Dhow’ing in the Marina

What better way to spend an evening, then slowly cruising the marina in a dhow? Book in advance and be at the Marina pier by 8.30 pm. Once they tick off your name in the list, you can bound into the dhow and quickly find your table. If you are the kind who enjoys feeling muggy, ask for a table on the top deck. If you’re like me and prefer the cool and non-muggy feeling, take a table indoors and sit in AC comfort.
The boat will slowly take off with a blast of the ole horn! Armed with your non-alcoholic welcome drink to sip on, lean over the railing and enjoy the lights and sights of the Dubai Marina. Lilting Arabic music playing in the background, a cacophony of voices, camera flashlights – it’s good to be alive!
The boat cruises up and down the Marina whilst you feast on good food. A mix of Indian, Arabic and Chinese – there is something for everyone. The huge buildings on either side are always lit up and looks super. Twinkling lights and huge buildings with marvelous facades. Many hotels dot the boulevard. You can look at booking a room in one of these to have a daily marina view during your stay.
Our dhow went very close to the “soon-to-be-opened” Dubai eye. It’s huge and am sure will be superb once inaugurated.
My table had a mix of nationalities – Chinese, Lebanese, American and moi Indian! The Lebanese couple were celebrating their anniversary. The man whipped out a small box just before dinner and gave her a ring with a small rock on it! Lucky lady! It was all very romantic and nice to behold.
There was some entertainment by way of a Swirling Dervish soon after dinner. Also known as Sufi turning or whirling, this originated among the Sufis (a dimension of Islam). They believe that by abandoning one’s ego, listening to music and a strong focus on God, they can reach perfection. They spin their body in repetitive circles (believe me they are fast and just watching can make you feel very dizzy) – believed to be symbolic of the planets orbit around the sun. The Egyptian form (which is what I saw) has the dervish in a multi-coloured skirt or tanoura. They whirl around in time to the rhythm of the music. The skirt sometimes lights up (series of LED lights sewed onto it) and it looks awesome. He was nothing short of magnificent and I was entranced by the fact that he didn’t keel over with dizziness. He used some props as well – ribbons and a stole. He invited some members of the audience to dance with him and they did so gamefully. I didn’t even attempt it – just watching made my head spin.
After a delightful 2 hours on the Marina, we disembarked to head home. It’s a great way to spend the evening especially if you are wooing the special one in your life!

Mavis Mendonca Smith

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