The Deira creekside looks wonderful at night with most of the dhows decorated with coloured lights. Many of the dhows are connected to hotels but others are independent. Dinners on board are very popular, we could see tables decorated in different ways and also vans bringing loads of food. One dhow was set up with an Egyptian theme, statues on shore formed a gateway and everyone had to walk through it to get on the boat.
One boat was a modern, sleek, white design and everyone on it was wearing conservative traditional dress. People on the lovely old wooden dhows varied in their nationalities and clothing styles. While the people on the flash new boat were enjoying what the modern world provided those on the old boat were appreciating the feeling of being in the past. Looked like a weird reversal to me.
Our bodies are now safely back home but our minds are still swirling with thoughts about Dubai. I think it’s because when you’re there so much is happening around you, your eyes see things you just don’t have time to really process. I’m going to post some images that have stuck in my mind and made me think.
In the early evening the Deira creekside came alive with all kinds of people. This group of workers were happy to be out and indicated they wanted me to take their photo. Of course, I obliged. They represent to me all the workers who have left their homes and families to come and work in Dubai so they can send money back home.
Most of the construction workers seem to be Pakistanis, the hospitality workers Filipinos, Abra drivers Bangladeshi and Indian, young Pakistani and Indian men work in the Souks alongside Arabic traders. The workmen you see about the streets during the day all seem to have mobile phones and I think many wait each day for an offer of a day’s work. Loading and unloading the cargo boats would need more than just the crewmen so many would be employed doing that.
The men we’ve spoken to haven’t seen their families for 2 years, one was looking forward to going home for a holiday next year and another was giving up on Dubai and going home on May 2nd this year. He said he was working 12 hours a day driving a taxi but the rules were very stringent and fines extremely high, he didn’t get paid a wage and had to reach a quota before he made any money.
Life is tough for the itinerent workers and I wonder how many of them realize their dream of a better life for themselves and their families.
Squad of itinerent workers amongst the re-bar on a building site.
I read in a brochure about the Ras Al Khor Nature Sanctuary where you could see large flocks of Flamingos, we found the place on the map but that was the only place. One of the crew working at breakfast was exceptionally helpful and explained how to get there by public transport but I’d already asked the concierge about it and he was very keen to get us a taxi, After our last experience with the condescending VIP one (Black car, all black clothes including cap and tie – she matched the car to a “T”) we were a little reluctant but the concierge was convincing. He called up a cab and we got in then the concierge and the driver made every attempt to find out how to get to the sanctuary. The concierge managed to get a phone number for the driver so we set off, the driver with the phone number on a piece of paper clamped between his teeth. He tried to contact someone at the sanctuary but they weren’t answering. While driving he was also typing info into his GPS, then talking to someone else on the phone, presumably HQ, about the sanctuary. W-I-L no, no, L, L for Lima, D , no D for Dad, no, D, yes, yes, yes D for Dubai, F, no F for father. Eventually we decided it just wasn’t working out so we thanked the driver, gave him some dirham and got out.
We went to the Spice Souk, the Gold Souk and then the Fish Market where we were offered whole, big Tuna and Yellow Fin rather than Pashminas and copy watches. I needed a rest then because it was hot walking so we went to our favourite eating place, The Bayt Al Wakeel, where I had another fruit and icecream dish while Alex had a “Hangover Cure”, a delicious drink made from pulped fesh fruit. We walked back to the hotel through the backstreets avoiding as many “nice moustache” traders as possible and calling in at a very convenient little store on the way. We bought some flatbread and a bottle of juice to have in our room. Not a wildlife sanctuary but a cool, peaceful one.
Our flight leaves at 2:05am!
The Fish Market
Not fishing, meditating maybe
The Fresh Food Market
In the Spice Souk
No Farmers Union here
Old Timey Rules
The Gold Souk
Alex tried for a catch but the hit went wild!
Not sure about the cultural significance of hair dyed orange.
Fish chopped to order