Thursday, July 28, 2005
Driving Like a Crazy ...
So, I picked up my hire car - very nice. Only one small, intzy, wintzy, teeny, tiny problem - I have never driven in the UAE before. I am used to driving on the left side of the road (not the right side, which is the wrong side!) So, I am used to steering with my right hand and changing gears with my left. Which explains why, the first couple of times I had to change gears, I tried to do so by wiggling the window-winder. Also, the flicker is normally on the right side, so every time I changed lanes, I flashed my headlights and squirted my windscreen washer. No wonder people behind me were hooting!
Of course, if you are nervous, you tend to drive slower than normal - and bearing in mind that the normal speedlimit is only 60kph - I was travelling at the speed of smell. One-legged camels and a herd of sloths would have left me in their dust!
But, I finally got out of the parking lot and onto the actual highway. Travelling in the exact opposite direction to where we wanted to go. You see, in my silly foolishness I took the road marked EXIT. I really do not know what I could have been thinking - imagine supposing EXIT actually means EXIT!! Foolish, foolish woman!
We ended up on a highway headed for some place called Er El Salam or something like that (actually, DD thinks it was Dar-es-Salam, and I swear it was Daar Doer is Salam!) There were no exits or breaks in the middle island for 30km and we seemed to be leaving civilisation far behind - all signs of human existence slid rapidly past. So, when we finally did come across an exit, we pounced on it and sped off - unfortunately, we could not turn back, but had to follow THAT road for a further 10km before being able to do a u-turn and get back to the original highway.
By this time (almost an hour later!), we were worried about three things : (1) that we would soon be needing our passports to leave the country (2) that we would dehydrate and perish without seeing another living being and (3) that DH would not miss us for at least 3 days before sending out a search party!!
Well, obviously the story has a semi-happy ending (I am writing this, aren't I?) We triumphantly rode into town in our silver chariot, keeping the advice of a seasoned expat in our minds : "Stay in the middle lane and avoid eye contact with other drivers".
The car is safely parked outside the apartment -
Question : Will it's battery go flat if I don't drive it for the next couple of weeks???????