Thursday, February 10, 2011

Dubai Part Five (The Souks)

This was probably my favorite day in Dubai.
Not that I am a big shopper or anything, cause I am not.
I just like to see different things, and there was a lot of crap to see this day.
As I mentioned before, Dubai has a lot of Indian cultural influence.
(Indian as in from India, not Native American.)

There are marketplaces down by the area they refer to as "the creek."
The creek is a natural sea-water inlet which cuts through the center of the city.
On one side of the creek is the textile souk.
Gorgeous colors. Hand-beaded table runners, and pillow covers. Beautiful pashmina scarves. All really great prices. I bought some beaded pillow covers. I think they ended up being 3 American dollars each.
Now is the time, post-trip, where I wish I would have bought more...
Aren't these shoes pretty?
I bought a really small pair to put on a shelf. I am sure the ones my size would look like boats on my size 8 feet and probably give me major blisters.
I have to pause here for a story.
Mikayla lost a tooth in Dubai. The tooth fairy paid her in Dirhams. (Dubai currency)
She got a 5 dirham bill. It equaled about $3.50 American. She carried that bill around with her to the souks, searching for a treasure. She ended up buying a camel stuffed animal. They tried to sell her this awful thing that when you pushed its foot, it played this totally obnoxious Arabian song/chortle thing. I spotted her some extra cash to get the bigger and nicer camel...the one that played NOTHING.
My ears and sanity deserve that.
She named it "Cammy Coo" the camel.
Pretty original, eh?
Cammy got carried with us for the whole darn rest of the trip.
I don't need a pashmina scarf. I am not a scarf wearer, but it makes you kinda want one anyway, just cause they were so soft and gorgeous. You know how you have been tempted to buy a velvet sombrero in Tijuana? That.
To get to the other side of the creek, you have to take a water taxi.
I guess you could swim it, to save yourself 30 cents, but the water looked suspect.
The water taxis were pretty cool.
Probably the favorite part of the day for my kids.
They were no frills.
They packed them full, and then ran them across the creek.
The ride was probably ten minutes.
The creek was not very wide.
Here is our whole group crossing over:
Crazy tourists.
Give us your money!
When you crossed the creek, the first souk was the spice souk.
You could smell it before you got to it.
The smell was an eclectic mix of curry, lavender, pepper,I don't know what else, and cloying incense.
I could not tell if I liked it, or hated it.
It was strong for sure.
Here are some curries.
They also used curry to flavor nuts.
We didn't try them.
We aren't real exotic.
They also had saffron there. It is so expensive in the states. I was tempted to buy some, because it was so cheap, but didn't.
Here was my line of thinking. What if I liked it? What if I cooked with saffron, and angels sang, and world peace was achieved? Then I would be stuck with an expensive habit. Therefore, let's not start something we can't fund.
I did buy some chunks of Frankincense and Myrrh.
Myrrh is on the left.(brown) And Frankincense is on the right. (Light green)
Both are tree resins indigenous to Arabia.
I can't really describe the smells?
Google said Myrrh has a warm, rich, spicy balsamic odor.
And Frankincense has a woody, spicy, haunting smell. It is slightly camphoric, but is regarded as more pleasant.
Let's just go with that.
I was happy to have some to show my kids come Christmas.
Also, this is a great lead-in to the next souk.
Frankincense...myrrh...and what was that third gift the wise-men brought?
Oh yeah.
The gold souk went on for miles.
We didn't walk the whole thing.
We didn't have five days to do so.
I didn't buy anything. Truth be told, I am not really a gold fan. More of a silver girl. I guess I should have at least priced stuff. Oh well.
You never know when you will be invited to an event that requires a gold shirt.
It would be so embarrassing not to have one.
I already have two, or I would have totally nabbed this one:
I swear, I don't tell him to do this stuff...
Are you sick of gold yet?
Me neither.
Down a few blocks from the gold souk is the fish market.
Remember how I couldn't decide if the spice souk smelled good or bad?
Yeah, well, the fish market was definitely in the bad category.
There were your regular ocean variety fish, crab, calamari, and then there were large sharks and sting-rays.
They also had a dried fish area.
Smelled awesome.
And by "awesome" I mean, I wish someone would have farted.

Adjoining the fish market was a meat market, with hanging carcasses. I didn't take photos...too busy plugging my nose and trying not to gag.

And next to all that carnage, was the fruit and vegetable market.
Ahhh, smelled nice.
Thank goodness.
Way to go, bananas!

We sampled fruit we have never seen before:
We have learned you are pretty safe to experiment with fruit in foreign countries.
Hanging slabs of mystery meat, or dairy-filled street vendor pastries...not so much.

They also had a whole section dedicated to figs and dates.
I love dates!
Don't judge.
They were delicious.
I didn't know there were so many kinds.
My local grocery store carries one brand.
They look like sugar encrusted scabs.
Dubai dates have ruined me forever for my usual grocery store variety.

We took the water taxi back across the creek with our bags of souvenirs and headed back to the house.
And that was our day at the souks.

1 comment:

Heather said...

Girl - i seriously feel like I went with you guys after reading all of your great posts! You got so many great pictures as well.