Dubai is a crazy place! Every time I go there the road layout is different. When I first went in the mid-Nineties, I quickly found my way around and could drive from point A to point B without the use of maps and just the barest set of directions.
There was one road from the airport to the clock tower and Deira and one bridge across to Bur Dubai. Sheikh Zayed road took you to Abu Dhabi and that was it. Now there are roads everywhere, many going to the same places but all of them have sneaky junctions and side roads.
Now I can’t even find the airport without a GPS and even though I have the latest map upgrades it is still always out of date.
I have been to Dubai Mall in the downtown area many times, but do you think I can find my way back to any point twice? The GPS says take the right, turning in 200 metres and when you get to that point it’s a complicated junction with two roads going off to the right so you take the first one and immediately you know you’ve gone wrong as you enter a 270 turn then the smug GPS says the immortal words “recalculating” and you know it’s thinking “Not that one idiot”.
Eventually, once you have driven 20km to find a turnaround point you arrive back at the same point and take the second right only to be faced with another double junction a few hundred metres later. And there is no point in ditching the car and getting a taxi as they get just as lost as you do.
I have been in Dubai this week and I need a car as I go and visit companies far out in industrial zones and sometimes gas plants in the desert, but this week I also had to attend the Middle East Electricity and Solar exhibition at the Trade Centre so decided to drop the car back at the airport and get the Metro. Very good it is too. For BD2 I could travel everywhere in a day but having decided to upgrade to first class for the huge sum of BD4, arrived at the Trade Centre in a good mood and didn’t have the hassle of finding a car park which would have cost BD8.
Exhibitions in Dubai are another thing.
They are so massive I had only one day to attend this one and I barely scratched the surface. I did manage to see the people I had pre-organised with, but there were so many other stalls where I could have spent time chatting about solar and batteries and other types of renewable energy systems. However, the overriding comments from most were that the GCC countries spend a lot of time talking about harvesting all the lovely free energy from the sun but very few are doing anything concrete about it. Oil and gas have been so cheap for so many years now, but come on guys, if you generate even part of your power requirements from the sun then you will have more oil and gas to sell to the cold north.