Sunday, September 21, 2008

I am sick and tired of traffic!


I don't know if it's because it's Ramadan, or because schools started again, or because of construction, or because of Salik, or a combination of all of the above, but traffic in the mornings has been horrendous.

Every single morning, I hear the following traffic report on the radio: Getting out of the Greens, the Springs, the Meadows and Arabian Ranches is a nightmare. And it is! (well, I know in the Greens it is...)

It's simply not normal that it can take up to an hour to get out of the Greens...Just to get on the main road! But no one seems to give a crap...except for the people who live in these places of course. By no one, I mean the RTA and the government. As long as they get to make their money off of Salik, and continue their round-the-clock building of new interchanges, they're happy.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


I've been car-less since Sunday. Not because my car is being serviced. No. It's much more interesting than that.

I went to renew my registration last week, only to find out that they were confiscating my car for a week. Why? Because I apparently parked in a handicapped zone. When? In April. Where? No clue. No one could give me an answer to that question.

So they gave me a piece of paper that instructed me to impound my car for a week. I dropped it off on Sunday. I parked my car in a gated, sandy area, with hundreds of other dusty, desolate cars. I can only imagine the state my car will be in when I get it back next week.

As I left the pound, I asked the person responsible if I could find a taxi. He said that all I needed to do was walk to the Eppco station that was a few meters away to find one. So I did. At 2PM. Under a blazing sun. I get to the Eppco station, only to find it closed (it's next to the registration place, and they close at 2PM for Ramadan timings). I call a taxi, and wait, and wait...for about 10 minutes. I could feel sweat beads rolling down my back.

Luckily, I see that there are people waiting inside the registration place, so I beg the security guard to let me wait inside while I waited for my cab. And I wait...and wait...and wait...

Twenty minutes later, I call Dubai Transport again and they tell me that they haven't found a taxi yet. At which point, I called a friend of mine who works nearby and begged her to come pick me up. Which she did.

I've told numerous friends about this, and many of them have told me that they've just gotten a Dhs 1000 fine for parking in a handicapped zone. I got a Dhs 500 fine, but why did they also have to confiscate my car for a week? That's just ridiculous! It's not like I'm a serial offender and that I always park in handicapped zones! Plus, I don't even have proof that I actually did park there! I mean, no one's given me a ticket, and no one was able to tell me where this happened, despite asking numerous people at the traffic department.

Oh, and being car-less in Dubai sucks! I've managed to catch rides to and from work with some friends, which has helped a lot, especially when I leave work at 6PM and can't find a taxi in sight!

On a side note, I've added the "Followers" gadget on my blog (right under my Who's visiting map). So if you're a regular reader of the blog, go on, click on it, and show your support :)

Monday, September 08, 2008

Where's my North?

It seems that every time I come back to Dubai after a vacation, something's changed. A new road, a new building, or a blocked road...or a building that's been demolished...

This time is no different. Maybe I just hadn't noticed before but apparently all the road signs that used to indicate "Abu Dhabi" or "Dubai" have now been switched to "South" or "North"...And so we now have "Sheikh Zayed Road North" or "Sheikh Zayed Road South".

Why is that? Does anyone know the reason the reason behind this change?

The whole North/South thing is a bit confusing if you ask me... Today was my first time encountering the new signage, and I headed North thinking I was going towards Abu Dhabi, only to find out that I actually needed to be heading South (I am very directionally challenged by the way...always have been and always will be!). I don't think I'll make that mistake ever again but I will have to think twice whether I need to head North or South from now on.

Bring back Abu Dhabi and Dubai! I don't like this North/South bullsh*t!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Abu Dhabi vs. Dubai - The Rivalry

This article in the Telegraph is one of the only articles I've read that touches upon the unspoken rivalry between Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

It comes after the recent announcement that the Abu Dhabi government has bought the Manchester City football club AND invested 500 million pounds into Warner Brothers.

But all of Abu Dhabi's recent investments into art, culture, sports and movies are not an attempt to mimic Dubai's growth formula, because Abu Dhabi doesn't need the cash as badly as Dubai does apparently:

On the surface, what’s happening in Abu Dhabi mirrors Dubai. But what’s driving its growth is different. Dubai is a story of survival, of how one small city that is running out of oil – it has less than one per cent of Abu Dhabi’s reserves – is saving itself with a mixture of tourism and commercialism, hookahs and hookers. Thanks to oil, Abu Dhabi is not in a rush. It wants to build itself into a global city-state, but is determined to do it with none of the crassness (think prostitution, drunkenness and financial scandal) that is now beginning to tarnish Dubai’s image.

The article also touches upon the personal feud that fuels the rivalry between the 2 cities, which I was also unaware of:

The Nahyans and the ruling Maktoums of Dubai are cousins. They are cordial in public, but compete furiously behind each others’ dishdashas. The Nayhans are irked that poorer Dubai has so far attracted most of the foreign investment, five-star resorts and high-spending tourists in the UAE. They are running fast to catch up.

An interesting read that made me wonder what's in store for Abu Dhabi in the coming years. Will it really be able to differentiate itself from Dubai? Will it really do things differently? Will it be better?

Only time will tell I guess...