The walk took me through Bastakiya, the original part of Dubai that's being 'preserved' by the Municipality.
I'd been in Old Town at Burj Dubai the day before and as I walked through Bastakiya I was comparing the two areas in my mind, and remembering what the old parts of town had been like when I was first here in 1977.
I always carry a little pocket digital camera with me, so I'd taken some photographs in Old Town and I took more in Bastakiya.
I've been rummaging through the few 'old Dubai' shots I have with me - the majority are in store back in Oz - and I'll start with a couple of those, taken in 1978.
Looking across from Deira, it used to be like this:
In both Bur Dubai and Deira there were still plenty of the old buildings, complete with their windtowers, barjeel in Arabic. They were a kind of air-conditioning system, long before electricity was available. They caught the breeze and directed it down into the house.
Narrow alleyways and sand rather than paved footpaths, easy to walk on though because it had been trodden down so hard over the years.
The buildings were basically mud walled, reinforced with lumps of coral. Some of that has been preserved in the renovated Bastakiya, but only in small patches:
Some of the restoration work looks almost authentic:
But a lot of it doesn't. It's all too neat and tidy, there's far too much very obvious concrete, the footpaths are very modern, even in the narrow alleyway sections:
And a lot of it looks, well, modern:
In a strange way the brand new Old Town at Burj Dubai almost feels more authentically old than Bastakiya:
The old buildings presumably couldn't be renovated and preserved, they weren't bult of material that would lend itself to that. But I think it's a shame that the final finish on the buildings, the veneer, doesn't look older, doesn't look more like the original buildings. The modern paved walkways could have been much more like the original alleyways too.
Having said that, it's still an area well worth a visit. There are plenty of interesting little art galleries, museums, restaurants for example, all housed in the recreated buildings. In that sense the Municipality has done a great job, it's a fascinating area to spend time exploring.