Tag Archives: UAE

A Strange Encounter

duck1

This is positively one of the oddest ducks that we have seen in our lives. We were out at the park, and they had a small area where a few ducks were being kept. We went closer only to realize that they were different from any other ducks that we had seen before. One of them in particular had found a feather on the ground (actually it looked like it was his own), and he kept moving around all over the place carrying this feather in his beak.

Every time we tried to get a little closer to him he would move away, so finally we decided to just sit around and watch them move around the place. We had been sitting there for close to half an hour when we noticed that this particular duck was coming closer and closer to us, and finally he stationed himself about 4 feet away from us. He never came closer, but that was good enough for us to get as many photographs as we needed.

Lesson learnt, – when interacting with birds and animals, let them come to you. Be patient, let them know that you are not there to harm them; once they realize this, they lose their fear, and will come closer than you expect them to.

 

Music for the Soul

SONY DSC

If you love music, and are in Dubai, then one of the things that you have to do this February is to attend an evening of the Emirates Airline Dubai Jazz Festival.  There will be 4 main gigs over the two weekends, (this time one of the artists being featured is none other than Carlos Santana), and 5 days at the Jazz Garden with reputed artists from all over the globe.

The atmosphere is just beyond description, you have to be there to actually take it all in. The music transforms you to another planet, as the artists encourage you (all the audience) to join in and have a good time. After a long hard days work, all the grinding through the traffic, one cannot ask for a better relaxation therapy than to spend an evening at the Jazz Festival.

If you need more information on this, go to their website at www.dubaijazzfest.com and you will get all details related to the event.

Its an evening that you will  not regret…do mark the dates in your diary.

 

Family Meal

Family Dinner

 Meal time is family time…take some quality time off from your busy schedule and spend it sharing a meal with your loved ones. It helps build relationships and makes you feel a whole lot better for having taken the time to do so.

This was taken in Al Ain Zoo earlier this year. The other animals were just roaming about aimlessly (at least that was how it seemed to us), but all the giraffe’s got together, and decided to have their afternoon meal. It was quite interesting to see how just one of them would pick up some of the grass, and suddenly there would be 3-4 heads converging on the one that had collected the grass, and they would all pick small shares literally from the others mouth. What was more surprising was that the one that had collected the grass in the first place did not seem to mind at all that the others were taking the grass literally out of its mouth. Fortunately, different giraffe’s kept picking up the grass,while the others helped themselves to a mouthful.

We took a few pictures and then moved on. What we found interesting about the giraffe’s were that they did not seem to mind sharing the food at all; something quite contrary to what we understand about the wild..that its all about the survival of the fittest.

We found the photography interesting for a few reasons…firstly, the calm temperament of the animals, secondly, their color made a nice contrast against the sky, and thirdly, because of their height, it helped to eliminate the clutter/distraction on the ground and leave a clear background to frame the image in.

The Daily Walk

Culture 4

With the climate cooling down its the perfect time to travel to the desert to get some good pictures of the culture around us. With a little bit of patience and perseverance, and the fact that you may actually have to venture into the off-beaten track, you can find the trainers with their camels in the dunes. The satisfaction in getting these images is that other than the camels and their riders, there is no other trace of civilization around you.

We came across this group  more by chance…they suddenly appeared from behind a dune and we had to opportunity to make a few good photos before they again vanished behind another large dune. A few minutes after this the wind picked up, and we soon found ourselves in the middle of a lot of swirling sand, and very reduced visibility. There was really no way in which we could use our cameras without getting sand into them, and so decided to make our way back to our vehicle, all the while protecting our camera gear, while the sand kept getting into our eyes, mouth, hair and clothes. Something a little different from the normal routine day.

The Competitive Edge

Sport 6

This is a picture made at the Fazza International Basketball Tournament held in Dubai for the Physically Handicapped Athletes. In most ways, I guess the picture says it all. There is a fierce determination to win, the athletes are restricted to their wheelchairs, but that’s about it! They are as competitive as any other athlete you would see anywhere. The game is fast, there is a lot of bumping, nudging and blocking that goes on, in order to maintain possession of the ball, and to score as many baskets as possible. There is also a lot of cheering from their team mates who are on the sidelines, so overall a nice exciting event.

Every now and then one of these athletes fall or get knocked off their chairs, and the game stops immediately; not by the refree, but by the players themselves! There is a rush towards the fallen athlete by the  players from both teams,- to help him back into his seat, displaying a level of sportmanship that seems to be dwindling in today’s world. As soon as he is strapped back into his seat, its back to business for all.

Its a good event to photograph; the game is fast, and if you use a slow shutter speed on your camera, you could create some very interesting shots that depict movement/motion.

All in a Day’s Work

All in a day's work

 

Very often we tend to ignore the day-to-day happenings around us; seeing how busy we all are with our meetings, schedules and appointments. Unfortunately, we fail to realise that by doing this, we are slowly doing away with our past habits and ways of life,  and are now moving into a new way of living. This is why it is so important to preserve the cultural and behavioral habits of our surroundings.

Above is a picture of the trainers walking their camels in the morning, getting them used to the race track. This is something that happens every morning in the areas close to the Camel Race track in Dubai, and it has become such that most of the people that pass by, do not even glance towards the camels and their trainers. Interestingly, we also see a number of tyre tracks in the sand, the desert no longer belongs to the “ship of the desert” !

