Sunday, April 02, 2006
Are there any payphones in this country? I never thought of this until this weekend. A friend was visiting from out of town, and she was supposed to call me at one point during the day. Her Canadian cell phone did not work here, so logically, she searched for a payphone. She was at Mall of the Emirates and could not find a single one! So she had to go into a shop and ask the shopkeeper if she could use the phone, which, luckily, he was nice enough to let her do.
Come to think of it, I have never seen a single payphone here. Do they exist? Or is it simply assumed that everyone has a cell phone, so no need for payphones?
Every Tom, Dick and Harry owns a cell phone. Even 8 year old kids own cell phones. But what happens if you are a tourist here and need to call your friend at the hotel? Or what if your mobile phone runs out of battery and you really need to call someone to let them know where you are? Then what?
In fact I remember one time, when I was on my way back from Montreal to Abu Dhabi, and the plane could not land in A-D because it was too foggy. So we ended up landing in Dubai and taking buses to A-D. As soon as we landed I went on a desperate search for a payphone so I could call my dad to let him know about the delay. And although I did find a phone, I could not use it because it required a calling card. There was no way I could simply insert a Dirham in a payphone and call. I did not have the time to look for a place that sold calling cards as I was about to miss the bus, so I ended up asking an airport employee if I could make a call from his mobile, which he let me do.
Although payphones may not be as needed as in some Western countries, I still think it's important to have some available everywhere. And, if anything, I'd just like to see what a UAE payphone looks like!