regular readers might vaguely remember a trip i had to dubai a while ago. it was my first time in a non-english, non-western environment and it totally floated my boat.
on the way back from chilly europe last month, i stopped off again in dubai and had another wild time.
this specialty roaster is in the dubai garden centre, near the fishing section.
i found out about tashkeel early on in my trip, but couldn't get there until the last few days of being there. in fact, i took myself out there as a treat for myself on my birthday.
a design retail space has recently switched over to a private/collector gallery and it's so exciting. i saw two shows there and went to the opening of uppers and downers, which also included a powerful performance called 'be safe o egypt' by performance artist rania ezzat*. the feel of the shows there are exciting, challenging and have guts, unlike many other shows in similar spaces in dubai. the space itself is a warehouse conversion in the al quoz area (the area where loads of galleries have popped up in the last 3 years), and they have cats!
4. dubai metro.
this has made dubai loads more accessible than last time. it's now starting to approximate a modern urban city. and interestingly, with it, has come a lot more human-scale signage, and a better bus system. one thing i noticed last time i was in dubai was the scale of typography and signage. it was all only viewable from cars, therefore was large, lit and high-up. people are obviously walking along pathways to the metro a lot more, so i've seen far more small text, small signs with maps, actual footpaths and more accommodation for human movement (as opposed to vehicular). it is going to be fascinating to see how this ripples out in the next 5-10 years.
it's the little india/pakistani/old school section of dubai - the part where you remember that people actually live in this city. and it's where ravis is - a famous street-food style restaurant, which is not quite as awesome as the equivalent in sharjah, but it's still pretty great and relatively cheap too. i hear that satwa has changed bucketloads recently, but as a tourist, it's still a relief to go there and have a more authentic city-esque experience.
this was totally cheesy, and something i probably wouldn't have done in my home town, but we went to the open mic night, sat on m&m beanbags and watched people belting their little hearts out. some great, some not-so. but, it was nice and normal in amongst the designer rah-rah of wafi mall (which also has to be seen to be believed). they also have a movie night on sunday nights, which we never managed to get to, but would also be worth checking out.
ok, so maybe not everyone gets to do this when the go to dubai, but northern winter afford this kind of decadence. i spent a lot of it sunning myself and swimming in a rooftop pool. it's highly recommended for curing what ails ya.
similarly, only really enjoyable in winter (summer is 50ºC outside), and often you will hear the echo of the muezzins call to prayer across the parts of the city. in fact, i loved that sound - just walking across stretches of sand, hearing asr, maghrib or isha prayers sung from the minarettes. if you've grown up in islamic countries, this probably won't float your boat, but i couldn't help but romanticise it over the two weeks i was in town.
satwa image nicked from dubaithoughts.blogspot.com (my images were crap).
tashkeel print studio image nicked from panopticon.blogspot.com (op cit)