Dubai Part III / by Deborah Clague

The first "official" day started with this: 

A camel race on TV. It We settled on it to provide background noise in lieu of some of the other channels that seemed to exclusively showcase the many achievements and feats of ruler Sheikh Mohammed. I'd never seen a camel race before. I'd honestly never seen a camel run before, falsely believing that they just moseyed about the desert all chill and whatnot. They can actually run up to 65km/hr. It was fascinating to see. They were as gangly and graceless as I imagine I looked back in high school gym class. This made me appreciate and bond with the animal in a way that would become rather awkward a few days later...

At 9:30am, we left our hotel and made our way to the closest metro station, Sharaf. I wanted to take my friend to "Old Dubai", the Deira area, where we could get lost in the sights and sounds of traditional middle eastern markets and have the opportunity to experience something very different from back home. I also may have wanted to buy pajamas. The driverless metro was incredibly efficient, with trains coming every five minutes on the dot. The female-only cars were also appreciated as it was often incredibly crowded and, of course, THAT HEAT. The cars are air conditioned, but one still can't escape the draining exhaustion brought on by THAT HEAT. I'll write more on it later, but as someone who just left a Canadian winter, I felt like I was going to spontaneously burst into flames everyday. 

It was still considered early when we arrived at the market. It appeared to be in preparation for a later tourist rush. The eight men for every one woman statistic was never more apparent than when we were touring this area at this time. We were, literally, the only females walking about. At one point, both of us glanced at each other telepathically communicating that we weren't to leave the other's side. 

"Louis Vuitton, Prada. Designer bags."

The Gold Souk was ridiculously over-the-top. I have never seen such grandiose creations made out of the metal before. I couldn't imagine where I would wear something so flashy ... or even how much some of the pieces would weigh (much less cost!). It would take great effort to move wearing some of the jewellery on display. My friend couldn't concentrate on all the bling though, as something else seemed to be distracting her. 

"Louis Vuitton, Prada. Designer bags. Come this way."

I recall traveling to China years ago and having a difficult time adjusting to some of the aggressiveness one faces by touts while simply walking down the street. I actually remember sprinting away in the French Concession area of Shanghai while a group of them chased after me, all the while yelling designer names as though it were a password that would eventually unlock my wallet. I laugh about it now ... but then, I just wanted to hide in a hole. The unrelenting harassment by these individuals definitely can decrease the amount of enjoyment one takes away from the day and their overall holiday. Now? It doesn't bother me. Just ask one of my exes – there is no one better than me at giving the silent treatment. NO ONE. While I would just keep walking, my friend, an all-too polite Canadian, would always stop and reply. "No, I'm not interested. Thanks."

"Louis Vuitton, Prada. Designer bags. Come this way."

"No, I'm not interested. Thanks."

"Louis Vuitton, Prada. Designer bags. Come this way."

"No, I'm not interested."

"Louis Vuitton, Prada. Designer bags. Come this way."

"NO. I'M NOT INTERESTED!"

"Louis Vuitton, Prada. Designer bags. Come this way."

My friend was done. Exhausted. She had experienced enough and wanted to return to the hotel.

It was 10:30am. After exploring for just an hour, I walked her back to the metro station and saw her off. She would spend the day by the pool and wander Mall of the Emirates.

I returned to the markets on my own. 

Gold Souq, Deira, Dubai (©Deborah Clague, 2016).

Gold Souq, Deira, Dubai (©Deborah Clague, 2016).

Deira area of Dubai (©Deborah Clague, 2016).

Deira area of Dubai (©Deborah Clague, 2016).

Deira area of Dubai (©Deborah Clague, 2016).

Deira area of Dubai (©Deborah Clague, 2016).

Dubai Creek (©Deborah Clague, 2016).

Dubai Creek (©Deborah Clague, 2016).

View from my seat of the "female-only" car of the Dubai Metro (©Deborah Clague, 2016).

View from my seat of the "female-only" car of the Dubai Metro (©Deborah Clague, 2016).