My destination for this past Friday's day off was Dubai. This was my fourth trip to the city. My original plan was to start with a visit to the old section of Dubai, Bur Dubai, and check out the old souks (markets) and the Dubai Creek area, the waterfront area of Bur Dubai; and when it got hot, I would proceed to Souk Madinat Jumeirah, a modern version of the Arab marketplace.
I left Abu Dhabi early, at 8 AM, to beat the heat. With a few stops along the way, I made it to Bur Dubai before 10AM. It took awhile to find a parking spot. Abu Dhabi is usually fairly slow paced on Friday mornings and early afternoons. Not so for Dubai,. When I arrived in Bur Dubai, it was already teeming with people. Dubai is a much more bigger city than Abu Dhabi. I set out walking about first to the Dubai Creek area. There are quite a bit of abras (small boats) offering tours around the waterfront and ride to Deira area of Dubai right across the creek. I did not last long along the waterfront -- it was already hot and humid. I continued on to the old souk area, although still outside but mostly shaded from the sun. The old souk consists of several alleyways of vendors. The souks are covered by high wooden roof beams ing some protection from the sun. After about 10 minutes of walking around the marketplace, I gave up and walked back to my vehicle. The heat and the humidity was unbearably stifling. I thought I would be able to handle the conditions when I was planning for this day trip. It was not to be. I sought out the comfort of an air-conditioned interior location.
View of the abras that transport you, for about 30 US cents each way, back and forth across the creek to Deira.
A couple of pictures of the old souks in Bur Dubai.
I had parked my vehicle at a large supermarket offering 2 hours of free parking with purchase. So I went in to eat at a fast food place inside and purchased palm dates for snack to meet the free parking requirement. After recovering a bit, I changed plans. No question that this was going to be a day spent inside malls. I first went to Mercato, a new mall designed in the architecture style of Venice. The exterior of Mercato looks impressive, and the interior carries the theme of Venetian style architecture. What kills the premise of this mall replicating the northern Italian city experience are the countless extra decorations and embellishments found throughout the mall, such as sunflower cutouts, beach balloons, and kites hanging from the rafters.
The outside of Mercato.
View of Burj Khalifa from the outside of Mercato.
After a quick walk thru the mall and a requisite iced tea at a coffee shop, I proceeded to Souk Madinat Jumeirah -- a large mall designed to resemble the traditional Arab souk. This was my originally planned destination for the midday when it got hotter. This mall is located in a nice area -- by the beach and next to the iconic Burj Al Arab hotel (the sail-shaped structure).
The Madinat Jumeirah is a resort consisting of two hotels and clusters of traditional Arabic houses built around the mall, with its maze-like corridors inside and outside. Waterways link the different parts of the resorts and abras (small wooden boats) are able to transport you all around the resort. Restaurants, bars, and coffee shops, with relaxing outdoor seating (more conducive to night time or cooler season,) line the banks of the waterways.
Inside the souk.
Shisha pipes for sale at the souk.
Interesting teapot for sale at the souk.
Outside the souk.
The Burj Al Arab hotel, shaped like a ship's sail, has been and continues to be a Dubai icon. Photo taken from the Souk Madinat Jumeirah.