|Across the Creek to Deira
||[Jun. 2nd, 2006|01:04 pm]
With the pitch blackness of the desert all around us, we sat on hard cushions at long, low tables in a Bedouin-style camp laid on for the tourists. It was fun and allowed us to experience a safe and sanitised version of an Arabian camp way out in the middle of nowhere under an amazingly clear starry sky. There were plenty of cold drinks, and we enjoyed a feast of grilled meats cooked right there in the camp, along with salads and desserts. To round off the night we were entertained by traditional music and a belly dancer. |
It was a long drive through the black emptiness of the desert to the highway, then we were back in the city by about 10:30pm where the traffic was still heavy and congested, even at that hour. Jamahl made sure everyone remained wide awake with his aggressive, kamikaze driving.
The next morning V. and I went for a walk from the hotel, across the Al Maktoum bridge, then along the opposite side of the Creek to Deira. Our long hike that day took us through the international business centre of the city, and into the bustling streets and alleyways of the marketplaces.
That afternoon and evening, dictated by the company's timetable, we had booked ourselves on a formal city tour with a guide, but as it turned out the tour revisited many places we had already been to by ourselves, and the guide's diction was very poor. The tour was still well worth it as we went to a few new places like mosques, old merchant houses, a beautiful beach on the Persian Gulf, and the ancient Al Fahidi Fort which is now the Dubai Museum. After crossing the Creek by abra (water taxi) to the Deira side, we did a little exploring of the marketplaces, the main attractions being the gold souk and the spice souk. The spice markets were amazing, with spices in their raw states from all over the middle east, including big sticks of cinnamon, peppers, cloves, frankincense, dried flowers and mint, you name it, along with beautiful fruits like dates, figs and sultanas, plus much more.
I felt like a drink before dinner, but our hotel didn't serve alcohol, so I went exploring and checked out the Ramada Hotel a couple of blocks from where we were staying. I went back to collect V. then we chose one of the restaurants inside the Ramada. A cold beer never tasted so good. For dinner I had a perfectly cooked lightly-peppered steak, and our waiter Mustafa received a tip for his great service.
Flying out the following morning, we were headed for London.