Thursday, October 04, 2007

Days gone by

Dubai left along time ago, but occasionally we get a whiff of it and it brings strong feelings of nostalgia. Ramadan is a time where we see a little bit of tradition popping up. I know that nothing can stay the same, but oh, how I wish, just for a little while to have it back.

Al Dhiyafa street was the home of Dayvilles ice cream. Now we have Häagen-Dazs. Who would have ever thought that we prefer it? Bring back Dayvilles any day. We didn't have to look for parking then either, just drove up onto the pavement, right up to the glass doors.

Fast food was Greenland Cafeteria in Jaflyia before it was overrun by Eat & Drink Cafeteria.

Cars were TOYOTAS. Almost every house had a Toyota Crown parked outside. I am so old, I can recall Nissan in the Datsun days. Seriously, it gets worse. My neighbours had a Datsun 180b. I kid you not.

Coca cola did not exist, but Dixi did. And it was nice.

Crisps were Pofak Namaki from the grocery. We tried not to buy the packs that had faded in the sun (probably on the ship coming over here from Iran).

Tv was Daktari ( I believe on Aramco tv), and we had Daktari every day, over and over, on and on, repeat after repeat. But guess what? I wouldn't mind watching an episode now, just for old times sake.

For those that cannot relate, I apologise. For those that were there, all is not forgotten. But it has gone.


i*maginate said...

"before it was overrun by Eat & Drink Cafeteria."

That says it all hehe

BuJ said...

WOW! I can relate to 2 of the 4 pictures.. does this make you twice my age?

this is amazing.. a really heartfelt post :)

Seabee said...
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Seabee said...

I agree, I miss that time too - do you remember Istanbouli on Al Diyafa Street? The best sharwarmas in town. Mini Chinese is still there, but it's changed.

Dixi Cola! I ran the advertising campaign that launched it. The boss there had a wonderful name - Seymour Thistlethwaite.
And the launch campaigns for Unikai dairy products, the Dubai Metropolitan...

No English newspapers then, just 'Reuters' that became 'Recorder' - a bunch of A4 sheets stapled together that were copies of the Reuters news-wire reports. Anyone else remember that?

CG said...

Do you remember Pizza Vino on Al Diyafa street? They shut down once they were not licensed for drink anymore. Istanbouli was GREAT.
OMG, you are sending me downhill even further. Bring it all back.
i*maginate cannot even begin to fathom, me thinks.
And Buj, well, what can I say? My guess is that you remember dixi and pofak namaki. I certainly feel twice your age, I even feel twice my own sometimes. DUbai grew so fast that to see such rapid growth in any other place we would have had to age at least 50 years. I honestly feel like we have all been left traumatized by the zoom in the boom.

CG said...

Seabee....Unikai? Oh dear. My face was on the side of their freezers. I was cute way back then.

i*maginate said...

Nope cg, can't quite fathom to the extent you do! My memories are limited to

a)15 mins from my home to Shj's city centre
b)Gerrard at Al Ghurair Center being the hippest coffee shop intown
c)Life without mobiles
d)Dxb airport having only two passport checkdesks (!!)
f)The arrival of coke in the UAE, and going to "Safeway" to get crates (later became "Safestway")
g)The original black abaya with golden burkhas
h)No traffic
i)Never having to walk anywhere, and rembering the first time "not" taking the car
j)the old taxis!
k)Hyatt Regency and InterCon Dubai being fashionable residences
l)Sh Zayed Road being a dirt track
m)Trade Centre being the tallest building in the Middle East
n)that "highly attractive blue roundabout" on Diyafah St signalling the start of Jumeirah - currently demolished
o)Dubai 33 - no cable
p)Galleria ice skating

The list goes on!

Yes, it has all gone, but I have come to realise change is for the better, though the past is naturally hard to let go of.

samuraisam said...

does anyone know if they sell dixi cola here anywhere? I'd quite like to try some.

BuJ said...

lol we should start an Old Dubai club walla :)

I feel so out of place in today's Dubai.. I guess I need to move with the times or decide to live permanently in the past.

Sam, I wish I know where u can buy Dixi cola.. but I think it's completely gone off the shelves.. the company went bust or something.

btw i still remember it taking 15 to drive from shj to deira (al nasr square). Now it takes probably 15 min just to circle around the nast square r/a!

I* I remember taking skating lessons at Galleria.. oh they were the best..

Do you guys remember the Al Nasr Leisureland or the Sindibad at the 3rd floor of Ghureir? The latter used to be a playground for the kids in my class to test their new water pistols in the little fights we used to have with the other kids from the other class :) said...

its sad... i remember back when i visited dubai in 1997 and wafi had JUST opened up... it was a huge empty shopping mall and we wonderd why there was such a big shopping mall open in the middle of nowhere (yes, back then there was NOTHING around it).

i guess a lot of us in the gulf feel the same, superfast growth leaving us lost... i think you'll like this: go to my page and click on the 80's and 90's section at the top, might help bring back some memories :)

i*maginate said...

*BuJ for f*s sake it's literally called SINDBAD not SINDIBAD lol what's with the fascination with the Sindh province :P

Nope, no water pistols for us, just used to drive the staff crazy demanding to go on every ride and totally wearing out all the "rides" going a million times!

Who remembers CITY 2000? lol It was on the street leading to Clock Tower....(always forget the street names round that area)

*seabee I had only been to Istanbouli once - as far as I remember it was a "sit-down" place, and a good one at that (for DXB standards at the time)

Wot about the Chinese restaurant in AGC (Al Ghurair Centre) - that was pretty cool at the time - most likely not open anymore but have no idea!

*ammaro, thx for the info, about to run to your blog just now!

BuJ said...

