Saturday, July 08, 2006

Walking

One of the things I miss the most about living in Montreal is walking. The UAE is simply not a walking country. Granted, in the summer, we suffer through 4 months of hellish temperatures, but even in the winter, when the weather is perfectly mild, walking is a rarity.

In Montreal, I did not own a car, and I lived downtown, meaning almost everything was walking distance from my house. My first job was a 35 minute walk away, and in the summer, I'd enjoy walking through the downtown streets of Montreal, leading up to the old part of town. The fresh morning breeze, the amazing sunshine, the still-quiet streets... it was just the perfect way to start the day. In winter, I'd be too lazy and I'd take the metro instead. It took the same exact amount of time as walking there, but I'm sure you'll understand that there's nothing appealing about a 35-minute walk in -25 degree (or less!) temperatures.

My last job in Montreal was 20 minutes away from home, so again, walking to work became a routine I quite enjoyed in the morning and at the end of a long day. In the morning, I'd put my iPod on, and walk happily to the rhythm of my music, stopping halfway to pick up my daily dose of cappucino from Second Cup. At the end of the day, the walk was the ideal way to leave work behind (and indulge in a bit of window shopping too!).

In Montreal, I'd walk every day...I'd walk to the grocery store, to the shopping malls, to the bank, to the amazing little bakery that sold amazing bread (and the best chocolate raspberry cake on the face of this earth!), to the pharmacy, to the cinema...

In Dubai, even if I wanted to walk, there wouldn't be many places to do so, except in the mall really. I take my car to go to the grocery store that's less than a kilometer away! Dubai's infrastructure is simply not made for walking. The streets are too wide, the pedestrian areas are scarce, and crossing a street can prove to be a dangerous ordeal given the track record of some of the drivers here. When I was in Barcelona over a month ago, I enjoyed walking all over the city so much. I realised how much I'd missed the freedom of walking!

Dubai really needs a pedestrian area, where people can just enjoy a nice walk, do some shopping, or sit in a restaurant/cafe and enjoy a nice, relaxing moment. Enough with the skyscrapers and 6-lane highways! Why not come up with something quaint and different for a change?

6 comments:

Mar said...

I completely understand your need for walking and a place to do so. It's funny, I just came back from my one hour evening walk.It's the most relaxing thing,listening to music and walking at your own pace.

Walking indoors doesnt have the same effect even in a gym's track.Writing about your walks in Montreal made me feel nostalgic for a place I do not know. They way you described it was so lovely.

MadMax said...

Touche!

secretdubai said...

I saw two women powerwalking in Ibn Battuta mall once. They even had those stupid visor things that people wear exercising (it's not like there's any sunlight in there, ffs).

laila said...

i miss it like crazy and i have only been away for a few days :(
btw, r u talking about premiere moisson?

Dubai Sunshine said...

Laila! Yes! Premiere Moisson! I love that place! *Sigh*...I miss Montreal so much :)

nzm said...

That's why J and I walk in whatever city we're in to make the most of being able to do it.

Some of our friends and family in Germany are into Nordic walking. It looks like a really great sport, but far too hot in Dubai during summer to do it outside, and I can just imagine that we'd really stop traffic and construction if we tried to do it there, anyway!