United Arab Emirates
If you get bored or blinded by the bling, visit the recently restored Bastakia area of Dubai down by the Creek. Here you will find the only decent domestic architecture in the city, built about 100 years ago by Iranian and Arab merchants from the other side of the Gulf.
Apart from pleasure for it’s own sake, a familiarity with Bastakia can be a useful conversation starter. Not only does it demonstrate interest in Dubai’s heritage, but a fair number of the city’s movers and shakers over the age of 40 will have grown up in Bastakia. On more than one occasion, the recollection of those days has opened up these essentially private people.
The area is called Bastakia - don't miss the Majlis Gallery, which is the local arts centre
Abras are used to ferry people across the creek for 1 dirham. For maybe 70 dirhams (dependent on your negotiating skills and length of journey etc), you can hire an abra for a journey of an hour or more on the creek, taking in the architecture of creek-side Dubai and enjoying a cool(er) breeze under an advertisement-adorned plastic awning. This is a very nice way to spend time in Dubai.
Board an abra opposite the spice souk, or the textile souk (Deira - south-side)
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