Traditional Arabian souk, countless wind towers, lantern lit wooden ceiling, enticing waterways, restaurants, bars and coffee shops. These are the impressive images left on my memory on my first visit to Souk Madinat Jumeirah one weekend in April 2014.
I never had idea of where to go and what to visit before and after I arrived in Dubai on the last week of February. Plans were not scribed. Weekend solitary celebrations were often spontaneous. Until one of my former students, Julie who works as a nurse in Saudi German Hospital, casually suggested for me to visit Souk Madinat Jumeirah. I set no expectations and simply went without clue.
Watching the waterways with several abra or local wooden boats propelling around the world-class hotel and resort kept me preoccupied initially. Then my eyes and my lens became busy as I enjoy and delight myself to this gem in Dubai.
Selecting where to dine was a happy problem. There were too many inviting restaurants and coffee shops that offer a relaxing view, overlooking the waterways below, and the iconic Burj Al Arab amidst the blue Emirati sky above.
Even the options of where to sit seemed endless. Bean bags, local arabesque sofa, stairs of the amphitheatre or charming wooden chairs -the choice is yours! I decided to sip my coffee and grab some bites while thinking of nothing but enjoying the afternoon at an Arabic al fresco restaurant.
“Sir, would you like your Turkish coffee, sweet?
“Medium sweet, or very sweet?
And since I haven’t tasted Turkish coffee yet, I was clueless that it’s strong and black.
It had me on my first sip. I swear, I’ll go to Turkey soon!
With all the unthinkable challenges I have been encountering in trying my best to start my life in Dubai, this trip to Souk Madinat Jumeirah, that simple and affordable snack and coffee, that overwhelming and gorgeous view, made my afternoon memorable.
After spending a couple of hours without in mind but the moment and the sight in front of me, I continued to stroll and wander inside the souk. Built accordingly to traditional public markets, the carvings on the ceiling that boast of skillful craftmanship were enough to leave me in awe.
Turkish Delights. These sweets based on gel of starch and sugar, infused with chopped dates, nuts and other fruits, were beyond fascinating! My taste buds got to sample a small piece for free as the shop attendant was generous and friendly.
Then, as I stepped again outside, I made a quick last look at everything around me; marveled at the sight of a helicopter docking at its pad atop Burj Al Arab. Ahhhh…the life of the rich, famous and fabulous! And then there’s the life of a struggling foreign worker from Manila who continues to exert efforts to be happy in Dubai.
“Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it. You must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it.”
– Elizabeth Gilbert –
How To Go To Souk Madinat Jumeirah? Take the Dubai Metro to Mall of Emirates and hail a metered taxi cab to Souk Madinat Jumeirah. The trip will take around 5 minutes and shall cost you 10-15 AED depending on the traffic.