Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Glitz & glamour & opulence.

What the world sees of Dubai is the over-the-top opulence, the 'iconic' buildings, the huge new malls, the biggest/richest/tallest/longest...

Even expats who've been here a while, years in some instances, haven't seen what I think of as the real Dubai.

I've been posting photos for a while, some that I took back in the late seventies but others of the old Dubai that exists today.

Here's another bunch in that category that I've taken over the last week, in the upmarket, des-res beach suburb of Umm Suqeim.

Shopping? Who needs glitzy marble and glass malls when you can go to the local neighbourhood shops...









To get to the shops you simply walk along nice old streets which are on a human scale...







You'll come acreoss plenty of the free drinking water units outside villas, provided for passers by, a nice touch and a glimpse of the traditional hospitality...



And here and there, the indiginous and beautiful ghaf tree:



There never was much of old Dubai, it was a very small place, and there isn't a lot of it left. See it while you can.

12 comments:

LadyBanana said...

My son lives in the area of Al Manara...

Seeing these photos makes me realise how much I miss him..

Cairogal said...

Definitely is a whole other Dubai in parts of Satwa and Jumeirah. It's not that wealthy vision that many have. I've taught Emiratis who are nurses, police officers, and career military. None of them were earning a salary as high as my own measley teachers' salary. A trip to Ras Al Khaimeh also has that potential to be an eye-opening experience.

Peripatetic Engineer said...

Do you remember when McDermott used to have their fab yard on The Creek? I was there in '79.

There was no organization to the abras back then. You walked down to the creek and got aboard the first one avaailable. The drivers usually refused to let any other passengers on if he had "white" customers. We had the abra to ourselves. It made for some interesting times.

Places to drink were limited to hotels or the McDermott Guest House. We used to drive over to Sharjah (on an empty highway) because there was a pub there. Camels used to wander onto the highway and the Guest House grounds.

Cairogal said...

I just love the expat stories like peripatetic engineer's!

Parth said...

Very interesting. Just discovered this site.

Seabee said...

PP yes I remember McDermotts well - I have a photo of the Creek with it in somewhere, I'll try to find it and post it if I do.
Do you remember the floating hotel on the Creek in front of the Inter.Con? In one of my previous Old Dubai postings I put a pic of it.
And the Safari Club was a great drinking/entertainment venue back then.
And camels - I'll post a pic of gaots and camels wandering about behind our apartment on what's now SZR (Rostamani, then the only building apart from the Trade Centre & Apartments and the old Hilton). Every time we had fog at least one poor old camel was killed on SZR.

Cairogal, there's high unemployment amongst Emiratis too. More than once I've had to correct people who've told me 'all Emiratis are rich'.

LadyB you must visit more often.

Parth welcome to the blog.

MarkDM said...

Interesting photos of what sounds like a disappearing part of the culture. Those old shops look more interesting to this American than Dubai's newest glass-and-steel marvels.

The men's shop with the minaret is priceless. Well done.

Anonymous said...

Lovely pictures. There is something hard to describe about scenes like this Dubai..they're soothing. But every time I see pictures like these on a public forum it worries me. You might just be signing their death warrant by put them up. Somebody might notice...and realise the value of the sand these sit on..and... Paranoia ?

Seabee said...

Thanks Mark. The shops at mosques interest me - I posted a couple more pics back in january and asked about what I think is a newish commercial trend.

anon, I agree with your 'soothing' comment - I think it's because these areas are on a human scale rather than vast buildings dwarfing us.

i*maginate said...

"See it while you can."

Hehe. I fancied doing something random yesterday so compromised an afternoon in Jumeira with an evening in Bur Dubai (Burjuman area - normally out of bounds for me), inspired by your post. Thank goodness it was only 20 mins there...barely any traffic @ that time. We found a private car park where you pay Dhs. 10 ph (or else we wouldn't have found parking) and wandered down the streets and settled for a street-style Indian restaurant. It was a lot of fun!

That area is so different from the rest of Dubai, though: terribly run-down...but blazing with gold shops - and although the area is populated by an Indian majority, some shop windows have signs in Russian!

Seabee said...

i*, that's another indication of changing times - so many shop signs in Russian.

Anonymous said...

Realy nice post , changing time , its good you took pics cause soon it will be history and all these shops will disappear like old Dubai.