My Abu Dhabi Life #2

Rush hour traffic getting into the city

My Abu Dhabi life… take my junk, goats in vans, text messages from the Ministry of Interior and more.

And so another week has passed… Over the weekend we had a clear out of all the old clothes and junk we’ve already collected across the past year – to be honest, a lot of it turned out to be stuff we’d brought with us but never ended up wearing anymore. So we had a clear out. The problem with clear outs though, is what to do with the stuff you’ve collected once you’ve cleared it out, and here in Abu Dhabi, there aren’t really any charity shops on the high streets like there are at home. So after some investigation, we came across Take My Junk UAE who will come and collect just about anything you don’t want anymore and redistribute to poor households and those less fortunate in your area – perfect! All you have to do is text them to arrange a time and they’ll be there – and don’t forget to give the collectors a small tip for saving you the hassle also. Clearing out and feeling good about helping people – what a way to start the week!

Ready for collection after a big clear out
Ready for collection after a big clear out

The weather has been heating up of course, easily reaching the early 40s (centigrade people!) most days. And yet still the pool looks tempting as I wait for the lift in the morning on my way out to work…!

A beautiful day and a tempting looking pool...
A beautiful day and a tempting looking pool…

The traffic doesn’t improve though! It’s generally not too bad but does tend to get a bit sticky in the mornings on the way into the city centre.

Rush hour traffic getting into the city
Rush hour traffic getting into the city

One thing I’ve noticed about living here that I’ve never seen anywhere else before is the prevalence of unusual what I like to call ‘roadworks scarecrows’. They announce the beginning of a patch of roadworks and I suppose do the job of alerting drivers to the roadworks, trying to encourage cars to slow down as they pass. Some of them are amazingly lifelike and well decorated, and sometimes even kitted out with sunglasses!

Roadworks scarecrow!
Roadworks scarecrow!

Another reminder of the country we live in (in case anyone had forgotten): segregated waiting areas. You get these in banks, doctors, hospitals, dentists, Government departments and Ministries (where you get your drivers licence, national ID card etc). It’s obviously not an apartheid situation – it’s just a cultural thing allowing women to feel comfortable sitting amongst their own since it’s traditionally frowned upon in local culture for Muslim women to be seen with men who are not their husband or own family members. That said, and whilst these areas do exist, you’ll often find men sitting in the wrong area and locals and expats alike of both sexes all mixed up in both seating areas. In fact, when I took the picture below, there was actually a man sat right beneath the sign!

Waiting around...
Waiting around…

On the way to work in a taxi. Taxis are plentiful and cheap and can be booked in advance or on demand and as required by telephone. Again, with that said, Sunday mornings at 8.30am tend to have been a little troublesome lately, with either the phone line not connecting in the first instance – ‘all lines are busy’, or receiving the message ‘no taxis are available in your area’. A little annoying, especially if you’re in a hurry – though generally I find within a few minutes you receive a call back from a vacant taxi asking if you still need a cab.

On the way to work in a taxi
On the way to work in a taxi

Random sightings of animals on the back of vans in rush hour do happen in city life here. I guess they’ve got somewhere to be too! I surmise that with Ramadan fast approaching and starting next week, someone has preordered their choice lamb cuts in preparation for the season.

Seeing a goat on the back of a van on the way to work
Seeing a sheep on the back of a van on the way to work

I’m afraid it’s not been a very eventful week, though I did receive this thoughtful message below from the Ministry of Interior. They’ve recently launched a big anti drugs campaign to highlight the danger of them. Despite being illegal and highly punishable here in the UAE, drug abuse does exist, though not to the same extent as in countries overseas. From what I have read, it tends to be in poorer areas here and prescription drug and steroids tend to account for large proportions of the abuse. As the Abu Dhabi Police website reads regarding a series of information booklets they have specially produced on the subject: ‘”the booklets tackle various topics and have catchy titles such as: “What Do You Know about Drugs?”; “Were Drugs Available in Ancient Times?”; “Reasons for the Spread of Drug Abuse”; “Psychotropic Substances”; and “Damages of Drug Abuse”. ‘ You can read more about that here if you’re interested.

Public health text messages from the Ministry of Interior

And that was the week that was…

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