A Look at Old Dubai
The irony of old Dubai is that it isn't really that old. In fact, it is less than 200 years old and for most of that, it was little more than a town. My how things have changed.
The new parts of the city are massive and modern. The city is built on a scale that few other cities can match. It is an oasis in the desert. It has become a destination and is worth a stop for a few days just to see what all the hype is about.
This post just focusses on the historic town which includes the harbour and old market.
The harbour is the mouth of a creek that opens onto the Persian Gulf. It still maintains a lot charm and seems far removed from the glitzy skyscrapers that form the horizon.
Part of the harbour's appeal is the old ships docked, and passing by along with all the merchandise accumulated on the pier. In most of world, these scenes exist but they are usually located behind locked fences so you never get a good opportunity to see them.
Nearby lies an area that contains restored, traditional merchant homes. They are open for a visit. The large concrete structures were surprisingly cool and airy, though somewhat stark. The neighbourhood was also quite pretty, complete with flower gardens and mosques.
The real highlight of the old town was the market. The gold market in particular. On the street, the live price of gold was displayed. Almost every thing sold was 22K gold and weight dictated the price over workmanship. Store signs would boast more than 25kg of gold items for sale. We did not leave unscathed. Tracy got a bracelet, and somehow fittingly, we also bought some saffron from a small merchant tucked in a cozy corner. It all felt like you would imagine the middle east should feel like.