Friday 24 August 2012

All roads lead to Abu Dhabi or the Dubai Mall

This morning I finally attempted something I'd been dreading since I landed in this sandy city.... driving.

I drive all the time at home, through the narrow inner west streets with the aggressive city drivers. Driving in Dubai is a whole different thing. You see they like to drive fast, very fast. They also like to change lanes often, never using indicators, that's just wasting time when you could be changing lanes again. They also have wide straight roads with many lanes, which makes all that lane changing possible. The main drag, which goes right through the city is called Sheik Zayed Road. It's six lanes in each direction and everyone goes flat chat, while changing lanes of course.

The road signs are always clearly marked Abu Dhabi and Sharjah (the two Emirates in the north and south). It's like driving through the city of Sydney and seeing signs for Newcastle or Wollongong, not always that helpful. At least you know if you're headed north or south.

Anyhoo, this morning I hopped behind the wheel (which is on the wrong side of the car) and my left hand didn't know what to do with itself. Where was the handbrake? My right eye was saying "What I have to look in a mirror?"

I made it out in the early Friday morning roads pretty easily. Friday morning is the equivelent of Sunday mornings, it's the holy day so everyone is sleeping in or at the mosque. I went round round-abouts, I went through back streets like a local. I even went on Sheik Zayed Road and survived!

I failed in my mission of finding coffee, but I'm alive.

The only wrong move I took was ending up in the Dubai Mall car park, but in my defense Skip has done this a couple of times himself this week. It seems if you follow the signs to the Dubai Mall you actually end up in the Dubai Mall, who knew?


  1. YAY YOU! Driving in a foreign country's weird, particularly when you're just used to doing it by rote. But you sound like you've nailed it. Go you! xx

  2. Go you indeed! Hey so what's with the coffee situation? Please tell me *someone* has decent coffee over there? Surely there's even a Starbucks to tie you over? xx

    Mrs P23

    1. Good coffee is hard to come by. There is Starbucks, Gloria Jeans, Second Cup and all those chains, but they're not good. You can get average espresso coffee, but yet to have something outstanding. They have a chain run by Aussie or maybe Kiwi called Lime Tree and they're not too bad. I'm not holding my breath to find something sensational. x

    2. It is a sad fact that once you are used to Sydney coffee you will always be disappointed by coffee overseas. xx

  3. Driving in another country, I know! I've lived in Sweden for 12 years and still flick on the windscreen wipers instead of the indicator. Well the things you learnt in a '92' Gemini just seem to stick...

  4. Oh my goodness! You are so super brave Corrine, well done for getting behind the wheel and giving it a go. I can't begin to imagine how difficult it must be trying to navigate around a whole new city, in a whole new country... and by the sounds of it, nothing like old Sydney town. The adventure continues... you must have a pile of ideas for upcoming posts! xo

  5. You are brave indeed!
    The wheel is on the left side?
    Gloria Jean's?
    Red Lobster?
    It's exciting to hear you mention all these US things....makes me feel like you're 10X closer!

    So....what did you think of Red Lobster? Did they have cheddar biscuits there???? I always ask for a 2nd basket of them then dump them in the takeaway containers to bring home.
    Can't help myself!

    1. Yes, the wheel is on the left side, the wrong side ;)

      Did you know Gloria Jean's is actually Australian? True story.

      Red Lobster wasn't too bad at all. We did have the cheddar biscuits, though they're what we call scones at home.

      It's funny, we're in the Middle East but sometimes you feel like you could be in the States. Quite strange. x

    2. Gloria Jeans are owned by the Hillsong church I have heard.

    3. I believe it's owned by elders in the church, not the actual church itself. Though there are very close links and I think they give a lot of financial support to the church.

  6. Corrine, Lime Tree is my fave place to eat in Dubai but the best coffee is Raw Coffee. They have a neat little coffee shop in their warehouse with lots of parking. It is in Al Quoz, I can't give directions but if you google you should find.

    You are going to fit in just fine here, you are already local if you have worked out all roads lead to Dubai Mall or Abu Dhabi. As for ending up in the mall carpark? I still do this on a regular basis :)


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