Running out of ideas on how to keep your brood busy while the kids are still on school holiday?
We recently ventured off the beaten path to the “Friday Market” which ironically is open seven days a week from 8am-10pm. It can be found on the Dubai-Fujairah road as you approach Masafi. On a side note, you are probably familiar with the famous “Masafi Water”. It does indeed come from the same village, well known for all their natural springs . Masafi, translated from Arabic means pure water.
It has a reputation for being one of the most eclectic markets in UAE. I did find it rather fun to snoop and browse each shop. You can buy nice little souvenirs such as pottery and outdoor candle holders, handicrafts, woven baskets, rugs of all shapes and sizes, gardening pots and lush plants. Do NOT forget to BARGAIN. We were offered a carpet at 2,000AED and managed to haggle it down to 500 AED. You can haggle with the vendors on everything!
The fruits are one of the biggest attractions for tourists. Some of the juiciest and tastiest mango’s we have ever tried. The kids enjoyed sipping coconut water freshly prepared by a fruit vendor.
I will never forget when my mom and I noticed an elderly Emarati man (in true Bedouin style) selling greens from a large folded cloth he was carrying over his back. Someone was able to help us translate what the elderly man was saying. He had FRESH, ORGANIC arugula. A gigantic bunch for 5 AED. He quickly handed us the full bag, took the cash and as I tried to snap a picture of him (the one below) he disappeared down the road like a ghost. The time we spent with that man was such a wonderful Arabian charm I have never felt before. I imagine that is how UAE was in the old days, before us expats flooded the country. He must be one of the original farmers from the village. I read online that Emirati local farmers actually started the Friday Market up. After their Friday prayers they would stand along the roadside and sell their produce. Eventually it became so popular that they hired other nationalities to do the selling for them. You will no longer find Emirati men selling (except the elderly man we were so lucky to encounter). Instead, Afghan’s and Pakistanis are the ones selling carpets and knick-knacks, while fruit/veg & gardening supplies are handled by Bangladeshis.
The Hajar mountains in the background of the market make for a beautiful backdrop. Masafi is known to be one of the greenest towns in UAE. If only the people of the region could be educated about pollution and enforcement and action would take place for littering. It is such a shame how much garbage is scattered across the grounds near the market..