Thursday 6 August – Dubai

First of all this morning we had a visit from the tour company contact who gave us the rundown on the two tours we had booked, a map of Dubai and a bit of a clue as to how to get around etc.  As we didn’t have very much time between our meeting with her and needing to be back at the hotel to be picked up for our afternoon tour, rather than go to the Dubai Mall which is about a 1/2 hour taxi ride away, she suggested we instead go to a closer centre, Dubai City Centre (formerly known as Dereia City Centre) which is only about a 10 minute drive away.

The hotel had a car going there just as we wanted to find a taxi so that worked well and saved a taxi fare.  It is a typical shopping centre, the design seems to be universal, but it is way too hot to play outside for very long so inside with the air conditioning it needs to be.

These men and boys were playing music on drums and singing in the centre.  It went on for ages.  Have no idea of course what the singing was about but they drew a crowd.  There were professional photographers and camera men taking pictures and vision of them so can only assume it had some kind of professional or commercial purpose…

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I need to post my god-daughter’s birthday present to the USA and so wanted to find a post office.  While in a bookstore I got directions to a building across the street.  Seemed easy enough.  Dad wanted to look in an electronics store so off he went and I went to find the post office before we caught a taxi back to the hotel.  Yep, seemed easy.  Follow the sign to the outside world and then cross the road.  Mmmm, fence along road when exit door.  Go back inside.  Find someone, ask directions.  Find outside world.  Discover that can’t walk to that building as there is a construction site making that impossible.  Asked one of the workmen and he said I had to get a taxi – to get from a building on one side of the road to a building on the other side of the road!!  Gave up – too hard and not enough time left before we had to get back for our booked tour.

Our tour for today was the City of Merchants Tour run by Arabian Adventures.  We were picked up at the hotel by the same driver and mini bus  that had bought us from the airport last night and after stopping at a number of hotels along the way met up with the tour bus and guide.  We met where we could get a view of the Burj Al Arab hotel, the palm shaped hotel that has given itself a 7 start rating.  It was only a view though, no getting close or going inside.

From there we drove around Dubai with the Tour Guide, Renata, giving us an informative talk along the way.  We passed by areas where the beach (Arabian Sea) can still be seen…

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There is so much development that the beach is all that accessible anymore.

We stopped at the Jumeriah Grand Mosque…

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We visited an historical site of an old village, Historical Bastkiya. Wandering around the buildings there was an open door, which lead into what seemed to be just a small room but was in fact an entry way with a door leading into a courtyard…

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The tower is a wind tower.  They were used to channel whatever sea breezes that floated by down into the house as a sort of early model air conditioning!

The carvings/mouldings on the buildings are so beautiful.  All those quilting patterns everywhere :-).

And then the Dubai Museum.  At street level there are displays of boats and a house and then you follow a spiral walkway underground where the museum is set up showing various aspects of UAE life – Bedouin and traditional lifestyles, development, water, wildlife.  It’s very well set up and well worth a visit.  And, being underground and air conditioned, respite from the aboveground heat!!

Aren’t these traditional musical instruments great…

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The display of a traditional cloth shop and a traditional tailor of course caught my eye…

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And the gorgeous fabric in the traditional dress display…

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We then went to the Dubai Creek and caught an Abra (water taxi) to travel across the creek to the spice and gold souks.  A souk is a market place.  The spices smelt wonderful and one of the merchants gave us a taste of the most wonderful dates – so not like the dried up tasteless husks that we get in the supermarket at home.

After a wander around the gold souk it was time to catch the bus back for transfers back to hotels.  All in all a most worthwhile tour and a good way to get an overview of both Dubai and the culture. 

Tomorrow we go with the same tour company (and it turns out the same tour guide!) across the country to the other coast on an all day All Points East Tour.

Until next time…

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Posted on August 8, 2009, in Dubai, Trip, UAE. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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