The Dubai Creek and the Souks were closer to my expectations of a Middle Eastern city… The Arabian architecture, the people in traditional dress, and the incredible HEAT!
After a very pleasant morning wandering around the Dubai Marina, and an excellent breakfast in an outdoor restaurant (in the shade), we caught the Metro and headed for the Souks.
The Metro in Dubai is fully automatic, driver-less, spotlessly clean, perfectly safe and very well signposted. In spite of that, we still managed to get lost!
Well, not really lost – we were headed for the station called Dubai Creek, only to find out that was actually a water-park, and was closed. It was also in the opposite direction from where we wanted to be.
In case you’re ever on the Dubai Metro, looking for the Creek and the Souks, head towards “Al Ras”.
After the air-conditioned comfort of the Metro station, the heat outside was impressive. I reckon it was about 35 C, in the shade….. another tip: take a wide-brimmed hat and a dark coloured umbrella if you’re walking outdoors, unless you want a serious tan in five minutes flat!
We walked along the Creek to where the water taxis were operating. These are very interesting; wooden craft (I hesitate to call them boats) for short trips up and down the Creek. They are obviously well-regulated because each taxi has a cover, a number, two fire extinguishers and two life belts.
Canon 60D, 20mm prime lens, f/6.3, 1/400 sec, ISO400
Unfortunately, each one normally transports at least 10-15 passengers!
Canon 60D, 20mm prime lens, f/6.3 1/400sec, ISO 400
As you can see, these taxis sit pretty low in the water, and there is nothing to to stop you falling in the water. I would definitely not take my toddler on one of these! (If you look carefully at the water-taxi on the left in the picture above, you will see two prams – those mothers are obviously more brave than I would be….)
Fortunately, there are no waves and hardly any wind.
Further down the road, we came upon the boats offloading goods for the many Souks.
Canon 60D, 20mm prime lens, f/2.8, 1/400sec, ISO100
(with HDR processing in Photomatix, and a Sepia tone added)
Life on board one of these vessels can’t be easy….
I loved the ornate deck on this one – note the carved wooden roses!
(Cropped from the photo below)
We had driven past this same boat two days earlier, which was a “Sunday” so no-one was working, and I noticed that all the cargo had been stacked on the pavement. Being from crime-ridden South Africa, my first thought was “That’s stupid – that stuff won’t be there tomorrow morning!” But I was wrong – two days later that pile of goods was still sitting there in the baking sun.
Canon 60D, 20mm prime lens, f/5.6, 1/125 sec, ISO100
Across the road, we entered one of the Souks. It was a lot cooler under the woven ceiling. The market was typical of most markets I’ve seen – mainly Chinese and Indian goods, very cheap, but great fun to browse through.
Canon60D, 20mm prime lens, f/2.8, 1/30sec, ISO320
I could have spent hours wandering around the markets, but we were running out of time. We had an appointment for a trip to the Burj Khalifa observation deck. I wasn’t going to miss that for the world!
In my next post on Dubai, I will share photos of our Desert Safari.