Once I moved to Sharjah, I had all my friends in Bur Dubai, where I used to live before. There was no inexpensive way for a 15-year-old to go back to Bur Dubai on the weekends to play some cricket or meet old friends.
But there was some hope in the form of a wooden boat. This is how it worked… you take a taxi from Sharjah, this taxi would allow you to share the ride with other passengers, four passengers per taxi. That was like 5 Dhs per head. That taxi would drop you at Nasser Square in Deira. From Nasser Square, Abra is about a 5-minute walk, but it still used to be a drain because of the heat and humid weather.
After reaching the Abra (Boat) stop, you open your ears and eyes and follow people who are flocking towards the Abra that will leave once it has 20 passengers. It was 50 fils from Deira to Bur Dubai and vice versa. That’s less than 50 cents roundtrip. The trip was about 6 Dhs, instead of around 50 Dhs if I were to use the taxi back and forth from Dubai and Sharjah.
The Abra ride itself is around 7-8 minutes. The water is blue, the buildings are scenic, and the breeze is relaxing. This is one thing about Dubai it believes in preserving ancient practices and ethnic heritage when in today’s world, they can offer the same roundtrip in an electronic air-conditioned boat.