Sunday, January 16, 2011

Street Addresses

One of the things I found most unusual upon arrival in Abu Dhabi was the lack of street addresses. No----they do not have street addresses. I cannot give a taxi driver an address....say of 223 15th Street. The conversation goes something like this:

"I need to go to Light Bright Fashions, a tailor near Hamdan Street," I say as I plunk down in the back seat of Emirates Taxi #8421. The number is posted on the window next to my face as well as on the large digital screen meter sitting square in the middle of the dashboard. This little box also sports a very bad photo of the driver and his name in big, bold letters MUHAMMAD AHMAD or VESTRIK DULIK or something along those lines.

"You need tailor on Hamdan?", questions the taxi driver. "I don't know. You know? You go?

"Yes, I know, " I respond. "I will tell you how to get there. It's near Sun and Surf on Hamdan Street---you know, 5th Street. Opposite Sun and Surf. One block from Salam Street, near K.M. Trading on 8th Street." I say opposite not across from because the drivers do not understand the word across.

On the return trip, it goes something like this:

"I need to go to 23 street, off Airport Road."

"23 street? Airport Road?, asks the taxi driver. "Okay, Muroor Road. 23 Street. I take you."

"No, No.", I exclaim. "Not 23 on Muroor Road. Go Airport Road. Take a right onto 23 street on Airport road. Near Kuwaiti Embassy. You know Kuwaiti Embassy?" Airport Road, a six lane highway, happens to have a median in the middle of the road. 23 street runs all the way across the city but is chopped up by the median on Airport Road. If you are traveling on Airport Road from the city, then 23 street is a right hand turn and heads in the direction of 30th Street, another six lane freeway. If you are traveling to the city on Airport Road, then 23 street is a right turn heading toward Muroor Road, an outer ring highway that runs parallel with Airport Road. Then, the direction I need to travel is a left hand turn to get to 23 street, which cannot be down because of the median if you are traveling toward the city. Very confusing I know.

"Yes, yes, I know Kuwaiti Embassy." he responds. "I take you."

And so it goes. Heaven forbid if you do not know your way around Abu Dhabi. The first month or two I was here, getting around was a challenge. I would most often call ahead and get these landmark directions before I embarked on my journey. Life was just easier that way. And then heaven forbid again should I get a NEW taxi driver who speaks very little English AND does not know ANYTHING about the city.

Life is an adventure every single day---especially when I get into a taxi.

No comments:

Post a Comment