Monday, January 31, 2011


Traditional henna stencil patterns for every part of the body.

Sunday, January 30, 2011


A natural creek separates the old town of Dubai from the new developments. We were ferried across to the old side on one of the wooden river boats (called Afraks) that line both shores.

Ittar lane

Just off of the gold souk is the lane of perfumers selling the most delicate and heady traditional hand-distilled ittars and essences in tiny jewel-box stores.

Gold souk

Walking through the famous gold souk you can find a 22K gold mesh bikini, an errant tortoise, hefty diadems and enough necklaces to satiate even the most ardent jewellery whore.

More from the spice souk

Spice souk


The spice souk was undoubtedly my favourite spot in town—with row upon row of tightly-packed stores overflowing with spices, herbs and provisions from Iran, Morocco, India, China and even Guatemala. One over-eager merchant tried desperately to push a local dried fungus, which he insisted was a "natural viagra," on poor Hubby. He relented only after I agreed to purchase a fair quantity of dried Iranian rosebuds instead.

Keep a look-out for new Fat Sister culinary creations featuring purchases from the souk.

Old town

Here is the old, original part of town that seems so incongruous in scale next to the sparkling megapolis that is new Dubai. This unseemly tension and duality is what makes the city utterly compelling.

We spent an incredible afternoon meandering through the narrow, twisting alleys, intimate by-lanes, coffee houses, shisha dives and souks.

The marina

Dubai Mall

The Dubai Mall at the base of the Burj Khalifa is the largest mall in the world and one of the numerous spots that make the city a shopping mecca. Walking through just 1/20th of the mall, we came across ubiquitous Yankee outposts like Pottery Barn, California Pizza Kitchen, Bloomingdales and even a full-blown Magnolia Bakery! Interestingly, there were very few windows so I can well imagine people losing all sense of time here, just like in a casino.

Burj Khalifa

The most amazing thing about the Burj Khalifa apart from the views was the glass-encased elevator, illuminated with holographic images, which took just 1 min to get from the ground level to the observation deck on the 124th floor!

Friday, January 28, 2011

View from the top

Views of Dubai from the observation deck on the 124th floor of the Burj Khalifa.

It's hard to believe that this isn't even really the top-- there are 74 more floors above the deck!

Gold ATM

No joke, this really does dispense gold if you have a few thousand dirhams to spare.

© Copyright 2012 Shubhani Sarkar