Dubai is a lot more comfortable than I had worried it would be. The section I am in (View Larger Map) is mostly businesses and small, local hotels. I’ve seen 3 fruit stands in the 10 blocks my friend and I walked, and many more bikes than in Doha. This part of Dubai reminds me more of L.A. or San Jose than Doha. It’s multi-ethnic (mostly men from the subcontinent, but groups of people from the region and westerners), commercial and has wide streets with tons of silk trees (photos soon).
I’ll know more once I’ve seen the downtown up close, but it’s definitely alright here.
Through the excellent navigation of my travel companion, we walked to nearly every souq in Dubai. Having finished my trashy vampire novel, I am out of reading material–except for my trusty Lonely Planet guide to Oman, UAE & Arabian Peninsula, which I am now reading cover to cover.
As always, I loved the souqs and have gotten better at bargaining. I now try to think of it as an acting game, where the salesman and myself both know the scripts of the other but must play along because, well, it’s the script. It makes me feel better about fighting to pay $8 instead of $10 for three lovely scarves.
The most unique experience I’ve had here is the water-taxi (“abra”) across the Dubai Creek (really a river to this Californian). The creek, full of brackish to fully sea-salty water, is the most active port I have ever visited. It is full of boats carrying everything from corn-meal to computers to sell in Dubai. The water-taxis are used by thousands of local workers every day to get across the city. The water is choppy compared to a bay, but the low abras feel safe, even without railings. I took a video of my first ride which I’ll post tomorrow.
Tomorrow morning, we’re off to the beach and the Mall of the Emirates (and Ski Dubai) and may take in the sunset at some level of the Burj Khalifa.
“Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.”– Maya Angelou