Al Ain where I stayed was a drivers delight with wide roads ,neat pavements bedecked with flowers ,palm trees ,and sedate traffic ,but Dubai was a different story , a nightmare for someone who didnt know his way around ,with diversions springing up every other hour ,
it was also huge with multiple flyovers ,tracks ,speeding vehicles and construction everywhere .
Abudhabi was more pleasant with its straight roads dwarfed by multistoreyed buidings .
I did drive a couple of times to Dubai and Sharjah but with a safety mechanism of a friend sitting in the right .
So when this meeting came about in a weekend in Dubai I felt it as an oppurtune moment ,I requested my senior collegue to guide me as I drove behind him .
I could manage to keep pace with his 130km/hr with sudden decelaration for well placed speed cameras .( regulars know exactly where cameras are placed ) it wasnt a cake but I managed ,and in an hour or so I saw the high rises and entered into the city via the famed Emirates road .
This is the main arterial trunk connecting most of the emirates of the UAE and was mammoth with around eight tracks on each side ,giant powerline crossing above ,so many exits left from this road to different places in the city and to other emirates .
Like Marys little lamb I faithfully followed my mentor feeling lost in the maze of speeding cars and lanes , my lead kept changing lanes and roads with full confidence ,I cursed vehicles which tried to seperate me from my umblical cord but finally managed to reach the hotel in one piece with him .
Meeting over at midnight we moved to another hotel near the airport for our stay ,Dubai was as crowded then as it was in the day in fact more so . Friday morning I had the road all to myself
( friday is weekly holiday and mornings are generally empty every place )and I managed to cruise to Deira city centre without much ado ,as my confidence grew I drove back to the hotel .
This is when I got into trouble !
The person who created signboards of direction in Dubai surely had a sadistic sense of humour ,I found a sign pointing a right turn to Garoud bridge on the way Rotana Hotel but the real way which I learned later sadly was straight instead of right
So In Dubai ,say if you want to reach the nose you have directions in both ways ,round the head or across the face . All you do is choose it .
For someone with an inborn error in directions and a congenital infarct in that part of the brain managing this vital function ,( that is yours truly )this was disaster with a big D .
( u know when someone asks me to turn left as i drive I usually look at my hands to search for left ! )
so I passed my hotel on my opposite side , sadly looking at it because there was no u turn or any way to reach it !
( how nice India is you can u turn or even about turn anywhere u want )
I had no other way but to go up a winding flyover and reach the other side of the moon ,well literally ,I was in a god forsaken place with maniacally speeding vehicles .
I managed to cuddle up in the side with flashing lights and rung up my cousin living in Dubai ,he answered my distress call and told me " harietta stay cool till I come "and I did just that ,difficult with the mercury hovering 45 outside .
He led me by the nose and we came back to the hotel .
He parked his car ,came to mine and sat on my side and we went on a small orbit in and around Dubai .
Burr Dubai ,karama ,Deira ,Airport ,al Muktam ,al Gharoud ,so on and so forth , so many bridges ,tunnels with the metro construction activity going on all around .
The prestigious Dubai metro will shortly become a reality in record time ,look at our Kochi metro zindabad started before the survey itself !!
We went into the Sindhuga tunnel ( this is a tunnel built under the creek connecting Burrdubai to Deira ) and over the floating bridge ( floats on the creek ) .
Dubai was at its busiest on that friday evening with thousands of cars cruising along its roads .
Airconditioned bus stops had a rare few waiting for a rarer bus !
We went via Emirates road upto the turn to Al ain road and returned back to Sheik zayed road with its 8 tracks and huge buildings .
we stopped and posed with the tallest building in the world the Burj dubai behind us .
The blur of cars that zipped past us increased as dusk settled down the clear desert night,there was a ting in the air as the sun receded with the heat .
Dubai has no nights as lamps glowed like sunlight ,people were too busy on thier friday night as they sped past the poster of the architects of this country ,the rulers of Dubai ,hats off to thier vision !to have made a city of dreams from a desert
but after all this driving in Dubai to me is still "to be driven !!!! "