Sunday, 17 August 2008

Getting about

There is no door to door postal service in the UAE, all sent to post office box numbers. When you see the street names you begin to understand why.

In Sharjah, with street names like "Sheik Khalid Bin Khalid Al Qassimi Street" and "Abdullah Salem Al Sabeth Street" and "Sheik Rashid Bin Saqr Al Qassim Street" you can imagine it's not easy addressing letters or giving directions. Most streets are suffixed with numbers as well although the writing on the signs is so small trying to fit the names on, it's virtually impossible to read, especially when driving past at 50 km/h.

I suspect this may be the cause a few of the frequent accidents. while craning your neck to read the street name you've just driven past.. oops sorry mate, I didn't see you.

Dubai seem to have given up on street names completely, particularly for suburban streets, they are simply numbered 33rd St, 33B St, 69C St etc. Odd streets run in one direction, even streets at 90 degrees to the odds.

Before arriving in the UAE I'd seen that cars are sold as either American Specs or Gulf Specs. I assumed that Gulf Specs meant diamond studded gear knob and gold plated dashboard. In reality I think it means a bigger air con, and radiator and an industrial strength hooter. I've never heard so much hooting, often for what seems like no apparent reason.

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