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Finding Things

The Poverty amid the Rich.

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES | Thursday, 1 May 2014 | Views [135] | Scholarship Entry

There is something quite enchanting about a city which is engulfed by so much wealth. Everything, and I mean everything, is designed to be the biggest and best.

It was my third time in Dubai. I'd already done the tourist experience and adjusted to the wealth of the city. Seeing Ferrari after Ferrari on the highway, and walking past gold embossed shops laden with the latest designer clothes was normal for this place.

However, on this visit to Dubai, it was my aim to get beyond the wealth and find out how the other half live.

On the outskirts of Dubai was a place called Al Fahidi. I'd researched it online and found that an old fort still remained from years before the city was even built. The websites didn't give much information on the place apart from that there was a fort. So, I set off to explore.

I hailed a cab from outside the apartment I was staying in. I got in and was greeted by a taxi guy from Bangladesh. "Can you take me to Al Fahidi" I asked. He looked at me as if I'd asked him to take me to Mars.

He drove on regardless for around 35 minutes (taxis are cheap in Dubai) before we reached Al Fahidi and I exited the taxi.

The streets were not like the ones back in inner Dubai. They were grubby. Washing lines hung over the main road whilst sandy clothes swayed in the breeze. The roads were filled with potholes and litter while dusty looking cars beeped and honked at one another.

I quickly realised I was the only non-local around. Muslim prayers rang out from surrounding mosques as I continued down the street. Most of the shops were crammed with second hand items. Like an indoor car-boot sale almost. It smelled like inscense. I don't know why, but I liked it.

I could see the fort at the end of the street. But I didn't make it.

As I neared the fort I noticed a small gap between two shops. A boy around the age of 10 was nestled between the two rough brick walls. He wore clothes which were evidently too big for his minuscule frame. He turned his head towards me. His face was thin and grainy from the sand.

He had a small piece of bread in his hand.

I will never forget what he did next.

He looked at me, ripped his bread in two and held half up to me.

That bread was probably the only thing he had in the world and he wanted to give half of that to me.

I have never felt so humbled in all of my life. I gave the boy sweets then continued to the fort.

It's unnerving how such immense richness can live alongside such poorness.

Tags: 2014 Travel Writing Scholarship - Euro Roadtrip

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