We set out on our second day of touring Dubai after a leisurely morning in the apartment. Since there were now five of us Carrrie called the taxi service for a van. We were let off on the main street near the Gold Souk. It only took about 10 minutes to walk into one of the most opulent and blingy places I have ever seen. Shop after shop after shop after shop with windows crammed full of gold (and silver) jewelry.Up and down narrow alleyways and through wider, more populated aisles we wandered, pointing out items that caught our fancy or our sense of whimsy. The mind and senses actually blur after awhile. Joseph told us that 24 tons of gold are on display in the Dubai gold souk on any given day.
In the window of a corner shop at the end of one of the aisles is the world’s largest ring – with the Guiness Book of Records certificate and description to prove it. It contains 5.17 kg of precious stones set in 58.686 kg of 21 carat gold for a total weight of 63.856 kg. (2016 Update: this ring was purchased by a fellow and was being loaded – with great difficulty and much ado – onto the same plane Carrie was boarding to fly back to Muscat after visiting friends in Dubai. The fellow was making much of the fact that he had bought it. Why would anyone want to is my question?)
You can get a soother for your infant (pink or blue) that has a pure gold base, gold playing cards, a paperweight Euro note replicated in gold and sealed in fiberglass, solid gold key chains, trinkets and all manner of bright shiny things.
Once we had blinked away the bling we walked through the nearby spice souk. Trish has a foody friend and she purchased 2.5 grams of saffron (which would just fill the cupped palm of your hand and is so light you would not notice it) at a cost of 25 dirhams (about $8). Pound for pound saffron is the most expensive spice on earth. There was ground fennel, sunflower stamen used for facial cleansing, blocks of salt, kernels, roots, barks, powders and dried fruits like lemon or leaves of other plants. A cornucopia of olfactory bliss. Then we boarded a water taxi to cross The Creek to the textile souk and strolled amidst fabrics and dresses and pashmina scarves and, and, and….
These shoes, left outside the mosque, belong to men who are inside during one of the five daily calls to prayer.
By this time it was food time and we flagged down a couple of taxis to take us across town to one of Joseph and Carrie’s favourite restaurants: Barasti Beach Bar, which is located near the Marina and has a gorgeous white sand beach in front that is used by the guests of a neighbouring hotel. Once again there were Christmas decorations and an entire ‘tree’ made from bottles of Stella Artois – which you can enter to win. All the staff T-shirts had silly Christmas sayings on the back. We enjoyed an excellent lunch then found two more taxis to take us back to the apartment where we all rested our weary feet. Joseph worked on work, then packed his bag and took it down to the car. At 5:30 he left to find a cab to take him to the airport for his 8 pm flight back to Muscat. The rest of us will drive back tomorrow. Hopefully the return trip will be one of the four hour versions. Poor Joseph is just ‘over’ having his photo taken.