Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

Teen life: Trip back in time saves dimes and leaves room for shopping spree

With school over and nothing to do all day, a friend suggested a visit to Heritage Village.

It’s a delicious feeling to be able to do nothing all day; it makes you almost – but not quite – miss the drudgery of school. A group of us had been toying with unseen places to visit when Louise suggested Heritage Village, which houses rows of shops and restaurants in an open-air souq.

We were feeling quite proud of having performed the Herculean feat of waking up at seven and spending ages squeezing into the new, cable-knit pullovers we’d bought for university. On reaching our destination, the realisation dawned that this was unwise because the car sensor showed a temperature of 42°C outside; the nearby creek was white from the glare. The heat was making us lethargic and lines from the The Walrus and the Carpenter kept running through my head: “The sun was shining on the sea / Shining with all its might.”

As superbly intelligent creatures, we appreciated that an off-peak time would allow us to avoid the crowds. Unfortunately, the proprietors of the shops and restaurants were equally aware that there would be no one around. “How odd,” said Ryan. “Everything’s closed.”

“And this was odd because it was the middle of the night,” I quoted soulfully.

“It’s not the middle of the night, it’s 10 in the morning,” said Zara, looking at me strangely. “Maybe you’re getting a touch of sun, let’s go into that building.” This turned out to be Juma and Obaid Bin Thani House, a historical fort that is now open to the public.

As we wandered in and out of a stunning calligraphy exhibition, a kind-looking employee in a kandura,
Milan, came up to us. “Please come into the office,” he said, bowing, and we followed, wondering what this was about. I could get used to having a workplace like “the office” – a lantern-illuminated room filled with books and Arabian daggers, where Arshad, the exhi-bition curator, invited us to sit on the majlis-style sofa. Over qahwa coffee in silver cups and dates bursting with sweetness, he gave us a brief introduction to the fort’s history and its treasures and showed us traditional calligraphy pens.

The adjoining building warranted a visit, too – the Saeed Al Maktoum House, the former residence of the ruler of Dubai. A philatelic display housed fascinating stamps; one that seemed to be celebrating the anopheles mosquito was labelled “The world against malaria”, while another had a man lying comatose on a stretcher with the words “Anti-tuberculose”. It didn’t matter that Dubai hasn’t hosted the Olympics yet – a stamp extolled the virtues of the Innsbruck winter games instead. A UAE coin collection featured the Indian anna and rupees with British rulers etched on them – no one can say we’re not multicultural here.

That, we thought, was more than enough of a history lesson; the day was increasingly feeling like a primary school field trip. All that was left to do was stock up on the delicious qahwa coffee, bound to come in handy for late nights as a student, and return to the Heritage Village in the evening – we hadn’t even made a dent in our shopping quota.

Lavanya Malhotra is an 18-year-old student in Dubai

twitter Follow us @LifeNationalUAE

Follow us on Facebook for discussions, entertainment, reviews, wellness and news.

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 This four-bedroom villa covers 4,790 square feet and is part of a new compound in Umm Suqeim.

In photos: Beachside villa in Umm Suqeim, Dubai for Dh800,000

Taking a closer look at a four-bedroom villa in Umm Seqeim, Dubai.

 Suresh Raina is part of the the IPL's Chennai Super Kings team, which take on Kings XI Punjab on April 18 in Abu Dhabi. Photo by Duif du Toit / Gallo Images / Getty Images

Chennai Super Kings cricketer Suresh Raina spotted at Ferrari World

One of the top batsmen and bowlers of the Indian Premier League’s Chennai Super Kings (CSK), Raina spent a day at Ferrari World with some of his team mates, and seemed to particularly enjoy the world’s fastest roller-coaster.

 Shah Rukh Khan plays a shot during a friendly match between the members of the support and administrative staff of Royal Challengers Bangalore and his Kolkata Knight Riders cricket team. Dibyangshu Sarkar / AFP

When the worlds of Bollywood and cricket collide

With the first game of the Indian Premier League beginning today in the UAE, we explore the league’s Bollywood connections, which are as glitzy as they are controversial.

 A rendering of People Abu Dhabi by Crystal. Courtesy People Abu Dhabi by Crystal

People Abu Dhabi by Crystal to open on Saadiyat Island

Abu Dhabi’s nightlife scene just gets better and better. After venues such as O1NE Yas Island and Iris in Yas Marina opening last year, it’s Saadiyat’s turn with the launch of the glamorous People Abu Dhabi by Crystal.

 Dumyé Dolls’s fashionable rag dolls. Rebecca McLaughlin-Duane / The National

Top takeaways from Fashion Forward and where to find them

The ideas and designs that caught our attention and where you can learn more

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National