One of the places my heart is most at home is a little country in the Arabian Gulf.   People are often surprised when they hear that if I could hop on a plane to anywhere in the world, the Middle East is always at the top of my list of desired destination options.

Some of my most precious memories stem from time spent there, some of the people dearest to me live there, some of my favorite things to eat are most accessible there, and some of my funniest – or craziest – adventures are related to trips over there.

The last time I went, I had the chance to have another friend come and meet me for part of the time, giving me the opportunity to ‘show off’ this place I love so very much.  It was such fun to get to introduce her to all the wonderful friends I have there and to take her to my favorite spots – places to eat, explore, shop, or just photograph!

It’s a country full of contrasts – modern skyscrapers dotting the skyline with ancient forts and traditional handicrafts still being used on a daily basis. looking over the water

One thing that I’ve found intriguing, since my very first trip there nearly half my life ago now, are the dhows scattered along the coastline.  dhows

Dhows are the traditional style of boats, historically used primarily for the pearling industry.  Their use then spread to transporting other goods, and more recently, dhows are now used for the fishing and shrimping industry.

Historically, dhows were constructed by stitching planks together.  It’s only been the more modern dhows when builders have begun turning to using nails for their construction, even still, though, most tend to stick with the traditional dhow construction method.

dhow by water

Builders and dhow makers still work along the shorelines, repairing or restoring old dhows, and others constructing brand new ones.

dhow repair

The repair and salvage yards are probably the area I most enjoy exploring and photographing.

Finding beauty in the broken bits of the past that are being redeemed in the hands of a skilled craftsman can’t help but remind me of what God does in our lives.

close up of dhow