Monday, October 11, 2010

So much for the beautiful south

It could be Bani Yas, or anywhere;
Sweihan or Al Ain,
’cos after dark Arabia
All looks the bleedin’ same.

Is it reasonable, or am I completely out of order to imagine that, when heading towards Dubai, if I put my car in the lane labelled “Dubai” in white on a large blue signboard, then Dubai is the general direction I’ll find myself going in?

Apparently, it’s totally unreasonable.

I left Abu Dhabi on the wrong road last night, and instead of hurtling back past Raha Beach, I found myself on the Al Ain road. Obviously, for anyone who lives in the area, there will be a left turn somewhere to take me north instead of east. I missed the turning on to Airport Road because of a platoon of Ashok Leyland buses impersonating a train. But not to worry; there’s a junction on to the Emirates Road eleven kilometres further down the road. There were even numerous illuminated gantry signs confirming that a Dubai turning was coming up.

But at the last moment, it turned out that the new improved interchange 24°18.5’N 054°36’E is in fact not yet open for business. And covering up the deceitful direction signage is apparently beyond the wit of Man.

So on to Al Wathba. A further six kilometres to a junction. Now I turned in a generally northerly direction, which turned out to be another wrong decision. The road is a deceptive ram-rod straight dual carriageway (apart from one inexplicably single carriageway section), and at every roundabout the direction signage helpfully confirmed that this was an appropriate direction for Dubai. Until, after 13km, the road was blocked. Presumably the next section is still under construction. Street lighting stretched ahead and over the horizon, illuminated direction signs advertised Dubai as a place to go, yet I was now obliged to make a U-turn into a place called Al Shamkha.

Naturally, all direction signage now vanished and I ended up using the moon to work out my orientation. Eventually I ended up on the Sweihan Road. I don’t want to go to Sweihan! I want Dubai! They’re in different directions!

Four kilometres to an interchange. But, as I noted above, it was under construction and barriered off, so the “Dubai” signs were useless. An additional eight kilometres to a roundabout where I could at last make a U-turn and head back to Abu Dhabi.

Two and a half hours it took me to get home last night, with a 60km detour.

It was all my fault, of course, for making the initial slip-up as I crossed Maqta Bridge. But how about some helpful signage? And what’s wrong with covering up direction signs that are – temporarily – completely wrong?



Martín said...

As per your previous post reporting your adventures in Italy and the advantages of using public transportation, you can add to that list that the Italians also do not cover road signs telling you that, from Modena to Lago di Garda, the road ahead is closed for 200 m and you'll have to resort to a 4 km stretch of mud. An that, in a car, is annoying. In a loaded Kawasaki 1400GTR, it means new clean underwear will be in order >:(

EyeOnDubai said...

In Glasgow, in Scotland, the sign pointing to the motorway slip road for arch-rival capital city Edinburgh is in letters perhaps 4 inches, high, stuck on a flyover pillar at about knee height, and concealed from the approaching traffic by a much larger sign for Glasgow Cathedral. Jealous? No...

Anonymous said...

done that twice now grumpy - you are not alone - i reckon its a scam by the petrol station owner on the sweiham road - else who would go there

Mme Cholet said...

M. Cholet did the very same thing the other night. You are not alone!

Anonymous said...

Must be doubly frustrating for a gentleman of your profession. tmil


The opinions expressed in this weblog are the works of the Grumpy Goat, and are not necessarily the opinions shared by any person or organisation who may be referenced. Come to that, the opinions may not even be those of the Grumpy Goat, who could just be playing Devil's Advocate. Some posts may be of parody or satyrical [sic] nature. Nothing herein should be taken too seriously. The Grumpy Goat would prefer that offensive language or opinions not be posted in the comments. Offensive comments may be subject to deletion at the Grumpy Goat's sole discretion. The Grumpy Goat is not responsible for the content of other blogs or websites that are linked from this weblog. No goats were harmed in the making of this blog. Any resemblance to individuals or organisations mentioned herein and those that actually exist may or may not be intentional. May contain nuts.