Tag Archives: Al Ain-Dubai Road

166. Road Names

What is the most annoying thing in the world? Vevuzelas? Bluebottle flies? Kardashians? The answer is none of these; it is in fact the bureaucratic mentality that prevents anything from happening within a reasonable timeframe.

It seems that wherever you go, local councils and governments want to spend as long on any given project as possible, seemingly to do nothing more than justify their existence. Take for example a very British conundrum; do you have any idea how much red tape you need to tear through to get a new park bench installed? No, neither do I. But only because when I stumbled across the procedure online I fell asleep after page 74. It is horrendous. Why does it need to take so long to put a bench in a park? You buy a bench, engrave the brass plaque with the name of a locally renowned goose, and place it in situ. A bench needs planning permission. Why? Put it there, and if enough Guardian readers complain about it then pick it up and move it somewhere else.

This type of mindless bureaucracy, it seems, is a global pandemic. Even those whom reside in the most remote outback wastelands of Mongolia need permission to paint pots. Why can’t those running the show just get things done? Why wait? Alex Salmond wants his vote on Scottish independence, why keep with him waiting until 2015 or whenever it is, just let him do it so we can all get back to work.

Cock-A-Dobby, Jumeriah Lake Towers, please.

Cock-A-Dobby, Jumeriah Lake Towers, please.

It therefore came as no surprise to me yesterday that it is to take five years to rename all the roads in Dubai. Allow me to explain the situation: The road naming system in the UAE is, by its own admission, a joke. There are snippets of sense, such as the main motorways being given numbers like E11, E22, E66 and so on, and of course we have the big landmark roads like Shiekh Zayed Road which are easy to identify. But everything else is a mish-mash of incomprehensible balderdash.

In order to understand the incumbent numbering system you need a mind of such ability that you would be able to crucify Stephen Hawking on Countdown, in the same way that a ferret could outsmart Kim Karsdashian in a game of Battleships. It is all so dreadfully hateful.

Along with the numbers there are also roads named after Sheikhs and prominent Emiratis, and that is normal. It’s no different from road names like Victoria Avenue, Kings Road, Albert Road, Elizabeth Street, and so on. But it can get confusing sometimes. If I’m navigating the Dubai traffic looking for Khaled Bin Khalifa Street, invariably I will get confused and end up on Khalifa Bin Khaled Street.

The new system means that every single road in Dubai is to be renamed, and in keeping with global tradition, the names are to reflect the local district and its history. Take the coastal area, Jumierah. Roads along the coast are to take their names from fish, famous boats, and an array of other nautical paraphernalia. Great, it will be like Portsmouth; Fish Street. Cod Cresent. HMS Ark Royal Avenue. Navy Mews.

The Trade Centre area is to be named after various currencies, which sounds fine, but there are only a finite amount of currencies in the world, so expansion of the Trade Centre would be halted should the limit be reached. Unless they build more roads off Dollar Drive, in which case they can raise the debt ceiling to whatever fictional level they like…

The thing is, this renaming programme is going to take five years, and for the life of me I can’t fathom why. How hard can it be? You break the city up into zones, as they have done, and just go nuts. Honestly, if they were to get in touch with me then I could rename the whole city in a day. Just give me a copy of the Viz Profanisaurus and immunity from prosecution and before you know it you’ll be driving through Uphill Gardens and Bell End, past Busty View and before you know it you’ll be back home on Penistone Road.

Problem solved.

Tagged , , , , ,

75. Road humps

“Arm the road humps, fire on my command”

One constant throughout the course of time is that mankind has always known its enemy.  Fire is mans oldest foe, and has been the weapon of choice of Mother Nature for quite some time.  She doesn’t always play nice and can seldom be tamed.  When she wants to destroy you, she can.  Whether it is with an earthquake, a super volcano, a hurricane or a plague of Kardashians, man will never triumph over her.   I mean, he can barely conquer himself without getting into a tizzy.

Generally it takes at least 2 entities to have a war, whether it’s the Americans versus the Russians, Britain versus France, Iran versus more or less everyone else or McDonalds versus Burger King.  But with Mother Nature the rules are different.  Can she be described as an entity?  She can’t be seen, or even depicted, how can she be beaten?

To have an invisible enemy is a nuisance.  We’ve all seen Star Trek, when the Klingons engage their cloaking device it causes Captain Kirk no end of grief.  He ends up just firing into random space with his fingers crossed.  It is very difficult to beat an invisible enemy.

This somehow brings me onto the subject of the road humps in the UAE.  Or speed bumps, or ramps, or sleeping policemen, whatever you want to call them.  I like to call them “F@#&ers”.  They are, through all intents and purposes, the enemy.  It is an invisible enemy that springs out of nowhere and disengages its cloaking device at the last possible second.  The result?  Smashed suspension, broken anti-roll bar bushes, cocked steering arms, shattered teeth and a powdered spine.  They really are the most evil creation the world has ever seen.

This is the part where the good-willed and the pious will tell me to “slow down to the speed limit you ruffian and then you will see them”.  If you are planning on saying this to me then I implore you to go and put your head in the microwave post haste.  You see, I have crawled along roads at 10kph – when the limit is 60kph – and still hit the humps and have still needed to spend the week in intensive care.  They just appear from nowhere and in some cases are akin to crashing into a wall.

They are painted white and yellow, and in some cases a fine glass powder is mixed in with the paint.  This is supposed to give the paint – and subsequently the hump – a healthy, reflective glow.  Of course, lacing the streets are sodium street lamps, or in other cases, no street lamps at all.  Sodium street lamps are the ones that give the orange glow and are supposed to create less light pollution.  This is preposterous.  The only people affected by light pollution are the 3-4 chaps on the International Space Station.  There are billions of us down here, we need more.  The lamps mask the humps and don’t allow for the glass fragments to reflect anything.  So you end up having to take your car to the garage to be exorcised.

The colour issue is also not helped by the fact that the humps are covered in the tyre marks of a million other road users.  So they are black, the same as the road.  This makes them as invisible, and as costly, as ever.

Then we have the location of the road humps.  They can be found everywhere.  They are in small residential complexes, usually in the wrong place.  They can also be found in the middle of main roads that have 100kph speed limits.  Have any of you driven over the one outside the Danat Hotel in Al Ain?  It’s on the corner on the approach to the entrance and has a similar incline as Mont Blanc.  You can’t drive over it straight so all 4 wheels traverse independently!  No matter how slowly you drive, it hurts.  My favourite ones are the ones that only cover the width of the road, so you just drive onto the dirt on one side and drive around it instead.  Honestly, this situation needs urgent review.

The most wearisome part of the entire episode is the consistency of them.  The Al Ain-Dubai road is a good example.  When you are coming into Al Ain, you’re driving along the motorway at 120kph; you see the sign that says “HUMPS AHEAD” and you start to slow as it, unusually, comes into view.  You don’t feel it; it was more or less the same as running over a catseye or a piece of paper.  So you think that you were played for a fool.  Then instantly after the fake hump is another one, you hit that aaannd… the next thing you know you are waking up in the back of ambulance and your car is stuck in a tree.

Is there a solution for these invisible and lethal weapons of mass destruction?  Is it all part of an elaborate ruse by the motoring industry to cause damage to our cars so we have to spend more money on repairs to help them out of recession?  Is it an Illuminati effort to curb population growth by trying to kill us off?  Or is it just plain incompetence?  I suspect that mans’ oldest enemy is up to her old tricks…

The only rational theory that I can muster is that Mother Nature no longer wants to play with fire now she’s got the hump…

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,