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19 November, 2005

Life on the road

For the past car-less week, due to a severe let-down by Lease-A-Lambo, a peasant-like existence has taken place of trekking daily through the jungles around Cell Block G to forage food and water from Ibn Battuta.

A colleague, horrified by this Kiplingesque existence, passed on the name of an insider at CheapiCar. Just days after faxing several hundred documents and identity cards over to them, a gleaming Silver Shadow was delivered to the gulag.

Freedom to roam again at last! To ride the wild roads of Sheikh Zayed once more, racing past sluggish white Nissan Sunnies as sheikhmobiles fly up the hard shoulder in a cloud of dust. Being able to snooze peacefully in the late afternoon at the wheel of the Shadow, as it rests in hour-long stationary gridlock.

Driving past the great sights of Dubai: the post-apocalyptic concrete monoliths of Jumeirah Beach Residence with their glittering, clanking cranes; the beautifully landscaped Beach Road with its lovely sandy trenches, lane closures, myriad plastic cones and glorious netting barriers lining each side; the white-trash-christmas flashing neon artificial ski slope at Emirates Mall.

Oh, the joys of driving in Dubai.

Labels:

23 Comments:

Blogger samuraisam said...

watch out for people who cannot drive on dubai's roads, i hope you aren't one of them (:

19 November, 2005 01:59  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

driving on shk zayed road is like playing russian roulette. click... click... BANG! YOU'RE DEAD.

19 November, 2005 03:56  
Blogger Tim Newman said...

That last paragraph of yours.....why you're not employed as a journalist I'll never know.

19 November, 2005 09:01  
Anonymous Julia said...

So walking is considered a "peasant"? In my city, many, many people walk because the subway system is very good and using the public transportation is more convenient than driving a car. Besides, people like walking for the health reason-the fact all these developed country people are rather chubby with diabetic problem comes from the misled concept that walking is considered lower class(unable to finance a car). Certainly not a way to go to assist the overwhelming demand from the West to democratize the regions.

19 November, 2005 09:02  
Anonymous Julia said...

So SD is not an jounalist? I thought she was!

19 November, 2005 09:05  
Blogger Tim Newman said...

You a journo, SD? Confirm please, as I may need to amend my blog posting!

19 November, 2005 09:30  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In any country walking is a noble if not correct thing to do, considering of course a Mass Transport exists.
In dubai however, lovely dubai I should add, the priority has been for car dealerships to fatten their profits unregulated and regardless of the gridlocks that may occur to theroad system.

When they start planning properly, and not these guantanamo bay type housing compounds, I may and just may think of writing something a bit more pleasant on this overrated city everyone seems so keen to come visit and suffer in.

19 November, 2005 09:58  
Blogger Tim Newman said...

In any country walking is a noble if not correct thing to do, considering of course a Mass Transport exists.

Eh? In large cities, maybe. Outside of them, I haven't noticed many noble pedestrians in Russia or the USA, to name but two countries. Climate and distance probably plays a part.

Besides, walking is damned near impossible in Dubai for half of the year, making a car essential.

19 November, 2005 10:40  
Blogger desertdamsel said...

Yes, that was beautiful writing, SD, You're on top form! Please write for some newspapers in Dubai and then I might just be able to find the patience to actually read again.

19 November, 2005 10:49  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To:19 November, 2005 09:58,

Dubai is overrated because it seems to have a great Ad and PR department-it talks about all the goodies with no fault mentioned.

19 November, 2005 11:51  
Anonymous Fooby said...

Makes me laugh how a tongue in cheek post can still incite people to slag off Dubai:

"Dubai is overrated because it seems to have a great Ad and PR department-it talks about all the goodies with no fault mentioned."

"When they start planning properly, and not these guantanamo bay type housing compounds, I may and just may think of writing something a bit more pleasant on this overrated city everyone seems so keen to come visit and suffer in."

As humans we like nothing more than a good whinge don't we...a friend and I were whinging yesterday about all the whingers in Dubai ... laughed at each other when we realised :-)

19 November, 2005 13:30  
Blogger CG said...

SD, you forgot to mention how pleasurable the drive is when your adrenalin is flowing faster than the white water as the headlights of a range rover are dissapearing into your rear end.

19 November, 2005 13:40  
Blogger secretdubai said...

So walking is considered a "peasant"?

No - I actually love walking. It's just the notion of literally having to go on foot to fetch basic provisions each day, including water (because I've got into the stupid, indulgent Dubai habit of only drinking bottled water, even though local tap water is completely potable) and only being able to carry a small amount back.

It is possible to get a taxi back, but the drivers are really unhappy to drive such a short distance, even with a massive tip, and even if you get one from the back of the queue who hasn't been waiting so long.

And being completely frank, with my zero exercise levels I really should be jogging to Marina Mall in Abu Dhabi each day ;)

19 November, 2005 14:30  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

we sheikhmobiles as you so dream of, rule the roads. so get out of our way. you hear.

19 November, 2005 16:38  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I loved how you described the JBR as post-apocalyptic concrete monoliths. Here's the perfect pic to support that:

http://www.ripserve.com/perkins/buildingadream/local_images/23.jpg

19 November, 2005 16:41  
Anonymous trailingspouse said...

My friend refers to JBR as Gotham City, which I think is quite good too.

19 November, 2005 19:20  
Blogger _sublime_ said...

Wow SD you're certainly on a linguistic roll with the writing style in this post...I can almost picture you pirouetting around the room as you wrote it.

I'm curious as to why you don't just buy a car instead of renting one, it's much more cost effective. You could become one of those Peugeot 206 CC chicks without breaking the bank for example.

An excellent read as usual anyway.

19 November, 2005 22:37  
Blogger snow white said...

And don't forget the Jumeirah Beach Road past Madinat, which has sharper chicanes than Monza.

19 November, 2005 23:32  
Blogger _sublime_ said...

Hey don't diss the chicanes, they are the highlight of my day. :)

Not my fault people here don't seem to know what to make of *gasp* curves in the road.

19 November, 2005 23:38  
Blogger BuJ said...

please mind my ignorance but would someone please explain what "Cell Block G" is and where it came from?

Thanks!

20 November, 2005 05:16  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like SecretDubai, I love walking. However It is also a necessity. Working in Jebel Ali and living in Karama Dubai entails upto 3 hours on the road on a daily basis. After so many hours spent clocking up car miles, spending thousand of dirhams on petrol, listening to some outrageous DJs ( at times) and being almost killed on a daily basis, once I park the car in the bldg to enable the pigeons to let loose , I REFUSE TO TAKE THE CAR OUT AGAIN. living equidistant from Spinneys , UNION Cooperative etc, I get off my butt and walk for the days daily necessitites like Bottled water, Milk- low fat, Juice, Bread etc etc etc...
maybe just about 45 mins walk to and fro, but believe me its far far bettter than getting stuck for 45mins in a traffic jam and wanting to scream obscenities at the turd in a BMW 3 series who thinks he's the cat's whiskers and cuts in front of you at the TRAFFIC light u-turn.#@#@$%#@ .. RANT OVER ! :)

I live in Karama Dubai, have been for the last 11 years. I live in a place equidistant from Spinneys Bur Juman as well as Lulu Centre approx 1km I think.

As SD says

20 November, 2005 12:21  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cell Block G = Gardens/Greens

i.e: Milton Keynes Lite

20 November, 2005 14:21  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

well written SD, well written.. excellent sarcastic prose there.

22 November, 2005 02:10  

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