Today was a strange experience I must say. I found myself in the house of a strange Indian bag seller who assured me that what he was doing was somewhat legal. Now don’t get me wrong, I am sure he had good intentions, but I already told him I didn’t want to buy anything so once we were up there it was awkward. To make it there, we went down an alley of a street I was already lost in, the up a tiny elevator to the end of a corridor to his house. I have done this before in Dubai, but not alone, and not in such a seedy looking apartment. He sat me down in front of him at the desk and proceed to pull out watches, wallets and belts of all brands and sizes. Possibly due to his poor English, every product in the “shop” had to be shoved in my face along with the words “you have this now”, despite him actually meaning: “Would you like to buy this one”. I was now starting to feel a little apprehensive about this situation, particularly because two of his friends just walked into the room. I was now alone, with three strange men, in god knows where, surrounded by illegal copies of handbags.
Although things started to get less awkward once he realised I didn’t intend on buying any of his counterfeit watches, handbags, wallets or belt, the fact I was still sitting in his shop, at a desk still brought a strange feel to the air. We then started the usual “language barrier” conversation. For those readers who do not know, this usually entails swapping of names, basic family information and immensely brief occupation and social life stories. It turned out that we had a lot less in common than I thought. I couldn’t then, and still can’t decipher his intentions of that meeting after that point, as he both seemed very interested in my life but also still very keen on getting money out of me.
After being complimented on my hair a few too many times, I decided it was time to head off. So the three of us made it downstairs and out to the street for them to give me directions back to the Dubai Creek which I had now been looking for, for over an hour. However, I should have known I would not get away that easily. As we walked down the fake marble steps from his apartment block, I was introduced to a further 6 of his friends, meaning I was now surrounded by 9 entirely foreign Indian men, all smiling at me and talking in Hindi. I introduced myself and offered them all a smoke (I don’t actually really smoke, but I carry them on hand while travelling for situations just like this one). Apparently, this called for a Kodak moment and all them wanted a photo with me. This is one thing I dont understand properly, wanting to get photos with foreigners!
I finally made my goodbyes, with some of them following me asking if I wanted to buy any T-shirts. Now with directions, I could finally head to the creek for some serious abra action! These things are impossible to navigate, so I just decided to try it out and hop on the randomly. For little of 25cents AUD per ride, what did I have to loose in just randomly hopping on different abras and seeing where they go. To think the man wanted to charge me 120 Dirham for an hour boat ride around the river when for just 10 I could make 10 different trips all over the river!
After wandering through gold souks, strange shops, and seeing hundreds of “Textile Trader” shops that all looked exactly the fucking same, I decided to grab some grub and call it a night. The taxi ride home was exhausting to say the least and I have no idea why. I was just wrecked. Possibly from the 6 hours of Dubai Souks I now have behind me. What a day.