Jonathan Fryer

Abracadabra

Posted by jonathanfryer on Tuesday, 26th February, 2008

abra.jpgThe best bargain in Dubai is the trip by abra or small motor launch from one side of the Creek to the other. For a mere 1 dirham (about 25 US cents), one gets a swift but atmospheric sweep of the waterfronts of both Deira and Bur Dubai, in the company of overwhelmingly Indian commuters. The two sides of the Creek are quite different. Though there aren’t quite as many Iranian wooden trading ships on the Deira side as there used to be when I first starting coming to Dubai 20 years ago, they still add colour to the place, along with the Somalis. On the Bur Dubai side, there has been an attempt to resuscitate some of the local culture that so nearly got completely submerged. Much of the Big Souk is reconstructed, as is the quarter of Bastakia, where you can still see wind towers, the tradtional form of air-conditioning. Photos in the museum in the house that used to be the ruler’s residence are a jolting reminder of just how far and how fast the place has come in just 40 years.

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