Day 1 – From the Airport to the Souks

We land at Dubai International airport and its about 08:20. Excitement is burning bright in my soul and I yearn to get out and explore. I consider walking to the hotel but it was about 15 km away from the airport and I convince myself otherwise. As I step out of the airport the heat strikes me in a sudden and overwhelming wave.

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Taxi Terminal at Dubai International airport

We finally take a taxi to the hotel. I was very excited to finally be in the U.A.E! Dubai bustling with life. Buildings, modern and old, fill the landscape. The bright sunlight reflects off of the glass that encases many structures. Areas of intense green landscape are scattered almost randomly.

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On the way to the hotel

We arrive at the hotel and I make my way to my room. I all but ran to the window to check out the view; and was I amazed! We have booked into the Best Western Plus Pearl Creek hotel.

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View from my room

I jump into the shower to wash of the airplane vibes, get dressed and head back to the lobby. We have plans to explore most of the day, exactly what I was hoping for. We stroll along the river, heading the vague direction of the gold and spice market. I didn’t have a precise idea about where to go but I relished in wandering into the unknown.

Along The River We Go

The multitude of merchant boats gather along the river edge.

We wander for a short while and find an entrance to one of the souks (an Arabian market or bazaar).

Souks of Deira

The aroma of the spices drifts along the busy passage ways, enticing me towards the heaps of spices. I close my eyes and let my senses run wild. Footsteps rush past me and I feel the air brush past me as strangers navigate around me. I stroll through the souk, amazed by the array of colours that bombard my eyes.

A keffiyeh is wrapped around my head by one of the many shop owners, tempting me to buy the keffiyeh for a “very good price”. This will happen many times! In the souks I am confronted by almost every shop owner, insisting that I need to buy from them. I quickly learn to say no and mean it. It was rather surprising to hear the a few Afrikaans words slip from their mouths!

We leave the souks behind and hit the streets. We take a short tour, weaving between streets; stopping occasionally to take a few interesting photos. I knew the Metro train was somewhere close by but I wasn’t too sure. We finally discover the location of the closest station.

Dubai by Rail

As we enter the Palm Deira Metro station, cool air spills over us like arctic water. The escalator leads us down into the air-conditioned station. We each buy a day pass for 22 AED, about 80 ZAR or 6 USD, and follow the other passengers down another escalator. It is barely 2 minutes when the train pulls into the station. I wasn’t too sure where we were going to get off and I enjoyed not having to plan ahead.

A thick pink line separates the passengers in the train. In the pink area stands women and children. Unknowingly I walked into the pink area but I quickly encounter glances of disgust. A young woman says I shouldn’t be here but I was too confused to understand. I stare at her with a blank expression and she repeats herself, pointing at the pink line; I finally understand. I had thought the woman’s section would be entirely separated from the rest but it seems the thick pink line was some invisible barrier, keeping all men out of the section.

The train races along the track and I stare at the map, deciding where we would get off to explore.

 

 

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