Arriving in Dubai at the early hour of 04.00 I had enough time to spend learning more about this city before my flight out to Manila later that night. I was lucky (or unlucky) to have chosen the slowest queue for immigration. It took over an hour to finally pass through and clear customs. Once on the other side i had a coffee and an early breakfast and planned my day.
I deposited my bag at the left luggage office which cost 20AED for 12 hours and then made my way to the Dubai Metro where i bought a Day Ticket ( 16 AED ) and took an exploration trip along the two lines. It was still early and i had the trains almost to myself. This was a good way to learn how the system worked. I would get out at random stations and explore the immediate area for a while and then get back on the train to the next random stop.
I found the train announcements quite amusing…… ” The train for Jebel Ali will be leaving from Jebel Ali platform ” which i thought would be quite obvious !!!!!!
Eventually i alighted at Al Ras and began a walk along the Dubai Creek. There were many people out jogging, walking and running along the pavement. I walked, stopping now and again to take in the views of early morning life along the Creek. The Indian boatmen were preparing their wooden Abras for the days business of transporting people to and fro across the Creek. ( Abra is taken from Arabic “to cross ” )
Wooden dhows are docked in an orderly chaotic scene. These dhows have brought goods from the ports of the Indian subcontinent, Iran and other neighbouring countries.
There is much activity happening around them and it’s enjoyable to stop a while and just take in this scene which has been happening for hundreds of years.
How some of these craft actually still manage to sail is remarkable, but sail they do back and forth across the Arabian Sea. Wander along the quayside and watch the crews going about their chores onboard, cooking, washing, eating. Unchanged by time.
For a different angle take a ride on an Abra across the Dubai Creek and take a look at life on the dhows from a different angle as you pass by.
The Abras operate between Deira and Bur Dubai and the fare is only 1AED. Abras leave when they have 20 passengers. Just be careful when arriving at the Jetty as the locals like to jump off before the Abra has stopped. My boatman told me that quite a few tourists have not quite managed to perfect the jump and have landed in the water instead, much to everyones amusement !!!
Walking away from the Abra landing station there is a covered market mainly populated with Afghan traders selling goods from Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
I discovered a small Indian eatery there and dived in to see what they were offering to eat. I had a bowl of dahl, a couple of idlis and some coconut dip and a cup of tea for 5AED before returning by Abra to Deira and the spice and gold souks.