Up The Creek In Dubai


We had a brief stay in Dubai while we were living in Kenya. We needed a break from a long spate of El Nino rains. The stop-overs in UEA bookended a sunny week on a small island in the Maldives, but when we flew into Dubai, it was lowering skies and big puddles on the runway. Not at all what we expected. The nights were chilly too and very windy, the beachside palm trees swaddled in sacking. We did have a couple of fine days, though, as this very fine sunset on the Creek shows.

You can just make out the dhows moored along the further shore. (And in the bottom right corner, the woman who had come specially to feed the gulls).  I bet the Dubai skyline looks nothing like this now. There was a frenzy of construction going on when we were there in the late ‘90s. It is a city state endlessly in motion, constantly reinventing itself.  I’m wondering, though, if the dhow trade is still as vibrant as it was when we were there. We saw cars, trucks, refrigerators, car parts, sink units and all sorts being loaded  for onward Indian Ocean destinations – a far cry from the days when the Creek was nothing but a fishing village, and the local lads made a living pearl diving. The way things change.




Lens-Artists: motion  This week Patti wants us to feature movement.

31 thoughts on “Up The Creek In Dubai

  1. Beautiful photos! Dubai changed indeed. But it is changing constantly with more and more architectural wonders. However Deira area and the Creek with the dhows are still vibrant – just as you captured them! 🙂

  2. My favorite of these is your second image Tish. I’m sure those old boats are probably long gone by now. Rather reminded me of Hong Kong’s harbor which I’m sure is changed by now too. Sigh. Excellent examples!

    1. Hello, Tina. Yes the dhows are so captivating. I’ve also just had an insider update, and she says the dhows and the Creek remain as captured here, this despite all the more recent astonishing developments in Dubai. The Indian Ocean dhow trade is so ancient, at least back to the 7th century, and though it’s well past its heyday, especially along the East African route, it’s nice to know the dhows are still there. I’m guessing that the shores of Pakistan and the ports of the Indian subcontinent are the main destinations.

    2. Enjoyed flashing back with you in this post – showing motion and truly a place that is likely STILL “endlessly in motion, constantly reinventing itself.”

  3. How interesting to see Dubai as it was then! I’ve never been but I’m betting its changed a lot. However I’ve visited Abu Dhabi and while that’s also super modern, they do have some respect for their history, so maybe some dhows and other older features have been retained amidst the development in Dubai too?

    1. They had restored one of the oldish, last surviving palaces, and there is a fabulous small museum about the history of Dubai. They made space for it by excavating under the old fort. (No mean feat). We only found our way in by accident. But I have a vague notion the Jorvik Museum designers had a hand in it. So yes, we did see signs that the past was receiving recognition.

  4. So Cool, the dhows in dubai are a fun journey to remember. If ever you come back to Dubai, you could stay in our property bed spaces in Dubai, around Dubai Marina which is very near to the bay and obviously the Marina Walk where the Dhow cruises set sailing

  5. So lovely…and glad to see that some of the old dhows are still there. Interesting post. I will show my husband, who also visited Dubai a couple of times.

  6. I’ve never been there, but what a great experience, Tish. I met a woman this week who lived in Dubai and taught there. She was probably there about that time. I’ll have to share your link. 🙂

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