Monday, September 29, 2008

Oh no, not the abras!

My favourite part of Dubai is the Creek. And my favourite part of the creek is the area where the traditional wooden abras and dhows are concentrated.

For those who don't know, an abra is a little twenty-seater ferry running across the Creek between various stations in Deira and Bur Dubai. The fare is Dh1 each way.

An abra station in Deira

Today our beloved RTA has announced that they will be "replaced from next year with a new generation of modern boats that are safer and more efficient."

Yes, yes, yes, that's all very well but I like them as they are. Maybe they are old and smelly, maybe they're not environmentally friendly, maybe they don't have safety systems.

But they're one of the very few links with the past, with Dubai's history. And I love them, I use them whenever I have the opportunity. If I have to go into Deira I almost always park in Bur Dubai and cross the Creek by abra. It always lifts my spirits.

They say the new boats "will look the same as the traditional wooden vessels" but the dogs breakfast they made of the design of the water buses doesn't give me much confidence.
The stories are in EmBiz247 and The National.


Peripatetic Engineer said...

I agree with you. I have a soft place in my heart for the abras. I remember how it was in 1980 when getting an abra to cross the creek was a free for all. Usually, when the abra driver would see expats, he'd kick everyone else off the boat and make an "expats only" run. When I came back in 2007, the first thing I did was to go to the creek and take an abra.

Anonymous said...

Thats not a creek thats a river for god sakes

Seabee said...

Anon no it's not a river, it's a creek. It's an inlet from the Gulf, salt water flowing into it from the sea, which peters out after about 10km. The Arabic name is Al Khor - The Creek.

ZeTallGerman said...

Here's an online poll result I pulled from (newspaper):

e-poll: Should the abras on Dubai Creek be replaced with a new generation of modern boats?
Yes: 25.52%
No: 74.48%
Much of the "old" Dubai may not be perfect, clean, green, shiny or smell like roses: but it's REAL and should be left alone. Something the Emirates will probably only learn once it's too late, and the entire country looks like one big shopping mall.