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Dubai Souk and Creek

April 11, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 130

The pain had become unbearable. I was exploring by car and the junction-less motorways provided no escape. Eventually, I manoeuvred my way across the Saturday afternoon traffic to a slip road leading to the river. There, the car parks overflowed with tourists admiring the smells and sounds of the time-stood-still 'creek' nee river. Then I spotted my objective...a car space.... and immediately swung the wheel to park up. Jumping out, I didn't bother to pay as I sprinted to the toilet block. Ahhh. I know, TMI, but it led to a little expedition.

I conscientiously purchased a ticket for the princely sum of 30p for two hours and wandered along the quayside in a semi-lost manner. I breathed in the tang of marine diesel on the slight warm breeze, gentle waves lapping at the sea wall. Fully laden mini-dhows ferried people around as water-buses, bobbing enthusiastically from bank to bank. Moored at the quayside were two dozen large dhows converted into floating restaurants, the owners and workers preparing for the evening trade by laying out tables and polishing silverware, lugging baskets of fresh food on board. Not that I recognized half of the vegetables. The Dhows were given exotic names: Royal Palace, Oasis, Ramsee, Nirvana and Amazon. I would advise ignoring one titled 'Unique Ship', as the only aspect unique would be the swim back to shore because the dhow listed so badly to stern....a very dubious condition.

Not being sure of my location, I ambled past the 'Ruler's Court'. I had insufficient time to visit but have added it to my to-see list. At the end of its gold top painted wrought iron fencing, my eye was attracted by a corner shop with an interesting fascia: 'The Royal Touch'. I think that there may have been a few of them in England over the centuries, however I digress. It was a shop full of textiles. Circumnavigating its perimeter, I found myself in a labyrinth of narrow passages or alleyways fronted by one-room glass-windowed shops trading materials of every description. A kaleidoscope of colours assaulted you with an array of printed patterns, vibrant colours, beautiful flowers made from beads and sequins, made-up garments and just plain material, Pashminas aplenty. A true Aladdin's cave. Of course, I'd stumbled across the famous textile souk. I needed Margot to describe everything on display. Next time. I found it truly fascinating. Can you tell I've been on my own too long?

Retracing my steps to the car, and so as not to get lost, I admired the timber-framed structures above the alleyways forming church-like knaves high up and covered in corrugated iron to provide shade and protect everyone from the sun. Not all of the new buildings being built today could evidence the superb carpentry in these ancient roofs.

Emerging from the souk the distant river bank afforded an interesting sight. Sea-going dhows disembarked their goods and stacked them by hand on the ancient harbour-side. Tractor tyres mingled with bags of corn and piles of timber. Behind them stood an array of low-build properties i.e. less than twenty floors high. Modern designs clashed with ornate Arabic styles; some looked like two mirrors, two monstrosities were adorned with watch brand signs, whilst another square sided building possessed a 100ft golf ball on its roof. The mobile phone company HQ, I was to learn later. Behind, workers apartments peeped between the corporate offices to the river, their washing drying on their balconies. The mosque towered above them all.....with a sky dish on the side.....?!?!?

Just as I approached my car a uniformed gentlemen was admiring my windscreen. I had five minutes left on my parking ticket. The warden left disappointed. Just time enough to investigate a crane hoisting articles off a recently burnt-out dhow. I guess the steaks were over cooked last night.

Source: EzineArticles
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