This weekend, with my mom in town, we decided to head to Deira and the Gold Souks in old town Dubai. I was really excited to get the chance to ride an abra across The Creek to the souks, because several people were telling us it is a “must do” while in Dubai. So, we loaded up the little man in the carrier, strapped on our backpacks, laced up our tennies and headed on our way!
We started with the old town and walked through the historical village that was used around 100 years ago. The buildings are still in great shape and are quite fascinating inside! One of them we walked through was made into a hotel. The doorways were quite short, but other than that, the ambience was great! Several of the shops were closed, with it being Friday, but we were still able to browse a couple of stores along the walk. We were educated on a couple different ways to use ground spices, learned about making art with leather and learned about creating dishes with copper. We stopped in a couple different buildings to take a look around and then ventured through the narrow walkways to find our way to The Creek.
We had to walk a little ways to get to the abras, but it was totally worth it because we found an amazing fabric shop that sold hand sewn leather handbags from Afghanistan. We swooped up a couple of those and were quite proud of our purchases! We also found a set of rugs for my parents kitchen that are simply beautiful! AND they ship to the US for free…even better!
We walked through a small market area before we reached the abras. This section included a wide variety of items such as spices, clothing, jewelry, perfumes, handbags, pillows, etc. As you can expect, there were people trying to entice us from all directions. Some guy even came up and put a hat on Layne’s head, trying to make him purchase it! People were rubbing fabrics on my mom and I so that we could get the feel of “real silk. When you think about it, it is quite gross! I wonder how many sweaty arms that fabric has been rubbed on in one day alone! Yes, the heat was quite warm and was around 103 when we were perusing through, but it was totally worth the experience! I have a video I will post on my Facebook page for a “LIVE” experience for you too!
Once we reached the abras we had to pay 1 Dhs per person to ride across to the other side. This is about a quarter in US dollars, so very very cheap! Everyone just hops on and the driver clicks the lid of his box, to signal its time for everyone to pay up. The water was actually quite calm and it was an easy ride to the other side. It was very crowded in the Creek though. There were abras everywhere, as well as other shipping/fishing boats for locals.
On the other side, was Deira and the souks. The souks were all separated by category. If you wanted to go through the spices section you could take a left and that is where we started. The smell was like Christmas morning. It was amazing! The colors were so beautiful and everywhere you looked was a new ground or whole spice. Some of the vendors were educational and tried to teach us about what we were looking at, which was interesting! However, once you went through a stand or two, you really saw it all, because they all offered the same variety. So, we continued on and went on our way to find the gold souk (passing on our way the mattress souk and utensil souk…random, I know!).
The gold souk was HUGE! There were tons and tons of people in this section and quite the row of shops selling all types of gold and silver pieces. Some of the displays were quite interesting as well. There was a full dress made out of gold, photo below, that looked like it would weigh about 20 lbs or so! I cannot even imagine wearing that! We were also asked, by several men along the walk, if we had any interest in “Prada, Louis Vuitton or Gucci handbags”. Obviously, we said no. It was quite annoying how many were out there trying to get you to visit their “secret shop”.
Lucky me, my loving husband took me into one of the shops and showed off some of his bargaining skills, to get me a new chain for my cross necklace! He got me the necklace as a gift for our wedding day and immediately upon getting to Dubai, our loving son accidentally ripped it off my neck :(. However, we got the new chain and the necklace looks as good as new! Thanks hubby!! (Don’t mind my closed eyes in the photo with my jewelry men below ha!)
After a fun day of lots of walking and exploring, we were quite tired and ready to hit the hay early! We will definitely be headed back to the souks with more of our upcoming visitors! It is so fun to see this busy life style and learn more about how people live here!