While modernization and progress is something that we all try to achieve in our lives, it is equally important to remember our roots, and try and strike a balance between the two.

Riding the Waves

Sport 7

 

Bored? Nothing to do? Go down to the beach and join in the action ! One of the more popular sports now catching on is Kite Surfing. It looks a lot of fun, and I am sure that it is as well, but it takes a good deal of practice and hard work to be able to really fly over the waves like you see some of the more experienced surfers doing. You first need to know how to control the kite, and that takes a lot of energy, and practice; and doing this on the shore can be a bit embarrassing, especially if the wind is strong. But once you have got the knack of it, its a lot of fun, and a real cool way to spend the weekend.

If you are not really into active sport, but still want to catch up on all the fun and excitement, just get over to the beach with your camera, and capture all the action as it happens in front of you.

 

The Dubai Creek

Sunset Cruise

Khor Dubai (Dubai Creek) is the local name for the saltwater creek that separates Dubai into two main sections – Bur Dubai and Deira Dubai.  It is of great significance to the UAE, because it was here that trading first started between Dubai and traders from India and Africa, – as early as the beginning of the 20th Century. Although not deep enough for large vessels to enter, this creek became the first harbour that Dubai had. Dubai’s “Pearl Industry”  which formed a major section of the country’s economy was based on the trading that happened here.

Since then, this creek has had several changes, it has been dredged to accomodate larger vessel, and is today a major hub for the Dhow traffic that carries almost all forms of cargo, and Personal Effects from Dubai to the neighbouring countries. With the introduction of major ports like Port Rashid, Port Saeed and Jebel Ali, the significance of this route has diminished, but it still remains an important port for the Dhow traffic.

Today the Dubai side of the creek hosts the bustling Textile market and the Museum, while the Deira side has the traditional Spice market, the Gold Souq, the Dhow harbour, several impressive buildings, and a busy trading centre slightly inland.

The easiest, and probably the most enjoyable way, to cross the creek is by the “Abra”, – a traditional wooden craft, powered by an engine. It has a sunshade to protect you from the heat of the day, but thats about it !  You have to sit on a small raised platform in the middle of the Abra, as it makes it way across the creek. There are two points on either side of the creek that are connected via the Abra’s, and this mode of transportation is used by thousands of commuters daily.

The best time however to visit the creek is in the evening. Just as the sun is about to go down, take a stroll along the quay, and you see a flurry of activity as people hurry to get back home, and prepare for the next day. If you are patient enough, you get the whole creek turning a deep blue, reflecting the colours of the sky, as the day slowly turns into night, marking the end of another day.

 

 

 

 

 

The Spice Market

Simply Spices

 

A visit to the traditional spice market (or “Souq”, as it is called in Arabic, meaning “Market”) in Dubai is sure to leave you with a few memories that you will long remember.

Situated beside the Dubai Creek, this market has been here for a very long time. The market itself comprises of several narrow alleys paved with cobblestones. The pillars that hold the roof of the market are made of wood and have traditional lanterns suspended on them. There are several restored wind towers in this market which helps circulate the air, – the scents from the spices can at times be a little strong! The area is generally crowded and is a bustle of activity. There are local traders vying for the best bargains, while on the other hand there are scores of eager tourists/visitors trying to get the best experiences out of their visit to this market. There are several “free lance” porters with their traditional trolleys/handcarts,  transporting the goods from the stores to the trucks, or the nearby launches, for onward transportation.

The stores in the Spice Souq sell a large variety of fragrances and spices, Frankinsence, dried lemons, rose petals, chillies, and many herbs used in Arabic and South Asian food. Whilst the main attraction in this market is the large variety of spices that are available,  this is not the only commodity sold here. Walk past the first alley, and you will find utensils, glassware, foodstuff, textiles, tableware, rugs and plastic goods. There is also a huge variety of incense burners, henna kits, saffron and shisha pipes that you can choose from.

The market is not too large, but it gives you a fair idea as to how business is conducted here in the traditional manner. While shopping here in the summer months can be quite uncomfortable, its a nice market to visit in the cooler months. It is also in very sharp contrast to the posh markets and shopping areas that modern Dubai has to offer.

If you do visit Dubai, this is one of the places you must go to.

 

Waiting for customers?

 

Waiting for a sale

You never know what you will see when you take a walk along the busy traditional market areas in Dubai! There are so many bargains to chose from and such a lot of variety,  that you can spend a whole day in this place. From brightly coloured clothes, to the latest and trendiest fashions; footwear of all kinds, silk scarves, traditional arabic costumes, elegant embroidered cushions to decorate your house with, colourful po’ofs to laze around on…you just have to think of it, and keep looking…you will find it in this market.

This place is a bustle of activity in the evenings and weekends. People from all walks of life come here to this market to look for the best bargains available. So, we  were rather surprised to see this shop relatively empty, and the salesperson outside it,  making it almost look like he was there waiting for some customers to come and visit his store.

To anyone planning a visit to this market, a few words of advice…go during the winter months, its a whole lot cooler and much more enjoyable. And remember to take a camera along, because like we mentioned earlier, you never know what you will come across.