Like Eyecandy, I also got the chance to visit the United Arab Emirates last April. I attended my high school friend's wedding and met her good friends. I mostly stayed in Abu Dhabi but got a one day trip to Dubai. This entry serves as an addendum to Eyecandy's.
If E showed you the modern cityscape with its developments, I will to show you the old Dubai, the other side of the global city and business hub. I'm more smitten with the old, rustic area where Dubai started. (Yes, I'm such a history and culture nut. Remember Jeddah?) Shall we go back in time then?
Deira, the area bordered by the Persian Gulf, Sharjah, and Dubai Creek, is the center of Dubai historically but since the booming construction along E 11 Road, the longest highway in the UAE, Deira lost its prominence. Deira has its charms that truly captivated me. I wanted to venture in Port Saeed, a small locality that runs along Deira's shore of Dubai Creek one morning and try to find the allure of Dubai before it became the hotshot city it is today. (I'm nostalgic like that too.)
My couple friends were buying rings in Deira's gold souk. Good thing, they tagged me along in their quest for the perfect wedding rings. (I don't know what's with me tagging along engaged couples buying wedding rings! Remember this? Haha!) From Abu Dhabi, where they are based, we took the bus and traveled 2 hours to Dubai.
Look at the sign above me. It says that the half section of the bus is for Ladies and Families Only. I specifically chose this seat because the sign reminds me of Saudi Arabia where there are divisions according to gender and civil status every where!!! Hahaha! At least all ladies get to have a seat in the bus and the guys are stuck at the back if they don't have their families with them. :P
It was about 11:00 am when we reached Dubai. From the bus station, we had a quick lunch in Golden Fork Restaurant in Nasser Square. The food was good! We had a barbecue platter, tinola and lots of rice!
We started at the Al Ghubaiba Water Station and walked along the creekside with a good view of the busy Dubai Creek. Before riding the abra, we entered a market souk complete with old wooden fixtures and beams. There were local handicrafts like shawls, slippers, and house decors.
|Before entering the souq, we had to pose in front. Yes, we HAD TO. Lol.|
|The wooden structures of the souqs|
|Mosaic lamps for sale on the souq... like the ones in Camel Corner!|
|Embellished shoes and slippers|
|So many designs to choose from!|
|Pretty intricate display plates.|
We passed by a wide courtyard complete with doves and guess what we did? Run after them, of course! Haha! I swear we're just recreating the scene from the movie Milan, only this time, it should be titled Dubai. Oh wait, there is a movie titled Dubai. Right.
Anyway, after having enough photos to scare the locals of a paparazzi invasion, we boarded an abra, a small dhow boat. I was really, really excited to try this as the boats didn't have railings. We just sat on long benches in the middle, along with other people (mostly guys), and take all the water spraying all around us. Fuuuuun! Was I worried I'd fall in the water? Of course not! I was more worried that the cruise wouldn't be long enough for me to enjoy it. But my worries are unfounded. I enjoyed looking at the scenes on the creekside.
|I had to fight the urge to wave at the people on the other abra, haha!|
|Plying the Dubai Creek|
|The scenes on the creekside|
We reached the other side in less than 10 minutes. We had to board a taxi to get to the gold souk.
When we got to the Dubai Gold Market, the friends proceeded in choosing their wedding rings while I hovered around, piping in comments here and there (pakialamera much?!).
While they were busy talking to store salesmen, I walked around the souk and entered small alleyways to see if there are more stores in there. I tend to scare myself sometimes of my tendency to stray away from the crowd and go into nooks and crannies in search for, I don't know, other interesting stuff.
But sometimes it's a good thing because I find really worthy stuff! I found a stall manned by a Pakistani (whose dream is to go and live in Saudi Arabia, can you imagine?) selling all kinds of scarves and shawls (hooray for my collection). And because I'm such a charming lady (*cough*), he sold his wonderful high-quality pashmina shawls for 20 dirhams each. (Come to think of it, I should have hoarded! Bummer!) He also pointed me to a souvenir stall owned by his friend and I really got cheap key chains and display plates for friends. Again, charms at work! ;)
I retraced my steps to where I left my friends and we continued searching for the elusive wedding rings. Finally, in one of the stalls near the end of the souk, they found it. I was surprised to find out that in Dubai, there's no Saudi gold. How come? Isn't Saudi gold the best of the best? Isn't Saudi so near UAE? Why can't they import? Lol. They sell mostly Singapore gold in Dubai. We waited for the rings for an hour because they needed to be engraved with their names. After that, we took the train to go to the E 11 Road where the tall skyscrapers were.
Their metro stations remind me of the stations in Singapore and Hong Kong where escalators are high and steep. The friends also got me an MRT card. For future use also. ;)
So this is the end of my old Dubai journey. But here are a few more pictures from my trip to the new, modern Dubai. I'm quite sure you've seen most of the background from Eyecandy's post. It's funny how we made the same trip to same places in different dates with different people. Ahhh, The Pink Tarha minds... so in sync! Fuuuun!
Seeing the Burj Khalifa as close as I can get, before roaming inside the huge Dubai Mall... We didn't have time to go up the observation deck. If you've read E's account inside Dubai Mall, that's also what I saw. I shopped in Forever 21 nang bonggang-bongga! I also bought a sliver of bubble soap from Lush which I intended to use on my hotel room in Abu Dhabi.
|Their "Candy Days" named Candilicious has Garrett Popcorn!!!|
Saw my favorite popcorn store, Garrett, at Candylicious, their version of our Candy Days in Riyadh Gallery. (Why is Garrett not in Candy Days Riyadh?!?) I bought a large bag of their Chicago Mix which we munched at the Waterfront Promenade outside Dubai Mall while waiting for the Dubai Fountain show.
|The Burj Khalifa lake|
|Me in the middle of Waterfront Promenade among different nationalities.|
The Dubai Fountain is the world's largest dancing fountain. Its an enthralling display of water, lights, and music. See the schedule here. We caught the 7:30pm show. It replays every 30 minutes from 6:00pm to 11:30pm.
|The Dubai fountain is coming to life.|
|The Dubai fountain at work|
|The grand finale has these fountains bursting up high!|
I got a prime spot in front. I was holding my iPhone with my left hand to take a video of the entire performance and holding my digital camera on my right to take pictures! Multitasking! After watching the fountain dance, we took more photos and exited the Dubai Mall grounds to have dinner somewhere. You'll never guess where! :P
|A dinner of yummy sweet savory ribs|
We went to the Souk Madinat Jumeirah and ate in... The Noodle House!!! Hahaha! As if there's no branch here in Riyadh eh? Well, in all fairness, I had this dish of sticky ribs that is not available in the Riyadh branch. And I cannot say no to a dinner treat by a couple who are so in love. :)
|View from the Madinat Jumeirah|
The trip had to end at some point. We were so worried we wouldn't catch the last train back to the bus station so we hurried. And yes, even if we're hurrying, we had to take photos! ;)
|My friend and I trying to catch the train's last trip to Deira|
We reached Abu Dhabi around two o'clock in the morning. I was so tired after I got back to the hotel but I was adamant to draw that bubble bath. That didn't happen at all. I slept immediately after changing my clothes! Haha! I love my friends for taking me to this whirlwind trip to Dubai. And I love them for considering what I want to see and discover in this journey. Thank you so much, Rence and Marlon!
The trip tired me but it's what I wanted to do all along. I want to travel, travel, travel... even if it means being dead to the world after a long day! Hey, I still have my Abu Dhabi stories to come. ;) Want to visit the UAE from the KSA, here's our mini primer on visas. ~ Sundrenched