Our lips uttered the words, “No, thank you,” about 500 times this morning. Dubai is the only one of the seven Emirates that made its fortune through trading rather than oil. By the 19th century, it was well known by traders around the world. We walked through several of the city souks (markets) and were delighted by the colors, varieties, textures, and quantities of what we saw. Offered for sale were cinnamon, saffron, cloves, cardamom, ginger, paprika, turmeric, nutmeg, pomegranate, various flowers, dried fruit, tea, frankincense, pashminas, scarves, shoes, dinnerware, souvenirs…the list goes on. We were approached by each and every stall owner, invited to smell, touch, and/or guess what was in front of us. We recognized very little. One item resembled a sleek dark rock that didn’t look at all useful; we were told it was for men to use, as it acted like Viagra! We also didn’t know the black item in the photo below that I am holding between my fingers; it is a dried lemon! When asked its use, the salesman became oddly quiet for the first time.
I couldn’t imagine wearing any of the shoes in the photo, but the owner was insistent that he could find my size. Since we don’t have a home, and can’t buy souvenirs, we were only there to browse and take in the scene, so we said no to everything presented to us. When the watch salesmen noticed Mike wasn’t wearing a watch, they approached with their idea of what he needed on his wrist. But we have told vendors for 10 years now, “nobody wears watches any more; we have our phones.” They always seem a little deflated by that, but accepting. We went out today right after breakfast, as it was “only” 100 degrees F early, but this afternoon will rise to 108-110. We have not wanted to venture out in the afternoons, and the first few days felt trapped in the hotel. So our compromise is to do whatever we are going to do early, getting back before the highest temperatures hit. Even so, we were quite hot and sweaty. Dubai in the summer!
We love the photo of the properly dressed Arab family of mannequins. The poor little boy lost a hand but somehow grew a mustache and beard! After the Spice, Herbs, and Utensils Souks, we arrived at the Gold Souk. There we found gold, silver, and precious gems, some quite elaborate, as you will see in the photos. We don’t know who would wear the full-body gold “armor” other than entertainers or someone in costume. It was all quite heavy and cumbersome. And look at that ring! It holds the Guinness World Record for being the world’s largest ring, the Star of Taiba. The ring itself weighs 141 lbs! We also loved the Gelato sign, ice cream made with camel’s milk, dates, and saffron, and oh yes…Gelato makes gold better.
The last photo is not from the souks, but from the other day at the Dubai Mall….there is a Waterfall Promenade, and these neat sculptures are a part of it! Enjoy!