Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Only in Abu Dhabi OR What would you have done?

I believe I have already described the social order here in Abu Dhabi - Emiratis first, by a kilometre, then white people, then everyone else - that is most obvious when a group of all of us are waiting for a cab.

The other day, feeling cooped up by the oppressive 55C heat outside, I woke up early and decided that I wanted to go for a walk along the beautiful Corniche. That is the lovely bit along the water that made me excited to move here, but that I've rarely seen since the summer hit.

It's 8 a.m., I am walking along, about 30 minutes into my planned 7 km walk, and I realise there is no way I will make it to where I am going. I am sweating like I have never sweat before. The top of my head is tingling, and every ray of sun feels like a punch. So I start frantically trying to hail a cab. But every cab that drives past me has people in it. Ten minutes go by. I try not to panic, but I am a little bit, because I feel quite close to passing out. Finally, someone pulls over.

"Abu Dhabi Mall?" I say (literally everyone knows where this is).

It becomes apparent he speaks next to no English, and has no idea where Abu Dhabi mall is. I start saying "straight" and "right" - even though I am not actually sure how to get there myself - and soon, we are in a quite deserted area of Al Mina and although we are close to the mall, I am quite lost.

"Stop!" I say, still feeling quite sick and hot, and get out. I see no cabs. I wait a few minutes, looking around frantically. A man in a carpet shop beckons me inside. "No thanks, no today," I say, feeling like I am going to throw up.

I start walking towards a taxi stand, where a guy in his 20s, most likely from Pakistan, (the reason I point out his nationality will soon become apparent) is waiting for a cab.

One pulls up, and he tries to get in the front. The driver - who also looks like he is from Pakistan, but what do I know - is pressing down on the lock. The youngster tries to get in the back, but the driver is holding down that lock too. The driver beckons at me. The young guy shrugs. He says "you go".

And, apologising profusely, knowing I should refuse this cabbie altogether for his possibly racist rudeness, I say "thank you" and get inside, not feeling very good, but not really because of the weather.


The Last Ephor said...

I'm new here but just wanted to drop you a note to say I really like your blog. Keep up the good work.

adevents said...

Possible not racist or rudeness maybe he is just trying to be gentle as most Arab and Muslim believe in what u call women first.
I myself when ever waiting for a taxi if behind me there is an old women or a women with her kids I always let them first but not single young ladies to be honest as there is lot of them usually

Harsha said...

offer to share the taxi maybe?

rosh said...

Adventus has a point. So does Harsha, though you probably may not be comfortable sharing a cab with a stranger?

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