Wednesday, February 20, 2008

More on old Dubai today...

This is the second post, which I meant to do much earlier than this, on Dubai's older shopping areas that I so much prefer to the new malls.

The first one was about Satwa and today it's the area in Bur Dubai around Al Faheidi Street.

The shopping district is between Bank Street and the Creek, with Al Faheidi Street running parallel to and in between them. Bank Street, by the way, has a big concentration of computer stores, especially clustered around the junction with Mankhool Road.

This part of Bur Dubai is another area of mainly small roadside shops with a bewildering variety of things to see and buy. From designer clothing to the cheapest clothing, souks, supermarkets, hardware, household goods, name it and it's almost cetainly here.

It's also a residential area of course, and it's quite different from the over-the-top opulence the world thinks all Dubai consists of.

These local shopping areas are attracting little clusters of gold shops selling the traditional Indian and Arab jewellery now that the gold souk is catering more for western tourists. I've always thought it makes the most stunning window displays.

The area is full of little cafes, restaurants, juice bars all adding to the atmosphere, especially with the hunger-making smells coming from them.

It also has dozens of the little lanes and alleyways, most with tiny shops both sides. And they're perfectly safe to walk down - a side of Dubai that often gets forgotten or we become blase about. It really is astonishingly safe for a city of its size.

You can start up in Bank Street and just wander in the direction of the Creek, checking out all the little streets and lanes and eventually you arrive at the souks.

Down by the Creek there are some household goods shops, crammed from top to bottom with kitchen gadgets, cutlery, pots & pans and stuff I have no idea what it's for, sweet shops, spices, pharmacies, travel agencies - as I've said before, if you don't know where to find something just go into one of these older shopping areas and you'll find it.

This Creekside area is where the textile souk is located, wholesale and retail, and there's more material on offer than anyone could ever need. The materials, the designs, the countries of origin, the vast choice is amazing.

There's also the more general souk with a lot of touristy stuff but also amazing bargains for the rest of us. For example, a Pashmina shawl for Dh10 is great for tourists, but it's also not a bad buy for residents considering the cold weather we've been having.

And of course there are watches and shoes and bedsheets and hats and T-shirts, antiques, leather belts, jackets, snacks, juice...

Then you eventually arrive at the Creek, my favourite part of Dubai. The sights, the sounds, the smells of the Creek - that's Dubai.


LadyBanana said...

Lovely, brings back memories of my holiday back in January. We went over to that area on the day we went to Bastakia.

alexander said...

Neat post - a host of great (and soon to be lost in the race to rebuild?) places, but I have to say I absolutely love the last picture!!!

Seabee said...

Thanks, I'm pleased with that one too :-)