Dubai has always dazed me with the astounding architecture.
It is a wonderland for people who would like to make this place their home. The tallest building in the world, a tennis court floating in the air, a hotel in the middle of the sea and the most recent addition to the list is the rotating building and many more.
However in this city, that apparently seems to be larger than life has a small section that is rather strange and conspicuously different from the glitz and the glam.
To visit this pocket of the city one has to go to Bur Dubai. In contrast to the high end shopping malls with stores like Louis Vuitton , Tory Burch and Tiffany’s you have the Gold souk and the Spice souk. Small shops in the souk are suitable for all wallets. The souks are the traditional markets that were initially started by businessmen from Iran and they have been running the stores for generations. You might get duped with the chaste Hindi from the shopkeepers originally hailing from Iran, while they lend out a helping hand to help you select the best spices in the store. Dried flowers, saffron and other spices, nuts and also dried prawns of various sizes are for sale. I find this place rather enchanting; it almost appears straight out of the Arabian Nights market. The smell of myrrh and frankincense in the air make the feeling even more credible.
But everything sold in these souks are not from the fantasy Arabian world. A lot of people have traveled from India and Pakistan to earn some extra wages to support their family back home. They are selling goods from their respective country like Pashmina and colorful clothes from Rajasthan for tourists who travel from around the globe. Some cheap Chinese products have also made its way to these souks to give a good deal on the price.
What is noteworthy is that the architecture in the souk area is rather simple in contrast to the rest of the city. Wooden arched beams support the souk and the market is occasionally lit by the clear sky. The buildings are simple and are in sand hue to represent the geographical nature of the place with wooden framework for doors and windows. A large number of stores in this area also deal with fabric which is very popular with tourists from Africa and Europe. Pakistani laborers in the city carry the fabric to the store on hand-pulled carts. In a city where you see more Ferrari’s than in the country where it originated this is rather an unusual sight.
The Abra in Bur- Dubai is the creek area which has water taxis that will ferry you across for 1 Dirham. This ride is a must if you are interested in exploring the water ways in the city. Also you may come across traditional vessels floating across the Abra beaming with light and cheerful tourists. You might want to explore the traditional boats or go for a swanky yatch ride to make your trip memorable.
I have a penchant with the old world and time-honored ways which in my opinion makes a place exotic and worth remembering. The modern day malls are so similar that it makes all the cities look alike, a sneak peek into the traditional life makes them unique and adds an unfamiliar facet to the city that sets it apart in the world.