51. Addresses

I generally join fads quite late.  I’m not a technophobe nor am I a technofan; iPads, Apple Mac’s, Xbox’s and whatever other mad must-have gadget that comes out next,  I’m not bothered at all.  Getting with the times has never really interested me, nor can I justify spending the money on such things.  Why would I want to spend AED 3500 on an iPad (£600) which does what my second hand lap-top already does?  I don’t understand.  I was still using cassette walkmans when the CD Discman was the standard issue young person’s device, and then stole my sisters Discman the day the iPod came out.  I only got a Blackberry 12 months ago, and that was second hand from my friend before it broke and then I started using my girlfriends old Blackberry instead…

All in all I don’t mind being a few steps behind the pace when it comes to getting with the times.  In fact I prefer it, let everyone else make the mistakes and let’s see how long your new SuperMagicPadThatConnectsToTheInternetLikeYourPhoneAndLaptop actually lasts.  You could say, then, that I am the complete opposite to the UAE.  The UAE loves being first.  The UAE is like a young twenty-something post grad fresh out of university, ready to take on the world in a whirlwind of ignorance and missed details.  Off he goes and gets all the tall buildings built and installs his new metro before putting up his indoor ski slope and Ferrari World.  Sadly, whilst building all the wonderful money spinners he has forgotten some basics, like a postal address system.

So, it came as no surprise today then when I opened the paper to see an article about a new website that has started up called www.localsearch.ae.  From what I understand it is basically run by the Yellow Pages.  How it works is very simple, each and every building and business in the UAE has been assigned a unique 6 digit code, and somehow that does something.  You go to the website, type in the name of the building or business you want to find and if you’re lucky it will then show you a map.

Ultimately it’s a start, and a good one at that.  But there are flaws.  There are lots of big well known businesses on there like Yas Marina Circuit and Burj Khalifa and so on, but what about the small shops, the very ones we can never find, the ones we stress about being in some sort of parallel universe?

Ello ello ello… What do we ‘ave ‘ere then? Using your iPad to find a key cutter whilst driving? You’re coming with me son…

There is a place near my home called Kings Keys, a key cutter who is as far as I’m concerned the best in the world.  He can cut 4 keys for you in – and I’m not making this up – 40 seconds.  He is indeed the King of the keys.  But his business isn’t listed on localsearch.ae.  In order for his tiny shop to be registered on this system he has to go online and enter the details, including the address of the shop…

Now we’re back to square one.  What is he to type?  Go straight along Khaled Bin Sultan Al Awwal Street, then do a U-turn at the traffic lights and take the third right turn into the un-signposted road?  This was the very thing Localsearch was trying to cut out.

Furthermore, how are we to find our friends houses in residential areas?  I know someone who lives in Mohammed Bin Zayed City in Abu Dhabi, a suburban residential complex, nope, can’t find it either.

Ok, maybe I’m asking too much too soon.  I mean the UAE is only 40 years old, and it took the Un-United Kingdom from the year 1066 to the year 1857 to implement its first postal code… so we may have to wait another 800 years or so for all the creases to be completely ironed out.  Localsearch is definitely a step in the right direction and they seem to have one market in the UAE nailed, as you can download the application onto your iPad and iPhone.  This will come in handy when you’re driving around looking for a shop name during the Dubai rush hour…

The next article I read this morning was about how the Police are going to start cracking down on those who use iPhones and iPads whilst driving…  I knew it’d be a waste of money…

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