Peaceful, calm and still. Not words I often use to describe this city, but that's what Dubai is on a Friday. It's fast becoming my favourite day of the week.
Friday is the first day of the weekend here and is the holy day in Islam. Years ago, the weekend used to be Thursday-Friday (and it still is in places in the Middle East, such as Saudi Arabia) but it was changed to Friday-Saturday to make doing business with the west a little easier.
By law, workers are only required to have one day off a week in the UAE and for a lot of people that day is Friday. Which means the city is very, very quiet. The roads are blissfully empty and I love soaking up the peace in an otherwise chaotic city.
For Muslims, Friday is a time to spend at the mosque and with family. It's a day where everyone seems to move slowly.
In Dubai, Friday brunches are very popular for Western expats. Every hotel in the city has a brunch, as do many restaurants, and it can be completely over the top and extravagant (one hotel has Chinese acrobats to entertain the kids, free flowing French bubbles and live cooking stations whipping up a world of food). There are other brunches that are a little more sedate.
Large open areas around town are filled with Indian, Sri Lankan, Pakistani and Bangladeshi men playing cricket. Pakistani men gather to cheer on their favourite wrestlers, Carly captured this tradition beautifull in her post here.
For our little family, Fridays usually involve coffee at our favourite cafe, grocery shopping for the week and some times we like to go out for lunch, usually trying out a new Lebanese restaurant. We might take a swim in the afternoon or play in one of the city's well manicured parks. We may catch up with friends or visit one of the city's attractions.
Most small shops and tourist attractions are closed on a Friday or at least on Friday mornings, which has taken some time to get used to. Many a Friday we've turned up somewhere to find it a ghost town.
Yep, Friday is fast becoming my favourite day.