CITY 2000!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It's on Al Maktoum St (near the Clocktower) and on the same building as Baby & Me (or some Mothercare-like store).

It was my FIRST and BEST entertainment place!!! The precursor to feeble things that followed like Magic Planet, and EuroDisney :P

BuJ said...

PS: It's amazing that the "2000" in City 2000 was actually cool coz the year 2000 was in the future back then. Now it's the past.. man.. i'm OLD.. or rather "aging" hehe

kaya said...

Oh cg!
I remember it all.And as Ms. Dion would say: Its all coming back to me now.
Mind you even today I love Pofak Namaki. I used to eat that as a kid in Iran. Sigh!
So many windows to so many memories.
BTW cg, When do er get to see pictures of the Rolex?

Ps. Im out of time. So cg and buj
you guys been tagged.

rosh said...

Everybody's reminiscing these days: ) If you have not already, hope over to all the reminiscence on LocalExpat's blog, below is a link -

SHJ has changed as well, though not necessarily all in the best direction : ) There was more to do at SHJ than DXB back in the days - from the Expo Center to Eid and National Day festivities - the whole place had a *soul*, which felt quite different. Dixie cola had so many flavours - their lemon flavour, was *not* good. I played tennis at DCC and Al Nasr - driving from SHJ to DCC was a *road trip* : ) It all seems like yesterday to be honest........

Change is a double edged sword eh?

Harsha said...

Datsun..Dixi cola...Pofak Namaki...Istanbouli (never been there but I remember seeing it).. Sindbad!! (I may still have a token saved somewhere)


nzm said...

I do miss Clarence.

Seabee said...

i*maginate yes, Istanbouli was a very nice sit-down restaurant and it had the sharwarma stand outside on the corner of the building, surrounded by sand.

cg yes I remember Pizza Vino.
That was you on the freezers was it! They were a New Zealand company, United Kaipara Dairies. (nzm do you know them?)

Sam, I haven't seen Dixi drinks since we've been back. They had a range of cola, lemonade, tonic, soda etc. The cola and lemonade was OK, the tonic was awful.

Buj yep, remember them well. Mrs Seabee was Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair's PA when the Ghurair Centre first opened. (i*maginate we used to eat in the Chinese restaurant there often). And Al Nasr Leisureland was my company's local partner's place (Sheikh Mana bin Kalifa). It had the first ice skating rink in Dubai.

Seabee said...

Guys, I was so busy reminiscing I forgot to tell you...have you looked through Dubai as it used to be. Plenty of photos on there (they kindly put a link to my old photos which I've posted on my blog too).

kaya said...

Its time to tag.

i*maginate said...

*seabee, if Istanbouli was a sit-down place, I woudn't have recalled if the outside had a duststorm calling. Could have been that the inhouse waiters had served a good Turkish delight, braving the weather: who knows?

rosh said...

Are we still reminiscing people?

CG said...

Kaya, done the tag thing, finally. sorry for the delay.
i*maginate: I think I know nothing about you, but then I suddenly know everything. Me thinks I know you.....

Buj: yes the old dubaiian club sounds like an excellent idea.

seabee: I cannot stand this anymore. I blogged cos I was feeling slightly nostalgic, now I feel deeply sad and suicidal (ok, extreme I think).

Rosh: whats your problem mate (for buj, he hates that word). do you detest passing back through time?

rosh said...

Holy moly CG - if anything, I love love L-O-V-E reminiscing, especially of all the growing up days in the UAE. Infact, I live in the past, in the UAE - am in NYC only in flesh & blood, yeah I know, I've got some issues :)

Since, I didn't see any new comments, I was hoping people would start reminiscing - hence asked the "re we still reminiscing people?"

All said, I think those of us, who grew up in the UAE (back in the days) - were truly blessed. For the most part, we couldn't have asked for a more secure, safe, simple atmosphere.

rosh said...

"Buj: yes the old dubaiian club sounds like an excellent idea."

If I may suggest - could we perhaps call it the old UAE (or UAEians) club instead? only because there are people from other "Emirates" reminiscing too :)

CG said...

Sorry Rosh, I thought you had endured enough....LOL...we shall go on then!

The UAE club sounds ok, but who will be on the board? and how about someone preparing a written endurance exam for those who want to join? We would not like any 'newbies' to slip through the loop, would we now? And what will be old enough for entry? I would say at least 75% of their life should have been spent here. or should we just let the 'board' decide (i.e. me, buj and rosh...haha)

Anyway, the one thing that I loved was that in the olden (haw) days we were a true melting pot of nationalities, we all blended so well. Today everyone huddles to their 'own', it is sad. Time for integration me thinks. If you can do it then you can stay, if not then follow the 6 year cap....YEEEEEEEEEEEHA. That would actually be a good idea, for those who want the 6 year cap rule in place, they should devise a plan where people can stay if they have learnt the lingo and can prove they have integrated in a useful way, besides just taking up standing room at the Irish Village every weekend.

BuJ said...

True words of wisdom ya CG!

I propose CG for president, seconded by Buj and Rosh.

We'll make sure no newbies squeeze into em cracks, then we'll crack em newbies up.

sounds like a good idea. UAEian club sounds so good, although has a tinge of PC

rosh said...

hahaha ooooo this is fun :)

Zain! CG the first officially elected female president of the UAE/UAEian club :)

Eligibility age minimum 16 or 18?
Newbies - how many years in the UAE? Mandatory allegiance required (moi votes yes :)

BuJ - perhaps you can be the Infrastructure minister? and I the Finance minister (will do my best not to bankrupt us all :)

Who must be the PR minister - i*... :)

Keefieboy said...

Istanbouli is gone? Since when? said...
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