Abu bin Dasha sat cross-legged in the center of the gorgeous carpet. The fabric walls of his tent were affixed in such a way as to catch the slightest waft of breeze, should one appear. The desert was capricious with breezes and everything else.
He opened a carved sandalwood box and took out a pinch of tobacco gifted him by the British sea captain. As he packed the bowl of the bronze hookah, he surveyed his vast tent with complacency. The new Turkish carpet, the silken cushions from China, a delicious mint tea from India sweetened with Jamaican sugar.
Allah is good, he thought. Then, wickedly, but he can always be better.
“Pardon me, excellency,” said Omar, bowing in the entrance. “There is a boy here to see you.”
“What does he want?”
“He says he is a diver. And that he found something you might be interested in. An enormous pearl.”
Though a thoroughly modern city, the earliest recorded mention of Dubai is in 1095 in the Book of Geography by the Andalusian-Arab geographer Abu Abdullah al-Bakri.
The Venetian pearl merchant Gaspero Balbi visited the area in 1580 and mentioned Dubai for its pearling industry.