Contrary to common belief, Dubai is not all high-rise and high-flying. In fact most of Dubai consists of low-rise residential buildings and houses. It cannot be denied that the sight which stands out is however the city's tall skyscrapers. Nevertheless, visitors looking for a little culture will be satisfied with the banks of the creek. The Dubai Creek area comes alive on Fridays during the day. Fridays and Saturdays make up the official weekend in the Emirates, hence the animated river banks on Fridays. Everyone's out walking about, playing chess in the cafés that line the creek. On any other day of the week watching the cargo being unoaded from the boats is quite something. In Dubai one would expect great big ships carrying merchandise to the Emirate but it's quite a surprise to see mid-size wooden boats instead! Cargo is unloaded by men kipping among the boxes seeking shade to rest during the day's lunch break. The unloading dock is wild with energy before and after the sun is at its highest and hottest. In the area visitors should get lost in the meandering streets full of little Indian restaurants, the spice souk (also known as hawkers' haunt, so take bags of patience and tolerance with you!), textile souk, gold souk and not forgetting the newly-renovated Bastakiya area which is a small area of wind tower houses where art galleries and quaint restaurants can be found. Although the area used to be an Iranian village, it was demolished and rebuilt to resemble the village. The renovation is a poor imitation however, as the village has lost its authenticity and looks more like a tacky replica, despite the courtyards being fairly pleasant. The Satwa area, a low-middle class residential area, is also a great idea for a short walk (avoiding hours of intense heat) to get away from the fast and furious roar of Sheikh Zayed road. The Jumeirah Beach area can also be a good way to wind down before sunset...it is always very busy around the Jumeirah Beach Walk cafés and around the hotels on the beach. The trick is to find a spot away from all the mayhem by walking a little way along the beach.
Text: Rooksana Hossenally.
Image: Stéphanie Poli