Creek dreaming

Seas, rivers, lakes, streams, meres and tarns. There's something about being by or on the water that never fails to attract people. Even swimming pools.

By Robert Flemming (Staff Reporter)

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Published: Tue 6 Jun 2006, 3:26 PM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 4:42 PM

People go to the beach because it's by the sea, property prices leap if there's a watery view and innumerable boats are bought to simply float on the stuff.

But suggest the idea of taking an evening cruise on Dubai Creek on a dhow and you'll probably be rewarded with a sneer. Tourist tat!

But the very reason why tourist attractions become what they are is because they're attractive. As the fully dressed dhow potters quietly and gently down the Creek away from its berth near the InterContinental the lights glitter on the passing eddies. Time out from the busy Dubai schedule, you put your world on pause and watch that other world softly drift by beyond the river bank. Sip at a cold drink as you consider the lavish buffet; help yourself to perhaps some Lebanese salad, some houmus and bread and return to the linen clad table for further musings.

Little abras buzz past the bows, busily ferrying their human cargos: a sight to amuse or intrigue but not to depress. The neon lights of the towers make silhouettes of dhows and tenements, creating nighttime images that are so much softer than the daylight's stark reality. The service is attentive but not intrusive. A few strawberries and kiwi fruit? What a pleasant way of spending one's time.

On this occasion the diners are representatives from travel associations in Turkey, Iran and the Ukraine plus a few from Dubai's legion hotels. Arranged by Sight See Tourism, the cruise is part of a busy schedule designed to show the visitors a few of the delights that the city has to offer. As well as dining on a dhow and visiting numerous hotels, they're taken to Ski Dubai and into the desert for a safari tour.

'People don't have enough information and they come to us for help,' says Dr Aykan Candemir from the Turkish company Vespera Travel. 'Dubai is very much like Izmir, cosmopolitan and growing. Our country is very important for both business and tourism like Dubai and a trip like this is very useful.'

Dr Candemir believes in the reciprocity of tourism between nations and feels that there are lessons to be learned from Dubai's successes. 'I also teach business at the university, specialising in investment. Everything is so well planned here that you can see what will happen in 10 years. That is something that I will tell the businessmen of Turkey.'

For Iranian travel agent Reza, the trip is a mix of business and pleasure. Although he was born in Dubai and visited many times over the years, this is his first time on a dhow cruise and for the most part he's impressed. 'Each time I learn a little more. It is good and Dubai is very popular for those things we don't have in Iran.

We have many things there which are not here, like history, but right now the people don't want history, they just want to have fun. It's only a short flight away and then you can have all the things you want.'

All the things that you want?

'We're selling dreams,' says Hadi Mirzaei, Managing Director of Sight See Tourism.

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