Saturday, 1 February 2014

Dubai Creek

Today I decided to try and find my way to the older parts of town, from before the oil and building boom where there's still some unique middle eastern character to be found. It turned out to only be half an hours walk from my hotel, it's just a little complicated getting there as like i've mentioned, sometimes there's just nothing in place for pedestrians (there's at least 4 major roads in the town that you have to catch a taxi to get from one side of the street to the other as there's just no foot bridge). 

The walk from the Golden Sands complex to the creek was really interesting, as the area I'm in is pretty sterile with all the building being purpose built for tourism, then I had to walk through an area which is the home to most of Dubai's working class, mainly imigrants from the surrounding middle east. This part was really interesting as it was anything but touristy and was filled with authentic lebanese, pakistani, and iranian resturants. Once you get through the resturants I came to the Creek.
 The main way of getting across the creek hasn't changed in years, even with Dubai's massive growth. Abra's are these open boats which sail from one side of the creek and back and they were constantly ferrying people back and forth.

After finding a seat in the shade and watching the abras I hit the hustle and bustle Bur Dubai Souq - I went looking for a pashmina but I wasn't prepared for the stall owners tactics and I didn't spend as long as I'd have liked as it was a little crazy (One guy just threw a pashmina over my head as I walked past in an attempt to get me to look at his stall.. )
I'm glad I went to the Souq though as it was fun, despite feeling a little out of my depth

 On my way to the Mosque I passed this beautiful building and I had to stop and take a photo! Im not entirely sure what it is, I think it might be the Hindu temple? I can't find it on any of my maps but it  so beautiful in the mid day sun!

 This is the Dubai Museum. One of the oldest buildings in Dubai it shows the history of Dubai, from a small settlement of camel traders to one of wealthiest cities in the middle east with a booming trade.
 Just across the street from the museum is the mosque, I've been told alot of people aren't keen on people photographing mosques so you'll just have to take my word for it being pretty stunning. I'd timed it perfectly as just as I walked out of the mueum the call to prayers started. There was something incredibly haunting about the sound of the call, especially as you can hear it being echoed through out the city as all the other mosqes (of which there hundreds) signal the hour. It wasn't simply hearing the call but seeing hundreds of men stop their day and travel to their nearest mosque (all the parking spaces which were deserted suddenly filled within 5 minutes)

It was easy to feel like I'd stepped back in time, men in traditional dress would made their way up the steps, remove their shoes and enter the mosque, in the same way muslims have been praying for hundreds of years. And yet, every so often there would be a man in a suit, following the exact same rituals and the contrast of the modern world and such a traditional and unchanged ritual was really fascinating to see.
The Call to Prayer rendered the streets almost deserted as almost everyone was inside, it was at this point I decided to head to the Bastakia Quarter, one of the oldest parts of town which has recently been cleaned up and promoted. It was full of these shadowy streets and although the Bastakia quarter is pretty small it's impossible to not get hopelessly lost as soon as you step foot inside. 

 There were a handful of men still making their way to the mosqe, here in particular it felt like I'd step back in time
 I loved the Bastakia quarter and I manged to get some lovely shots while everyone was at prayer, it was so peaceful and tranquil. Yet once prayers finished the bastica seemed to come alive, it was still relatively quiet but there were people giving life to the narrow walkways.
P.S Today I got proposed to by a random man...

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