April 9, 2011

Who Needs Disneyland?

If you want an amusement park, in this neck of the woods, you have about two choices: Ferrari World and Wild Wadi water park.

Ferrari World's rides -- especially its rollercoaster -- are often out of service, and $61 is pretty steep for a place without a rollercoaster. The water park is in Dubai,.

So for our thrills and chills, we take taxis. Driving here is a blood sport, and it's every man for himself. Primarily because we have so many cultures coming together. So many cultures that have bad drivers.

Throw in speed and testosterone and it completes the picture.

Why let someone back out of a parking space or switch to your lane when you don't have to. By the same token, why bother turning right from the right-hand lane when you can do it from the far left -- it's no big deal cutting off three lanes of traffic. And you can do it all without signalling. You have an SUV. It's your right.

And if you're brave enough (read: stupid) you can drive down the middle of the street or the wrong way, if it gets you where you want to go faster. It's all about the driver.

Last weekend there was a 127-car pileup on the Abu Dhabi to Dubai highway. Yes, there was fog, but it was also just before 8 on a Saturday. Only one person died, but 59 were injured. It could have been so much worse (and apparently was, in 2008) Did I mention that tailgating is a national pastime?

I think about these things every single time I'm in a taxi. It might be sport for the drivers, but for the passengers, it's an (unpleasant) thrill a minute.

We're All Wet

For a country that has almost no rain -- one day this year, perhaps four last year -- we have had an unreasonable amount of flooding and leaks in our apartment.

The first place was not sound and our windows were under water run-off from the roof. It flooded the day we moved in, and several times afterward.

Once we moved to the new place, I had hoped my days (or Paul's, whatever) of mopping up were over. Then the new washing machine flooded the kitchen. Apparently, when it was installed nobody bothered to hook up the water hose. Problem solved.

But the biggest problems have been air conditioner leaks -- other people's (through our roof) and our own.

This morning, I saw the stain on the rug, then we heard the water running down the wall. Paul got a pot to catch it and we both mopped the floor. I was glad it hadn't ruined the furniture ... the only nice things we have in the house.

I don't know why water was pouring out of the air conditioner. Paul seemed to know. Tomorrow he will call the caretaker to have it fixed. We are lucky there is another air conditioner in the main room, and a fan to dry it all out.

Ants and water. I miss a solid house.