Big Bus Tour – Part 4, Or, The Creek

With Dubai Museum behind us and the wind from being on an open top bus cooling us down (how people do this in the summer is beyond me) we set off again.  Sadly it was only a couple of short jumps to our next get off point.  We were headed onto the Creek for a Dhow Cruise.

We also had it perfectly timed because within minutes of being there, the dhow docked and the last tour group disembarked.

Traditional wooden boat

I don’t know who was looking forward so sitting for an hour more… Mum or me!  But we gladly climbed aboard and set off for the top deck.  Again, the manners of people on mass were seriously called into question when they were pushing past us despite seeing that Mum wasn’t as agile as they were, to get a seat.

(One chap knew exactly how much of an a-hole he was for doing it and looked quite embarrassed.  I may have cemented that embarrassment by telling him that he was rude and should be ashamed.  A special shout out to the family who took an entire table for their tribe of under 5’s, and then sat with them on laps and on the floor for 90% of the ride.  I really don’t like people some days.)

On the plus side, we sat on the much quieter and cooler lower deck and I just lept up and down the stairs to take some photos.  I wish I could work out how to put live photos on here as a couple were excellent!!

There isn’t much to say about the Creek really.  It’s a natural river that runs into Dubai and now I believe is linked to the Canal?  I may be wrong about that part.  Who knows.

It is a great way to see the mix of old and new that this area is.

Older architecture
The older buildings are much smaller.
I always love flags in the breeze!
See… much taller!
New architecture

Not only the buildings though but also the old dhows that still bring goods to Dubai.  Once upon a time they would have been laidened with silks, spices, carpets and the like.  Now you can get anything from those to fridges and freezers!

Old working dhow
“Please make my yacht look more traditional…”

I have to say that I still am intrigued with the abras.  Unlike the ones at Madinat, these are full working boats that spend the day crossing the Creek with passengers.  I think it costs a couple of Dirhams and is much quicker and easier than trying to get a bus.  They look scary though.  I mean, what happens if a wave comes by and it gets over the very low sides?!  Can you get waves on a Creek?!

Working abra

Our on board entertainment was provided not only by the other intrepid travellers, some of whom had bought with them huge packed lunches, but by the lady that came around doing Henna.  It is amazing to see how quickly she works and how accurately.  We decided today wasn’t the day for being painted, but I have to say that I would have if we hadn’t had so much adventuring to get through that day.  She was really good and I understand why they are called Henna Artists now.  I certainly couldn’t do what they do.  It is totally an art.

So speedy and talented

I also really was entertained by Mum trying “saffron and honey camel milk ice cream”. She is much braver than me for trying it, but I think this look says it all…

And you all wonder where I get my expressive face from!!

When the time came that we docked ourselves, Mum and I were well prepared for the stampede of rudeness to jostle for first position off the boat and therefore I guess, onto the next bus.  Being the clever people that we are, or rather having Mum with me who is clever, we had already hatched our plan.  We were going to head into the Spice Souk for a while so as to not get pushed off and on the bus.

It has been a good few years now since I was last in the Souqs.  It’s got to be at least 3yrs ago, if not 4?  It has changed a lot which is a bit sad.  There are not as many spice merchants for one.  They are also a lot more verbally grabby.  Before you could walk along fairly vocally unmolested.  People would try and help when you stopped by there was none of this ‘lookie lookie’ crap, let alone people standing in front of you to block your way.

Maybe this is because of the raise in shops and stalls selling pashminas and general tourist rubbish?  They kind of have to be more in your face so that you don’t miss them?  I don’t know but I don’t like it.  I did like the heap of cushions though.  It looked so pretty!

Colourful tourist junk.

As I have already said, Mum and I are ninja masters of withering looks and my vocal tones when I am unhappy really are on point.  We weren’t bothered for too long but it was annoying none the less.  I think I would have stopped to look and probably buy a lot more had the spice people been the calm types from before.

There was however one chap who was old school still and who stood back until Mum asked him what something was.  He then explained everything but at no point pushed a sale.  I would have bought from him but all I wanted was Madagascan vanilla pods but saffron and he had neither. I made a mental note that if/when I go back, I will try his shop out first.

No clue what most of this is!

That is the other thing I noticed.  Even the shops that have managed to stay are now branching out.  They all appear to have some form of potpourri.  I’m not sure it was meant as that but that’s what it reminded me as.  I am pretty sure, if memory serves me, that they were suggesting it was a good way to make teas.  I will pass thanks!!

Beautiful vibrant colours

I was momentarily tempted to get Mum some Jasmin tea, but couldn’t decide if ‘Jasmeen’ was the same thing, and which of the two was the right one.  I decided sticking to Twinnings was the better option!

Is it Jasmin?

More odd things I noticed included that there was a huge array of dried and sugared fruit, nuts and seeds that I hadn’t seen before.  I guess you have to keep on top of things to keep your business going, but I felt that there was a lot less spice varieties on offer.  Not that I could tell you what was missing.  I kept getting distracted by the huge amounts of personal grooming products also on sale in the shops.  I am not sure I would like to by spices from a shop that also sells foot files!!!

This used to be loads of different spices in this space

One last thing… and this really was quite cool… I have never seen cinnamon the size of this before!

Bloody huge!!!

I have no clue what you would do with half trees like that but it really amused me!!

We had thought our time in the spice souk would have taken a little longer, but because it is literally just a handful of shops now, we had time for a little amble along the side of the dhows that were unpacking where I managed to get a pic of them unpacking fridges so you know I am not making it up!!

Only sealed when they get here, which was interesting to see.

My favourite picture of this section of the trip has to be this one though:

Funny birdies!

I have never been so close to them to notice what cheeky little faces they have.  Random piece of information for you there to end this section free me up to write Part 5!!

7 Comments Add yours

  1. Expat Panda says:

    I want to try the camel ice cream!

    1. I don’t mind camel milk ice cream. I tried it at Ripe Market. I just think the flavour sounds ghastly!!!

  2. Haha funny face! 😀
    Congrats to Mum indeed for daring the Honey-saffron experience. It is an acquired taste, mostly loved by the Emiratis. That’s how they like their saffron dish ; strong!
    You should have tried the chocolate flavor…

    1. Sadly they didn’t appear to have any other flavours on offer, but we shall try the chocolate one next time!! 🙂

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