DESTINATION DUBAI – Souks, Malls, Fun and Food.

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DESTINATION DUBAI – Souks, Malls, Fun and Food.

Talk Dubai – and pretty much any layman would come up with The Dubai Shopping Festival. Season or not, there is tons of stuff to see – be it the lavish malls or the Arabian Nights type of Souks.

The Gold Souk and the Spice Souk are pretty much located within walking distance to each other. When you get there you are actually not prepared for the experience. Once you get past all the touts who want to sell you “original copies” of Chanel, Gucci and Prada – you get into a marketplace lined up on both sides by small stores, selling GOLD.

Shops at the Souk
Shops at the Souk Pic Courtesy : Deepika

First it doesn’t seem so impressive, but then the magnitude hits you- there are so many shops looking like  small departmental stores and their stock keeping units are Precious Gems and the Yellow metal. My friend who accompanied me informed me that during the shopping festival – the pavements would be lined with gold and gold ornaments on display. Just easily lying there ladies and gentlemen – one of the most precious metals in the world. For the ever photo savvy tourists – you can spot a golden dress , a 5 kilo gold ring that holds a record and just loads and loads of gold. Selfie anyone?

Sheets of Gold
Sheets of Gold
Outfit of Gold!
Outfit of Gold! Sorry for the glare 😦

Close on the heels of the gold Souk is the Spice Souk – just the most brilliant place to get any kind of spices be it regular or exotic. Cardamoms, Raisins, Pistachios, Almonds, Dates … and then crazy combinations. Dates stuffed with Almonds? Check. Crispy,salted Pistachios. Check. Roasted Cashews? Check. Vanilla pods? Saffron? Green tea. Chamomile buds. Check. Check. And check. This is a fantastic place to let go if spices excite you, or if you are into cooking. Being a wholesale market it is a good idea to stock up on dry fruits and nuts (as I did) since the prices are also pretty reasonable.

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You walk further down the Market and you can take the ferry for about a Dirham or two per person and get off at Meena Bazaar. A market for all Indian items. You have to stroll around , pick and choose – but when you decide to buy something it is a decent bargain.

As against the Souks, the malls at Dubai are a Sightseeing Activity by itself – in terms of architecture , activities and extravanganza. You will find a mini snow land, IFly,  fun activities for kids, sport stores that stretch for miles, and all the brands that you may read in Novels or Vogue. While I was not able to afford anything even if it were on a mighty discount – the malls are a good place for you to lounge in and spend time.

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Oh! Do not forget to stop and enjoy some dessert at Paul’s Patisserie. It is to die for!

Dessert at Paul !
Dessert at Paul !

I personally loved the Ibn Battuta mall – it has an Egyptian wing, a Persian One, a Chinese section and the like, beautifully done and maintained. I loved the mall more because it chronicled Ibn Battuta’s adventures, and it finally put a face to the man who gave me one of my favorite quotes.

My favorite quote!
My favorite quote!

So that is how my Dubai story ends. I hope you enjoyed following it.

(Trilogy ends with this post)


Colours of India

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So many sights that we take for granted – but when seen through the lens, tells you not to treat them like everyday occurrences. I wish we did not need the camera to teach you to be appreciative, but nevertheless a good lesson taught is a good lesson learned. Enjoying the vibrant colours!

A simple arrangement in an Uruli filled with water - such a calming effect to see them.

An Uruli as shown above is a large circular vessel usually made out of bronze (sometimes you get it as earthernware too). Earlier it was used to cook large quantities of food, but with families becoming smaller these days – these Urulis are now used for flower decorations. Fill an Uruli with water, arrange the flowers according to your creativity and let the flowers float peacefully.

Many women prefer to wear glass bangles along with their gold bangles, but bangles made out of glass, plastic, lac, and even wood are recently finding their way to popularity. The ones that you see above are a typical tourist’s delight. Easy on the pocket and extremely colourful.

This is a rather 'small' Giant wheel, but the bright colour painted to attract children is a sure winner.

The ‘small’ Giant wheels are quite mobile, sometimes you can see the frail owner pushing his giant wheel alongside your house and asking if there are children who would like to use them. This was a more common happening a few years earlier – when there were more joint families, or more children in the same compound. The children are happy , the man gets a good deal – and all is well. But nowadays children in the city are exposed to tennis clubs and swimming camps at very tender ages – would a giant wheel spark enthusiasm in them? I really do not know.

See the ordinary pots at the base row. They are painted to become this wonderful combination of colours.

Flower pots are usually similar to terracota, and the ‘special’ flower pots would have some traditional patterns in white drawn on them. But out with the sober colours, add a dash of heady colours to your garden – we say!

Subtle shades but surely colourful

Moving to some less ‘brighter’ options, I got this picture at some of the shops that were selling artifacts. The row of elephants from biggest to the smallest cub was actually what caught my eye, but now all I can focus on is the Buddha!

More than souvenirs

This shop had loads of souvenirs to offer. Elephants, a variety of deities, tortoises, showpiece items, – but the dark green statue of the reclining Buddha is my pick of the lot!

Masks galore

Moving from the elegance of spirituality to these grotesque albeit brightly coloured masks – I did wonder if it appealed to children. I was proved wrong time and again – each time I witnessed a child sulk,cry and pout when his/her parent denied him/her a mask.

The potter's work sees the light of the day

This was captured just next to a potter at a heritage centre. He had already made these items which were set up for sale, but had the visitors enthralled with his fast and interactive pottery lessons.

Traditional rajasthani puppets / dolls

These puppets are special to rajasthan, with their bright bandhini attire. They are usually sold as a pair (a man and woman doll). These string puppets are usually made out of wood. wire and cloth.

These decorative string mobiles that doubled up as curtains did tug hard at my heart and wallet. Thankfully common sense prevailed...

I wind up with a picture I took at a craft shop. These decorative mobiles did tempt me to buy the whole range, but then I succumbed to just buying a short one – one pretty pink elephant that hangs today on my table, gracefully whisking my laptop now and then…