Here’s the view out our window this evening, looking vaguely to the southwest past the Emirates Palace.
Last month, I conquered my fear of driving in Abu Dhabi, figuring that if I could drive in Massachusetts and in Manthattan, I could manage anywhere. After our Eid holiday, however, I know this assertion to be untrue: Abu Dhabi is indeed manageable, but there is no way I am ever driving in Delhi (or anywhere else in India).
More on that later in the week. Let’s just say that in Abu Dhabi, so long as you drive defensively and expect the guy on your right to do the stupid thing, well … you’re ready for it when he does. And just stay out of the way of the maniacs in their BMWs, Lexuses, Porsches, and Ferraris on the Abu Dhabi-Dubai highway. These guys seem to think that speeding tickets are just another form of toll.
Delhi is a different matter. Not only do the lane markers seem merely to be guidelines, but many of the drivers also seem to have a different interpretation of their meaning than I was taught. They regard the lane markers as monorails rather than tracks, routinely straddling them in order to keep their left-or-right options open. And Delhi drivers make full use of all the resources available in their cars: horns, flashing headlights, and high beams. How do you say, “Look out, here I come” in Hindi?
Abu Dhabi’s traffic seems downright reasonable in comparison. And so we’ve rented a little white Toyota Yaris for a month. Nice little hatchback, reasonable pick-up, good for squeezing into parking places and zipping around town. And excellent gas mileage. (I won’t tell you the price of gas, but I think my Coca Cola Light is more expensive per liter.) We need the car, ostensibly, to get the boys to soccer practices and other activities, but it’s also handy for exploring corners of the city where taxis are scarce when you want to return home. One of my projects: to see just what it is that they’re building out there past the Emirates Palace.