Dubai- Jan 31, 2013

Two days in Dubai! After 6 sea days it is great to see and touch land again.

Dubai is at once boring and wonderful. This is our third visit and while we were expecting to not do much, we saw a lot instead. A city of excesses and expensive items, it also provides a variety of neighbourhoods that provide interest.

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Day 1 we took a cab to the old Fort and Museum. From there we walked for about 6 hours through little India, the Old Souk, the Spice Souk, Iranian Market, Gold Souk and who knows what else. The eventual goal was to find the spice shop where we bought some fabulous coffee in 2011.

The area near the Old Fort and Museum is mostly Indian. And that means material shops. Pat first went shopping for some affordable jewellery, based on advice from a fellow traveller. Kitty corner from the museum is a store with shiny granite steps. On the left hand inside there is a display of stone jewellery that is both beautiful and affordable, always a good combination. Once outside again we wandered toward a main cross street to head for the Old Souk near the creek. That is when Pat spotted a store with material and Punjab suits. Success again. After going through a seemingly never ending selection she chose 4 outfits. These will provide the required ‘blending in’ clothes for our 5 stops in India. They are also cool in this hot weather.

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The Old Souk runs along the creek, not sure how old it is but there is a never ending line of shops selling scarves, souvenirs and thankfully some really tasty street food. A bag of 10 vegetarian items for 10 Dirham provided snacks for the rest of the exploration.

We doubled back to get to the correct water taxi station to go across to the Spice Souk. These boat rides are a bargain, only 1 Dirham each. And a wonderful view of the bustle along the creek. We were entertained along the way by a flock of birds who were skimming the water and using the moving boats as targets to buzz around at high speed.

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The Spice Souk is a great, lots of stalls but many sell the same items. Frankincense and Myrrh is plentiful as well as natural Viagra Smile and staples such as turmeric, coriander, cumin. Many of the spice stalls are of Iranian origin and this is what our goal was. In 2011 we had found a great shop. Alas after much walking we were told in one shop that the one we sought was closed. But, he offered to have his son show us where the new shop was now located. Hassain greeted us as if we had seen him yesterday! Coffee was ordered for us, saffron was added for extra flavour (it gave a slightly spicy creamy effect) and we went over his selection of spices. 700 Dirhams later we left with a couple of bags of coffee, curry powder mix (5 layers of spice), sandalwood for our incense burner and a bag of freshly mixed herbal tea! We didn’t get any dates this time though, which might have been a mistake as the Iranian ones are so delicious.

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Tours typically drop you off at the start of the souk, near the boat wharf. If you go left at the third alley you will come to a covered mall, this is where this shop is located. Well worth the short  detour.

After all this we were exhausted and made our way back to the ship.

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