Sunday, January 6, 2013

In the footsteps of pearl divers

Maybe it is just me, but every time I arrive in Dubai, they very air smells of spice and incense. Not surprising, because all of the ancient spice trade routes ran through Arabia. It is as endearing to me as the first call to prayer in the dark hours of morning. Almost like a homecoming. But then this is where I once lived .... And still do - if only for a few days a year - but I still do, in my heart of hearts.

This time round I have the thrill of introducing my Dubai to my baby daughter. At the crack of dawn, the two of us went for a stroll this morning - a little slice of life that is a rarity and a grave security risk if you live in South Africa. And I told her about this place that holds such a big chunk of her mummy's heart.

In the afternoon, my friend Janice and I went urban sketching in an area that is one of the best kept secrets in Dubai. The Bastikiya District, next to Dubai Creek. One of the oldest settlements in the city back in the day when Pearl diving and fishing was the main source of income some centuries ago. Long before the discovery of oil. Complete with traditional wind towers, hidden courtyards, rooftop terraces, mysterious winding alleys, renovated and dotted with art galleries and guest houses, yet intimate and quiet. Pure magical bliss! didn't hear it from me.

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