Yes, so the ‘NAVIGATION’ around Al Shindagha continues….
Let me start just where I left it yesterday. I am still talking about this charming neighborhood of Al Shindagha, which happens to be an important historical neighborhood in Dubai. In my first post I happily explored the watch tower, Juthoor Art Center and Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum House. In this post I talk as to how I went on discovering further, strolled on and stayed on till the stars twinkled in the sky. I would suggest my readers to read this post after you have read the prelude to it.
I started with this cropped piece of the map and navigated my way to find to more interesting things around the Creek. So now that I have shared the map, you get an idea that how the curve around this side of the Creek goes. I totally love this place because of its proximity to the Creek. I am sure you can see both Al Ghubaiba Metro station and the Ministry of Finance from where I had started walking my last post. So now lets cover all that I did before the sunset and post that. After visiting the King’s House which is also known as Al Shindagha Museum, I walked further to find his friend’s house next door- Juma and Obaid Bin Thani House. I wanted to go in the house but the guard informed me that it was closed for the day. I loved these black and white designed tiles on the mud clad building.
It is also one of the oldest houses of this area. It is famous for holding Arabic calligraphy exhibition “Arabic Calligraphy Over Time.” When I visited it, the exhibition was not on and therefore there were not many people keen on it. I saw another lady curious around it but since it was closed even she could not go inside. I continued my walk towards the Heritage Village only to explore another restaurant. It had a lovely open air seating arrangement overlooking the Creek and people were having a great time with friends and family.
After walking a little further, I found Heritage Village. When I entered I found an open wide ground which had shops, eating places, bedouin tents, desert like setting with people dressed in traditional costumes. Its called Heritage Village because it gives an insight into how people lived in Dubai before modernization. Honestly, I expected lots of activity here but it was very less crowded. I saw a few ladies applying Arabic Mehndi to some travelers. I also went to each and every shop and interacted with few of them. The shops were selling stuffed camels, fridge magnets, etc. I met many Indian shopkeepers. Rather the lady who was taking care of the Ramesh Art Gallery was very friendly and she also told me that she was originally from Mumbai but had been living in Dubai for like forty years and see had seen the modernization happen in these decades.
She told me that initially a lot of visitors used to come here and even the Art Gallery did really well but now since everything was shifting to downtown, not many people were interested to come here. After having a hearty conversation with her, I walked around the Heritage Village for around half an hour more and decided to return because the sun was already going down. This place definitely made me think about the humble beginning of UAE and how it had scaled the heights.
The moment I came out of the Heritage Village, I found the Al Bandar restaurant and then the Diving Village on my left. The restaurant was already buzzing with people and I could see many tourists indulged in food, drinks and sheesha. But before that I found a peculiar piece of art (model) in black and blue. There was something mentioned about its creator but I have forgotten about it. And right there there was the customer service booth inside a boat. Though I knew that this place was undergoing reconstruction, I still walked to the Diving Village to see if there was something that would capture my interest. But it was a vain effort because everything was closed and lay in a dilapidated state. I was curious around the boat making and diving because Dubai’s past was quite much about fishing and pearling. It was only later that the livelihood around these two jobs helped the people to survive and of course the oil made it a modern Emirate. Next to the diving village, there was yet another restaurant named Kan Zaman which was also gradually coming to action.
After that there was just a road which gave way to the residential area. If you continue towards the main road, there is a famous Al Shindaga tunnel which is used by 55,000 vehicles almost daily. It is of importance because it has brought two sides of the creek together. It is also the only underwater crossing in Dubai across the Creek. I had learnt about it from friends when we had gone picnicking at Al Mamzar Park.
But now when this part of Al Sindhaga was done, I decided to walk back. Once again I walked past all the buildings that I had seen because the same path is used for to and fro. I only stopped when I was curious to check the menu at the Barjeel Guest House. While I was doing that, the manager came up to me and initiated a conversation. After a small talk, there I told him I was a travel blogger and I wanted to go around to see the guest house. He agreed almost immediately and let me go and click as many pictures I wanted. Below is the view of the Creek from the terrace of the restaurant. I cannot comment about the food because I did not eat anything but I must mention the restaurant has a primal location and an interesting colorful seating on the terrace. I thanked him and walked towards the Watch Tower because the sun was spreading it colors and was about to take the final leap to the other side of the globe.
After catching up with this beautiful sunset, I decided to stay for some more time. The dusk setting was breezy and beautiful. The lights had been switched on and I could more activity around the Water Transport station. More families and couples were coming this way. In the next few minutes, the lights were switched on and the clay buildings glowed under the affect of yellow lights. As I walked closer to the waterfront, it shone with the reflection of the lights from the colorful ships and abras (wooden boats). Everything looked very pleasant at this time and I decided to stay for a little more time. Here are a few more clicks that will give you a fair idea that why you must visit this waterfront and the restaurants were so crowded during this time. I had had a great day for sure.