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As one might expect in a Kingdom with fairly tight control of its society, Dubai does not have much in the way of street art. The one exception to this, at least that I encountered during my visit, was in the Al Fahidi Historical District.
The district is one of the older surviving neighborhoods in Dubai and was home to merchants and traders, many from Iran. Their homes have been restored and have converted into offices, cafés, art galleries and small shops. Interspersed was some art, mostly murals quite nicely done. But there were other interesting sights like some sculpture, a small garden growing in recycled soda bottles — even some antiques outside a café.
A pleasant and safe neighborhood in which to …
Dubai Creek is the main geographic landmark of Dubai. The Creek, 14 km long, divides Dubai into its two original neighborhoods – Deira Dubai and Bur Dubai. The Creek has played a major role in the history and economic development achieved by Dubai beginning in the days when desert nomads first settled on its banks in the 19th century. Dubai Creek has been a center for the traditional pearl trade and now for international shipping and trade. The Creek was dredged and widened decades to ago to allow larger ships ease of entry.
Abras on Dubai Creek…
Situated in the Bur Dubai, adjoining Dubai Creek, is the Textile Souk. This is a pretty market district located within a restored traditional bazaar, its buildings and walkways shaded by a wooden roof (the shade providing welcome relief from the almost unbearable desert heat). There is a main central lane to the market, with side alleys leading to smaller shops.
Most of the shops are now operated by Indian (rather than Arab) traders and the merchandise sold varies from the colorful bolts of cloth (cotton, silk, some embroidered), dresses, blankets, slippers, and assorted Dubai souvenir items. Bartering is expected and often lively. Many of the shops have tailors who can sew you a dress or shirt and have it ready before you depart …
Where does one go on a hot summer day in Dubai when the temperature is up around 40oC? It seems everyone goes to the mall!
Dubai has many beautiful (and wonderfully air-conditioned!) shopping malls, most filled with the kind of shops you find on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. Among the first of these built was the Mall of the Emirates which has more than 560 shops selling most everything you could possibly need or want. There is a large theater complex, a massive food court and many restaurants scattered around the mall as well. There are two adjoining five-star hotels — Kempinski Mall of the Emirates and Sheraton Dubai Mall of the Emirates Hotel — very convenient if you’re a …
In a country of spectacular modern buildings and architecture, the Burj Al Arab more than holds its own. A beautiful white structure, it was built to resemble a dhow sailing into the blue waters of the Persian Gulf. The Burj Al Arab was one of the first big constructions in modern Dubai and like the Eiffel Tower in Paris or the Statue of Liberty in New York, it has come to symbolize today’s Dubai.
Some of the Particulars:
The Burj Al Arab is considered one of the world’s great luxury hotels and is the third tallest hotel in the world. It’s built on an artificial island 280 m (920 ft) from Jumeirah Beach and is connected to it …
When you disembark from the abra (water taxi) that takes you across brackish Dubai Creek and begin strolling the streets of the older Deira neighborhood, you’ll soon enter the market district. A favorite stop here is the spice souk, which you’ll smell at a distance of several blocks before you even enter it. It’s a pleasant aroma, associated with beautiful and colorful displays. The spice souk adjoins the popular gold souk and, like it, is shaded by a high roof.
There are large piles of spices in front of the many shops in the souk, including cooking spices, frankincense, cinnamon, rose (and other flower) petals. You’ll find an assortment of dried fruit as well. One of the most popular spices sold …
Dubai is surreal in many ways — an extravagant oasis in the desert that most logically shouldn’t be, at least were it were not for the influx of billions of dollars of petrodollars. Opulent, overdone, but still fascinating.
As many of you know, I collect photos of signs. The signage of Dubai proved an interesting hybrid. While mostly targeting Emirati citizens, it also needs to appeal to the large population of expats living and working here and to the city’s extensive tourist traffic. As such, many of the signs are both in Arabic and in English. As it is a mostly newly built country, the signs are generally clean and modern, and many reflect a luxurious lifestyle.
Some of the signs were …
Like many people, I enjoy chocolate. Especially goooood chocolate! Not only is it delicious, when done right it’s beautiful.
An example of what I mean, I encountered this chocolatier while wandering around the Dubai Mall, the world’s largest mall. The window displays were absolutely lovely — the chocolates were beautifully packaged and wonderfully displayed, as was an Easter-egg styled display of macaroons. I picked up a few pieces which I enjoyed while exploring this vast Mall — an affordable luxury.
Forrey & Galland is a Parisian company, founded in 1912. While the Parisian shops have disappeared, this shop in the Dubai Mall opened in 2008. All chocolate is crafted right here by a staff of 50 artisans.
(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, …