Saturday, April 7, 2012

Imagine abandoning your car? 3,040 people in Dubai have done more than that since the start of the year

Dubai Municipality just released its 1Q abandoned car report, which has become a sort of yardstick for economic recovery, although I am not sure it really is, and the numbers are up: From January to March, 3,040 cars were abandoned across the emirate, compared with 2,738 in the same period last year.


I've known people who have done this: either they moved here and set up shop, only to realise that it wasn't for them; or they ran into problems with a superior and feared they would be fired, with lots of debt on their credit cards they would not be able to clear (that = jail in the UAE) or they ran into some other sort of would-not-be-such-a-big-deal-in-the-west jam (a financial dispute they could not sort out, a sudden pregnancy for those who are unmarried - also = jail time) or they lost their job and had debts OR they just spent too damn much money and realised they would never be able to pay it back no matter how many tax-free years they spend in the UAE.

And although myths abound on this, there are those people who quite deliberately set out to milk the UAE for all it's worth, taking big loans and running up credit card bills until they reach a certain point and bail. I've known two people who have done this, although I only found out about it afterwards, and can't really be sure of what exactly happened due to the myth-making inherent in such events.

I have all the sympathy in the world for the first set, even people who overspent. I can truly identify with the feeling of the walls closing in, fast. The other night I went for a long walk, then a bite to eat, then stepped into the grocery store to buy some onions for the soup I was making. As I held an onion in my hand, I couldn't be sure I had shut off the oven before setting out. Had pumpkin been burning in there for 3 hours? Had I burned down my beautiful new apartment building? What if people were hurt, or trapped, or died? I turned into the red-haired protagonist from Run Lola Run (minus the hair and the graceful gait), sprinting through Marina Mall - I actually jumped over some children playing - hailing a taxi and trying not to cry as we sped back there. A million things were running through my mind, but one of the most recurring was 'my passport, my passport, my passport why do I not have my freaking passport'.

See, I hadn't yet bought apartment insurance yet – I since have, and obviously I had turned the stove off and nothing burned down so all's well that ends well. So I knew that even if the worst had been avoided – harm to any occupants – if there was a fire and it was my fault, I was facing jail time.

Off-topic, but I was interested to read that in Dubai, abandoned cars are turned into scrap. I realise it's naive to say this, but it really is too bad they don't auction them off for a worthy cause.




5 comments:

James O'Hearn said...

Well... look on the bright side. We live in a place where 3,000 plus cars can be abandoned, and yet not stolen. Here is is a unique socio-cultural statistic, everywhere else it would be chop-shop payday.

LOWELL said...

bottomline of the bottomline is contentment. this country and its people wear the "I'am Rich" facade very well. my sympathy goes to the unmarried pregnant women though.:)

LOWELL said...

and to comfort you that you are not alone leaving the stove turned on while going out shopping, i too did that...for 9 hours. i just thanked God the stove had an automatic temperature regulator.
we should put up a club.lol.

Anonymous said...

Although the article does refer to a "scrapyard", the cars are not actually scrapped. They are periodically auctioned off. Here is an article for one that happened previously, for example: http://www.zawya.com/story/GN_29072009_10335594/Dubai%20Police%20to%20auction%20unclaimed%20vehicles%20after%20one%20month/

Anonymous said...

Although the article does refer to a "scrapyard", the cars are not actually scrapped. They are periodically auctioned off. Here is an article for one that happened previously, for example: http://www.zawya.com/story/GN_29072009_10335594/Dubai%20Police%20to%20auction%20unclaimed%20vehicles%20after%20one%20month/