Thursday, 11 October 2007

driving in Al Ain

This strikes me as being a telling juxtaposition of postings! If anything drives me out of Al Ain, it'll be the traffic. It's just manic. We took a wrong turn last night at about 9pm and ended up in the city which was not quite what we had in mind. It was 10pm before we managed to get out the other end!

To say the traffic was bumper to bumper is to put it mildly. It was side panel to side panel, front right corner to front left fender, back left fender to bumper. If there was half a centimetre to spare anywhere, a car was sure to see that as an opportunity to jump in. Pedestrians were leaping off dark sidewalks criss crossing the traffic, so anytime cars moved at more than .25 of a km an hour brakes were slammed on suddenly. A couple of times we wanted to go one way, but someone more determined and more assertive muscled their way infront of us and forced us to go another direction. At one stage we ended up in a grid locked car park we hadn't intended to be in. It took a 53 point turn and some derring-do to get out. It was impossible to see what was happening at roundabouts because there was almost always either a 4WD or a car with tinted windows on our left.

I should laugh, but it really is quite stressful.


Humairah Irfan said...

It's just because it's Eid and Ramadan. Shouldn't be that bad otherwise :)

Aussie said...

:) That's good news!

Twice so far I've thought ... 'what am I doing here? I should go back to Aus.' The first time I thought about going back to Aus was after being involved in a bus accident in Dubai and the second time was the other night in a grid-locked traffic nightmare in the middle of Al Ain.

Both times I was fine 30 mins later and happy to be here. On the whole I like it here, things are very different to back home; the sights, the sounds, the smells, the culture, but that makes it interesting.

The only thing I'd like to see changed is the traffic situation. It's definitely better in Aus.

Michael & Kerry said...

While traffic has been bad over Eid in the evenings, it really is very sedate compared to some places (was in Sharjah over the weekend, and now that was an adventure). You will get used to it after a while and it will make driving in Australia seem a bit weird in comparison. Slow drivers and trucks cause just as many accidents and once you hit the highways here you will notice the difference not having trucks on some roads really makes. Also the fact you rarely see road rage here is nice... well if you don't count the obligatory swerve if you don't get out of the way of flashing lights fast enough.

The Intensivist said...

I am a local, but I lived abroad for few years. I can see the difference between the traffic in my country and where I stayed.
Though it wasn't a perfect place, the roads are not as good as here, the highways are really very busy, and still you can see tragic accidents happening evident by the number of MVA traumas that I was seeing in the ICU were I worked).
But most drivers there, are considerate to others and follow the laws religiously, sort of.
It would be a great thing if traffic improved here, but we need to take real steps to make it happen.
IMHO, what make people drive better in that country is: They are better educated and civilized, well trained about driving and laws and have better understanding of why laws should be followed, have more courtesy to others especially pedestrians. If they break the laws their insurance will go up (thats really can hurt your budget), and one other important thing, no one is above the law, except Paris Hilton, of course. (I am not in the states though)

Mr. Aussie, welcome to my city Alain, but I hope that I don't see you in my work place!!

Take care

elle said...

Intesivist, I agree with you 100 %. Aussie, it will get better, we moved from Al Ain to Abu Dhabi, I'm still not used to driving here. It's awful! In Al Ain I used to leave early to get little one to school before the 'traffic'. I can only laugh at myself now. That wasn't traffic. I drive from town to Khalifa City (30km) every morning, it's hair raising. I say a prayer each time I get into the car. go.

Anonymous said...

As far my knowledge and experience YOU ll never find a stoped car in a round about all over the world BUT,here in al ain the best parking place is the middle of round about.Im wandring the pple just driving by experience and their skils not by rouls.