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Thursday, April 28, 2005

Adventures in Sharjah

Akk, I hate driving in Sharjah even more than I hate driving on the M25 (especially the stationery stretch from Heathrow to the M1 - probably only about 40 miles, but it can take about 5 hours to do it).

This morning I had to go and pick up a small cheque from my only Sharjah client. Getting there was not a problem - I set off at 7.30 when everybody was trying to go the other way. Something horrible had happened on the Sheikh Zayed Highway just outside Internet City heading toward Jebel Ali, and the traffic was immobile for at least 10 kms. And then again on the main Dubai-Sharjah road the traffic heading into Dubai was actually doing no such thing - it was not moving and was backed up all the way into Sharjah itself. But I was going the other way.

I reached my destination with no trouble at all, did the biz, and asked my client for directions of how to get to the Emirates Road. He drew me a little map, and seemed fairly confident about it, but either it or I was wrong. I got hopelessly lost, as I always do in Sharjah, and it took me fifty minutes to find the end of the Emirates Road.

There's something about the roads in Sharjah that I just don't get. I've been to the place hundreds of times, even lived there for a bit, but I've never been able to get a permanent grip on the layout. I just can't make all the roads join up in my head, and I completely lose my sense of direction. This is not helped by the useless signboards. They are probably very good if you know the name of every little district in Sharjah, but they completely ignore the big picture stuff like 'Dubai, this way' or 'Town Centre, over there' or 'this way to the Sea' or even 'follow me to Ajman'.

And, concerned authorities please note, there are some wicked potholes on the 1st Industrial Road. I know this because I drove its entire length in both directions.

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