Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Dubai: A victim of its own success?

In most places round the world when people get together, the first topic of conversation is usually the weather. Here in Dubai there's only one hot topic and that's the traffic. Dubai has become a victim of its own success as an ever increasing number of cars coupled with constant road reorganisation cause traffic congestion which is slowly choking the city. While the roads cannot cope with the number of cars, the drivers cannot cope with the ever changing road systems, deceptive lane markings and road closures which usually happen without warning. A few months ago a taxi driver warned me in advance that we could get lost as he had been out to my destination twice already that day and the road pattern had been different each time. To give some examples, one morning recently Dubai drivers found that the fast lane on Trade Centre Road was blocked off by barriers just before the WTC roundabout with no warning given resulting in much screeching of brakes and swerving; further along the same road near BurJuman the fast lane was again blocked by witches hats, no warning, no obvious reason and much swerving. Up till recently if a driver followed the left hand lane on the Bur Juman roundabout they would find themselves directed straight into a wall opposite the Al Attair Building where the lane simply ends in the middle of the roundabout, no warning of course and laughable if it wasn't so dangerous.

Damned if you do, damned if you don't: we are forced to drive our cars as there is no public transport but when you drive anywhere it takes so damn long to get there. As an example, yesterday morning at 6:45am it took me 12 minutes to drive the 5kms from Satwa to BurJuman. The same trip this evening took a mind numbing 1 hour 5 mins including a 20 minute crawl down the road that runs down beside the Fairmont Hotel which is only 200 metres long.

The local rumour is that the Metro system is now 12 months behind schedule and will not now open until 2010. Unless the transport problem is dealt with, many people may have packed up and moved to Abu Dhabi by then (if there was any rental accommodation available in AD but that's another story........)

Sunday, 4 November 2007

First Christmas Tree 2007

I've spotted the first Chrissy tree of the season at PlugIns at BurJuman. Also heard the first Christmas musak of 2007 in La Sensa also in BurJuman - a sort of funky Gloria Gaynor-ish rendering of the Bing Crosby song "Merry Christmas to You".