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Bur Dubai – Far from skycrapers

Far from skyscrapers and luxurious life, there’s an historical suburb on the west side of Dubai river bank. Here runs the busy trade of the city – commercial ships with all kind of goods along with the souks selling tinted fabrics and the wonderful smell of spices. An invasion to senses and to any tourist wallet.

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In Bur Dubai, there’s a great community of emigrants. Indians, pakistans, iranians, afganistans living together in perfect harmony within its rich cultural and commercial traditions. One of my favorite places to stroll around, a treat for my body and soul.

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In the streets we can feel the smell of curry coming from Indian restaurants, and the odour of meat from ambulant roasting meat spits, ready to be eaten in kebabs or in a pita bread. The smell of spices that comes out from groceries dances on the streets hand in hand with bundle of clothes that comes out from the laundries, ready to be home delivered.

Butcher’s shops proudly show their variety of meats and pluks. At the end of the day a few cats with a vague look wait at the door searching for someone to give them something to comfort their empty stomachs.

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Some taxis blow their horns endlessly announcing their services far from being what one might wish – their “suspicious” driving leaves anyone up to severe nausea most of the times. Riding on bicycles is also an habit, both for pleasure or professional needs. A great number of convenience stores and groceries uses this mean of transportation to make their home deliveries. Most of these two wheels drivers prefer to use side-walks to roads, putting at stake my safety as an errant walker.

What I like to observe the most are the barber shops. Decorated with néons and pictures with western men with peculiar hair cuts, these shops are alike to run a 24/7 business. They also look like socializing centers where the customer might, not only find a suitable haircut but a comforting shoulder for assurance after another day on a foreign land.

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I found also a video club, renting almost bollywood films – I say almost because there are, also, old western options such as the three most important adventure collections of Indiana Jones. TOP!

In the main street there is an Iranian tavern serving oriental bread and vegetables with fresh cocumber yougurt as amuse bouche . On the menu one can read lentil soup with chicken and lemon, and a variety of delicious kebabs, that make this place one of the most ancient and famous restaurant of Dubai. At last but not the least, the Arabic tea with mint and a good-bye smile with the moto “Come back again”. Inshallah!!

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Maria Bonifácio Lopes

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