El Fahidi Fort and Old Dubai

Back into Dubai’s past today with a visit to the oldest building in the area and a stroll through an old souk in historic Dubai, followed by dinner along Dubai Creek and a walk through the Heritage Museum, which was mostly closed because of Muhammad’s birthday.

We asked the taxi driver to drop us off in Historic Dubai today.  What a wonderful choice that turned out to be!  We started at Al Fahidi Fort in the old Persian merchant’s neighborhood along Dubai Creek.  The fort has been fully restored and now houses a delightful and well – arranged little museum. Displays are both inside and outside of enclosure and some of the visitors looked so ancient and the displays so authentic that once I excused myself to a statue, and another time I was started by a statue walking away!!!

We picked up some lovely framed leather-work articles of camel and race horses.  And the museum sold new copies of one of my very, very favorite books about Arabia, “Mother without a Mask” by Patricia Holton.  Tom bought me one to replace the volume I had lucked upon for $0.01 at Amazon that was well worn even before I fell in love with it.  It is about a British woman who takes in two sheik’s sons and ends up being invited into their lives in Arabia near Abu Dhabi.  It transitions the years before and after the impact of oil money of the emirates.  Vivid and imaginative read – full of life.

From the fort we walked the streets of the old city and squabbled with merchants over goods – I enjoy the bickering so much!  All in good sport!  Bought a bright red cashmere scarf, some enameled bowls to replace ones from Istabul that had broken over time, and a sting of colored camels (regret that for only $4 more I could have elephants, too, but made a “sensible” decision and said , “No.”).

By then, Tom was getting a little hungry and grumpy, so we walked along the creek until we found a comfortable, folksy restaurant with walls and roof of palm fronds.  Dhows ferried people up and down the creek as we ate our shish kebabs and Arabic salad.  Birds dodged about competing for bits of bread offered by tourists from all over the world.  We lingered over dinner until the restaurant itself was closing.

We meandered along the creek, coming eventually to the Heritage Center, mostly closed because of Muhammad’s birthday.  A few people were in place, however, and we enjoyed them.  One picture in particular, if it turns out will be a treasure.  Regrettably, we both used regular cameras today so we have to find a place where we can transmit from chips to email or FB.  We also visited a home that seemed to be a place where Muslims and others could, meet, talk, and, hopefully from their perspective, accept Muhammad as the last and greatest Prophet.  Had we had more time, it might have been interesting to talk awhile.

All adventures must end, so we wound our way back through the souk, waved down a private car/taxi, and slept most of the way home.  We are listening to Christmas carols in our room now.  Tomorrow, we will celebrate Christmas with a church not too far away.  We chose the hotel for its proximity.  We are kind of hoping for an invitation somewhere, but it is Christmas, so that may not happen.  We’ll see.

Photos coming later!

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M.A., Middle Eastern and North African Studies. Wanderer. Author, "When Freedom Called: at the front and home front in the Gulf War", 2011.

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