Bould Statements on Dubai: 2

Ann and Roger Bould were recently in the oil-rich kingdom on the Persian Gulf. Here is the second  instalment of their adventures. (For Part 1, see August16.)

The driverless train!

Next day was to be the biggie. We were scheduled to be picked up at our hotel and taken into the desert, where we could sample the pleasures of falconing, food and belly dancing.

With a few hours to kill before then, we decided to try a driverless train trip and maybe a paddle in the water at the marina. There was a ride on a monorail as part of the trip, so we went for it.

There was a bit of a crowd at the train station, and it was here you could see the competitiveness of the average commuter.

When the automatic doors opened, people shot into the carriages and plumped themselves down in the nearest vacant seat. I found one for Ann and stood in front of it. Another passenger was hovering. She didn’t want it, so I sat.

The trains are smooth, quiet, and have no compartment doors, so you can see from one end to the other, like our local trains. On some trains (but only some), the hierarchy changes: there’s a carriage reserved for women and children. No men allowed in there. It’s a 10,000 dirham fine (just over $4,000) for infringing this one.

Warning signs are at the entrance doors in case you forget. And forgetting isn’t an excuse.

Dubai day 2 – only 43 degrees!

It wasn’t quite as hot as the day before, only about 43 degrees. And not quite so humid. The train was air conditioned, but the walk from the station to the monorail wasn’t.

We walked through a colossal, but deserted car parking building (hot), following the signs, until we got to the monorail station.

Then we found we didn’t have enough of the local currency to get tickets. And the ticket office didn’t take eftpos of any kind. “But there’s a bank on the other side of the road,” they said.

Getting more cash

So we walked back through the car parking building (still hot), over the highway, (six lanes each way) and found the Arab Bank. It was closed for maintenance!

The glass doors – typical bank front doors, were untypically dusty and grimy, and very closed-looking, so we started walking along looking for options. The guy in a nearby restaurant said we could find a money machine in the bank, so we walked back and found the big glass doors could be pushed open. Inside were two wonderful money machines, one of which accepted our card and gave us the necessary.

A hot walk back

Then it was the long walk back through the parking building, working out whether we could still fit the monorail trip in before we had to get back to the hotel in time for the trip to the desert.

We took the shorter of the two trip options because of not having enough time and not being able to hurry in this heat.

We managed to get close enough to the water to see it but not quite close enough to touch it. Then we finally succumbed to the heat and headed back to the air conditioned pleasure of the monorail station.

Confusion on the train

On the train, heading back to the hotel, Ann saw a couple of seats together and went for them. I followed. As my bum touched the seat, Ann said: “Women only.”

To my everlasting  shame, I wasn’t about to pay 10,000 AED to sit with her, so I got up and headed out of no-man’s land, followed by tolerant smiles from all the women in the carriage.

I was met at the border with a muttered: “Jeez! Just f—kn’ sit there, man! Jee – zus!”

Hierarchies can be hard to follow.


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