The Souks, The Creek and GOLD!

Amazingly after such a late night we were up pretty early, around 8am, and ready to go.  We headed off about 10 and dropped James and Amanda back at the cruise terminal.  They were sailing tonight.

Lucy and I then drove into the souk area in the Deira area of Dubai.  We parked up in a multistorey car park near the Gold souk.  The Gold Souk proper is surrounded by streets of jewellery shops, perfume shops and spice shops.  It is so much bigger than when I last explored the area about 20 years ago!  We stopped off for a coffee and a sandwich and watched the hussle and bustle go by.  Every few steps you are accosted by touts wanting you to come to their bag shop or their watch shop…..  everyone here is Pakistani or Indian.  Barely a UAE citizen visible.  It felt like I was on the subcontinent.  All very good natured.  Nothing threatening at all.

We reached the old gold souk which is a linked series of arcades, lined on each side with gold and silver shops.  It’s incredible.  The sheer amount of gold on display and the sparkling gems of every type is just breathtaking.  A lot of the jewellery is dowry jewellery: massive, decorative pieces designed to show the wealth accompanying the bride at the wedding.  Honestly, it’s unbelievable.  There are also lots and lots of very appealing to the western eyes pieces.  You could spend a fortune here very enjoyably and very easily if you were so minded.

We wandered about looking in the windows.  Lucy is looking for a new gold chain but it was hard to find a long gold chain that was also a thin gold chain.  They had short thin nes and long heavy ones….the search continues……

After the gold souk, we wandered into the spice souk, the fabric souk and the utensil souk (kitchenalia), finally ending up in the Great Souk which was a mixture of all the rest.    We bought absolutely nothing as it happens but we had tremendous fun looking and we could have bought plenty.

About 230, we stumbled out to the creekside and walked to the water craft pier.  We spoke to the water taxi arranger and got a private dhow craft for 120 dirhams (about £25) for an hour’s tour up and back on the creek.  It was great.  We stretched out on the deck of our small wooden boat as the helmsman steered us down towards the sea.  Past, the old town now dwarfed by the skscrapers, past the Emir of Qatar’s humungous palace  (currently seized I believe).  We had such a great trip — very relaxing and with a light breeze that refreshed.  The creek is unrecognisable from my trip in 1999 when we sailed down it on a sailing dhow.  There were no skyscrapers, no city beyond Deira really, certainly no Marina, no Burg el Arab, no Palm…..  the creek was lined with old sand coloured houses and green trees…  Not now. But for me a boat trip on the creek is still a must do in Dubai.

Once back on the dock, we wandered back through the souks and headed off to a very important appointment: a local beauty salon to get our feet pedicured.  We were using one of the local discount offers.  Another great experience in a lovely salon, staffed by a host of Philippino ladies.

Hope at about 7pm.  We ordered in Lebanese food and settled to watch a movie.

A really good day.