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Dubai--Lost in Transit

A few days ago I found my camera broke. This is the second time this happened while travelling. (I could still take pictures but not view through the screen, or focus, or change the settings). So yesterday morning, I set out to take the tram to the metro to the large Mall of the Emirates to look at new cameras (I have a set amount of money for travelling, and i didn't want to spend more money-but I really enjoy photography, and am not the type who wants to use his phone. I had to be back at the hostel at 1:40 pm, as I had a desert safari tour planned-which involves riding a camel, seeing the desert sunset, etc.

So I l left about 9:00 am to go to the mall. It took roughly 1/2 an hour-so I had a cup off coffee from Mcdonalds, and looked in a few stores. The forth store was some large Best-buy type store in the mall, and I was tempted to buy a new camera there-but it was too expensive, and it came with a lens I didn't need-so i went back out to the metro to go back to the hostel. I rode the metro one stop closer to the hotel, and I thought-why don't i get the camera? So I crossed over the steps to the metro in the opposite direction to go back to the mall-and I thought-the other day I was at what I thought was a cheap mall about 15 stops downtown-I can check that mall out-make sure I am on the returning metro by 12:00 pm, and be able to make it back to the hostel by roughly 12:45-plenty of time for the safari tour which would pick me up at 1:40 pm. So that's what I did-only to find that mall had the same types of shops as the Mall of the Emirates-(the exact same stores). So it was 10 to 12:00-I got on the metro back to the hostel, (after waiting about 5 minutes for the train). Everything was working out to make it to the safari. The first sign of trouble was that I lost my metro ticket, and had to buy then.

After standing on the train for a minute (there was no place to sit)-folks who worked for the transit department kept telling everyone to get off the train, and wait for the next train which was behind. So after about 2 minutes, everyone was off the train-the train pulled away, and another train came along perhaps 4 minutes later. Of course-this train was already full-so it was really really crowded when we got on-but still plenty of time for the safari, so I was ok.

The really really crowded train ambled along to the next elevated station, when the announcer, and folks who worked for the transit department once again, told everyone to get off the train. But this time-there was no other train. The instructions we're to go out the exit marked #2-where special buses will be waiting for us. Now i thought sh..t, it was now closer to 12:30-the thought of making it to the safari was looking more and more remote. A whole bunch of us walked through long pathways to the door marked #2-only to hear the announcer say the buses would be waiting at entrance #1-said we all reversed pathway, walked up those long, long, corridors, to the door marked #1. Once getting there-hundreds, (maybe close to a thousand) people we;re waiting for the buses. And there we're no emergency buses-just the standard bus service. So the first bus came along-and all hundreds we're mobbing the bus, trying to get on. The bus would wait a few minutes, more would try to get on. The driver would announce the bus couldn't continue unless people stopped trying to get on-so eventually it pulled way.


I got on the second bus-or more like-i was shoved by the crowds on to the bus. I was sandwiched at the back. After ten minutes (or what seemed like an hour), the bus driver kept trying to go, but couldn't close the doors because the bus was so full. The bus did go on, but was stuck in traffic, and went inching along when the lights finally turned green and the traffic cleared. I was pushed up against a few Indian guys,one I learned moved here to look for work as an engineer. By 1:00 pm. I sort of figured I wasn't going to make that safari-as i couldn't think of how I would make it back to the hostel-so some lady next to me lent me her phone to call the hostel. (mine only operated via wifi).

After a while of standing, the bus seemed to veer way from the metro path-past a cemetery which was filled with sand as opposed to grass, and then started to go near the path of the metro once again. After what seemed like an hour of standing and being pushed up against these people, I got off at some place called the Oasis. (The Oasis, whatever it was, sounded nice). It turns out it was yet another mall. I had lunch from a Carrefour store or some $2.00 noodles). Although it was along the path of the metro, there was no stop nearby, so I found a bus stop-and rode a double decker bus downtown. After an hour on the bus, (in which I fell asleep), I got off at a stop-went to a neighborhood near the airport, where cheap goods we're sold.I also watched the giant Emirates jets tale off every few minutes. I then found the hop-on hop-off bus, and went to an old neighborhood near the museum, and found a place to buy a camera. i also found the old souk, with places to buy spices, deserts, cheap perfumes, watches, etc. I then sat by the dock, and went to the gold souk, watching people who worked there venture back and fourth.


Posted by DavidPearlman 19:51 Archived in United Arab Emirates

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