It is more than 4-5 months since I had visited this place, Dubai! We stayed there for 4 days. The trip was arranged from home. We visited this place on our way back from the U.S. Let me write about some interesting anecdotes I heard and saw over there.
We could see many many Indians everywhere, esp. Malayalees! Hindi is enough to roam around here! The driver cum guide told me many things about Dubai. They are very well paid. But everything from home rent to food, is expensive. He was a Pakistani. He had been working here for the past 8 years and had visited his family in Pakistan only twice. He had 4 children(!). Two were in college. He said that though the work was tough, long hours, money was good. We had 3 drivers for 4 days and all of them said that the country is free of thieves and no teasing or harming women, no corruption and NO INCOME TAX! Whatever you earn, you keep!
I thought that Dubai was a desert and so I won't find any trees except Palm trees. No, many areas were covered by trees and we saw very well maintained lawns.
The UAE was created by their late King Zayed (whose photo was found everywhere!) which had made it one of the richest countries in the world. More than Oil money, they are targeting on 'Tourism' money. So many world class resorts, hotels etc. are found here. I could hear Bollywood and Arabian music throughout the night from our hotel...night life for the tourists! Bollywood films are famous and music, more famous! They have started encroaching the sea also. Filling the sea bed with rocks and mud and building houses and resorts there, it seems! Again, tourism is the main aim.
I saw one music reality show like ours in their TV. Girls were dressed up well, with modern dresses. They were either sitting or just standing while singing...middle aged men were sitting, many were there, opposite them and when the girl started singing, these men got up and started dancing...just rotating themselves with their Arabian dresses! Funny. No girls or women danced!
I loved the desert safari ride! The vehicle was a land rover and the driver was a Malayalee (!). 3 other passengers (again Malayalees!), apart from me and my husband were sitting with our belts tied and hands holding the handles above our head. These 3 people knew somebody and had hired this particular driver who drove us recklessly on top of the high mounds of sands and brought down as if the van would roll over...like head over heals! You know me well by now, I was laughing and my husband was glaring at me! But after getting down, he appreciated the driver for his control over the vehicle! We had never expected this ride to be like this! The height of thrills, really!
One more thing I noticed was, most of the buildings were painted in beige colour as if they were built by the govt., even the independent houses in posh localities. The driver said that they were painted in sand colour because they got sand storms often and the sand dust covered everything, even the huge buildings, with sand. It was tough to clean them all the time. So this colour, which blends with the sand! What an idea, Sirji!
Apart from gold, which is famous and sounds cheaper than our country, tourists bring home badam, dates and saffron. Gold is purer, we were told. 2 Gold Souks (markets) are there with hundreds of gold/jewellery shops! We paid one dirham, crossed the waterway by a boat and reached the market place, first the old one. Small small shops with lots of local curios which were quite interesting and then to shops like the ones we see in our country. We had a cup of local chai from a small tea shop and it was very good. Again, nobody glares at tourists! We had lunch at Sangeetha restaurant! Many Indian restaurants were there. On one day, lunch was at a Gujarathi restaurant!
Now, to the pictures:
|We went across the waterway just for one dirham to the market in this beautiful boat.|
|Independent houses in a posh area. Only locals can buy property here. Others can take houses on lease. For starting a business here, it can only be with a local partner's collaborations, it seems. Is it so?|
|Clean beaches...Looks beautiful! The whole city is clean!|
|The latest mosque built in honour of King Zayed, we were told. I went around wearing an abaya (purdah, long black gown covering women from head to toe...only face was visible!). Everything is new here, in this mosque.|
|The wall hanging in the shop where the man was knitting. Threads of different colours are knitted together to bring beautiful images. Amazing!|
|A well in the 'village'. I have seen same type of wells in my village too, in Karnataka, India, near farm lands, when I was small!|
|Dubai 'village' ducks! One is sleepy...it was hot in the afternoon!|
|Burj Khalifa...the famous, tallest building in the world, a replica inside the Burj Khalifa. Wiki link is here about this!|
|Gold Souk (the famous Dubai Gold market). It was very crowded in the morning before lunch. This photo was taken at lunch time and it was a Friday, namaaz time! Noticed many Indian stores too like Shyam Jewellery, Damas, Joy Alukkas etc.. Wiki says 'By some estimates, approximately 10 tons of gold is present at any given time in the souk.|
|My memory about Dubai is these concrete buildings in different shapes and sizes and the Sand (desert safari which was beautiful but lasted for half an hour or something, i.e. driving on the sand). (this is wiki picture!)|