my Dubai life. Friends have visited and Families have revisited. Together , we have wowed at the glittering edifices of manmade feats and wondered at the monumental hard labour of onsite workers behind the scenes.
When the razzmatazz gets too much for the eyes not to mention our pockets there is one place which beckons ,the streets of old town Dubai.
Unmissable is Meena Bazaar , lined with shops full of meters of fashionable fabrics. Not to mention skilled Indian and Pakistani dressmakers eager to dress clientele for any occasion, at costs which will not even cover the hems of haute couture gowns . Its euphoric to feel like a Mughal Royalty rather than an ignored window shopper.
There are stores galore and then there are ones which scream for attention, the thrift stores with everything 10 AED or under. It has aisles lined from kitchen kitsch to make-up paraphernalia. Happy shoppers are found stuffing their bags just because they can afford to do so. My steal has been a manicure set and sturdy looking all purpose big cloth bag.
The day in old town is never complete without visiting traditional souqs on both sides of Dubai Creek. It can be safely vouched that a stroll down to creek from the museum end, through the artisanal Souq, to legendary *Dhow piers, will fill up the 10 Dirhams cloth bag. Possibly with a Turkish Eye souvenir, a ceramic bowl too pretty to be left alone in the shop and a pashmina for Dubai’s arctic malls!
The experience of **Abra ride to cross Dubai Creek, from Bur Dubai to Deira spice & gold souq is all things opposite to yachting around in Dubai Marina. If Dubai Marina is zumba on steroid , Old Dubai Creek is yoga of ancient times.
Watching anchored wooden cargo boats laden with spices from ancient trading routes , seagulls swooping up and down like forgotten song of pearl divers of yore is a reassuring sight for those seeking the roots of this fast growing glamorous city.
This short abra ride over the creek sets one in the mood for next stopover at Spice Souq. Sacks of dried herbs to infuse teas , aromatic spices to satisfy the palate , dry fruits packed with goodness, precious mountains of saffron . Please call me Alibaba as I have found the treasure trove or have I?
A hop skip and jump away is city of Midas or Old Gold Souq . The saying All that Glitters is Gold , comes alive and how! Jewelry is not my weakness but after visiting the gold souq I may be closer to understanding why Midas wished for a golden touch.
Before heading home on swanky expressway one last indulgence of Mango Falooda Kulfi shake at Mumbai Masti Juice Centre in Bur Dubai is must to take the time tested flavor back until next trip.
*Dhow : Traditional Wooden Boats.
** Abra : Small Wooden water taxis ferry passengers across the Dubai creek . Fare 1Aed per trip.