Saturday, January 17, 2009

It's called RAIN, you tools!

So the other night Dubai saw some thundershowers. I would have to say, it was heavy at times but absolutely no calamity by any means. Those of us that have lived in regions other than the desert are familiar with the concept of precipitation, especially when accompanied by thunder and lightning. The equation is simple:

Sky make light+ sky make boom+ rain= "weather"

Here in Dubai and the UAE in general, the above is a prescription for disaster. I swear, every time it rains you would think it is the second coming of (insert deity here). I think mostly because people are not used to driving in the conditions, but 80% of the people here are from places where it actually does rain, it leaves me a little vexed. In fact the formula is re-written here as follows:

Sky make light+ sky make boom+ rain= lose your fucking mind and behave like you got your driving license yesterday.

I've seen it over the last 14 months here. Any sign of rain and people call in sick, they don't go out, they basically panic. I will say, houses leak, roads flood, etc, but I don't let the weather dictate my life. Growing up in Canada, driving or "being in" weather has never scared me. There are magical devices called boots, umbrellas (ella-ella-ellas) that allow life to go on. It seems here in Dubai that when it rains, life comes to a standstill. Literally.

When it starts to rain, apparently you can stop your vehicle all together or drive 10 kph, even on the highway. It is a little known rule here, but apparently the hazard lights or four-way-flashers are to a car in Dubai what "sheilds" are to the Enterprise when under attack from Klingons. Seriously. The 4-ways instantly absolve you from rules of the road, speed regulation, going the wrong way on the street, etc. And seeing as MOST vehicles in Dubai turn on their 4-ways in the rain, doesn't that negate the value of said warning instrument? It is like a blinking "look-out-for-me-I-am-going to-act-like-a-complete-asshole-at-any-minute" warning. If ALL these assholes have them on, that is a problem. I can't tell if you are moving or stopped or whatever.

Do us a favour (those of us that earned licenses in countries with "weather")...pull of the road! Just get the hell off. I know what I am doing, and if I don't I will stop! Not roll the dice and get a 4-way ticket to heaven. In Dubai, 4-way flashers mean there is the SAME tool talking on his mobile, changing the radio station, with the kid in the lap and swerving in my lane, only with some liquid variables to boot.

The show I saw the other night in Media City was classic. As a sidebar I drive a Toyota Prado, so it can handle it's own in the rain, sleet and snow. As I came down the road by the Radisson Media City, I could see the roundabout was flooded, some cars were up to their doors. I chose to pull an immediate u-turn (there was no traffic as the opposing traffic was hindered due to the flood) then parked the truck and had dinner. The real show was from the restaraunt watching these retards in their fancy cars chance the flooded r/a.

Car after car (there was a Porsche, Mercedes, Audi A8 already floating) that would pull up and see the flooding. One by one they stopped and put on their 4-ways (sheilds up) and ventured in. One by one they got stuck and needed towing or pushing as their cars conked out. It is like the 4-ways signified "I'm going for it". Fools.

It was great entertainment for all who were dining or boozing. Even Dubai's finest had a few issues. When they towed the A8 out, I thought for sure they would pull the front end off. Now THAT would have been great. I found a funny article on BBC related to this:

It appears that when one's hazard lights are on, one is able to do anything without fear of reprisal. The original purpose of hazard lights was to warn other drivers that the car was stationary because it has broken down and won't go any further.

However, over the years the hazard light's purposes have been extended. Nowadays, leaving one's hazard lights on means you can park anywhere - there may not be anything particularly wrong with the car in question. Leaving hazard lights on while parked on a double yellow line or in front of a fire hydrant means that the driver has just nipped into a nearby shop. Or if you see a driver who has pulled over to the side of a busy road and has stuck on their hazard lights they may be lighting a cigarette while holding a hot coffee in the other hand, or perusing a street map.

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