Friday isn’t normally my favourite day in Dubai, but this weekend DH is here – which means something more adventurous gets put on the itinerary.
So off we went this morning to Dubai creek, the historical part of the city where you can take a ride on an abra (a small water taxi). Amid cries of, ‘But we want to go to Mini Monsters’, we told the boys they’d love it, despite there not being a plastic playarea in sight. This is something different, we said – and, what’s more, the weather was even refreshingly different today – cool, overcast and with tiny drops of rain landing on the car windscreen for all of two minutes.
Taking in the hustle and bustle of the creek is an un-missable attraction in Dubai and strolling along the banks gives you a real taste of the city’s centuries-old trading traditions.
The natural seawater inlet also offers amazing views of old and new Dubai and as we pulled up, the boys practically shrieked with excitement at a luxury yacht-liner. Redirecting their attention to the rickety wooden sailing vessels (known as dhows), we found a water taxi about to set off and climbed on board.
We’ve done the creek with the boys before on a bigger Tour Dubai boat – also a wonderful trip, once we got over BB wanting to play Angry Birds on my phone – but nothing beats ploughing through the water on an abra, narrowly missing the other abras criss-crossing the creek.
Afterwards, we strolled around the wharf where you can see the loading and unloading of the dhows, which still ply ancient trade routes to places like India and East Africa – and, given the Iranian writing on some of the boats, to sanctioned Iran too – just across the water from us. Spices, textiles, hair-dryers, toys, tyres, fridges and even a Range Rover were some of the cargos about to go to sea.
In many cases, the sailors who brave the waters of the Gulf and Indian Ocean live in these colourful wooden vessels, turning each into a makeshift home.
Even the boys were captivated and actually walked for ages – asking, periodically, if we were in London (!) – [whispers] yes, it’s not often that we walk around so much outdoors here in Dubai.
They loved the boats, of course, but BB’s highlights: the underpants drying on the washing line on one of the dhows and the 50-or-so toilets stacked up and awaiting transportation. Why am I not surprised?