Day out in Deira 9th May 2010
Beads, boas, buttons, bangles, bolts of cloth, borders, brocades and broaderie anglaise, brilliant bargains all found in Souk Deira beyond the Shindaga Tunnel. I took a trip with an Indian friend of mine Chitra (a Dubai veteran who’s been here at least 7 years) and a Canadian beading fanatic, Lynda who wanted to stock up on supplies wholesale. We were introduced to a different Dubai from yester year with genuinely mature trees lining the streets with low rise, ornate buildings most of which were converted to shops selling and trading in all things haberdashery related. You could feel a genuine old world charm about the place and most of the shop keepers were Bora Muslims with a particular style of dress and speech, many of whom heralded from generations of trading families. I speak fluent Hindi but had to revert to English to communicate with the shopkeepers here!
Prices are amazingly low, but bargaining is de rigeur! I ended up buying a range of dress fabrics in bold prints for copying short jersey sun dresses and loose cotton tops, the prices made us feel free to experiment with prints perhaps we otherwise wouldn’t have bought! (Prices ranged from Dhs 5 to Dhs 15 a metre!) But walking further into the souk area are a plethora of crafter’s supply shops selling all manner of wooden, painted, glass, colourful beads, feathers, leather flowers, silk buttons, and anything you could dream of for a great craft project. I opted to buy 12 crystal butterflies (mixed colours) with tiny holes in them to turn into necklaces for my younger daughter’s party bags, or even party activity! (About Dhs 20 for 12 butterflies!)
I couldn’t resist buying a pair of gun metal crystal chunky bangles at Dhs 60 for the pair, great for going to places you don’t want to take real jewellery, and so much more reasonable than any shop in a large mall. The good thing about Deira is it opens early, from 8.00am so you can do a quick whizz round the souk, bag some bargains and be finished before it gets oppressively hot! We hung out and had some fresh coconut water in one of the many roadside cafes, and it felt really different to our normal hangouts, there were people dressed in traditional outfits (many Ethiopians and Somalis) as well as Indians and Pakistanis, and this area is surprisingly clean, with no rubbish lying around or shops spilling their wares onto the pavements, I dare you to go to Deira, you won’t regret it!
But wear good walking shoes and dress modestly for obvious reasons.
Reading this may have whetted your appetite for some authentic Indian food! Click here for an easy but tasty chicken curry recipe for tonight !
You may find this link helpful www.dubaiquiltersguild.worpress.com for related information.