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  • Writer's pictureLiz Totton

5 Things You Might Find Funny About Abu Dhabi

Scooby Dooby Doo!

Scooby Dooby Doo!

Abu Dhabi-Do! I bring you 5 Things You Might Find Funny About Abu Dhabi (aside from the name). Some friends, in the states, love to say Abu Dhabi because it sounds just a bit like Scooby-Dooby-Doo! I like to say it too. For those with a more complex sense of humor and those who need a bit more to be perplexed/amused by, this is for you.

Here are five things that I Find Funny (funny strange, not funny haha) about Abu Dhabi from a western perspective. They have taken me some time to get used to. I feel compelled to share them. They are as follows:


Thursday is the New Friday, people!

1.  Thursday is Friday, Friday is Saturday, But They Are, in fact, Reversed. For those unacquainted with the Muslim World, Friday is the holy day of rest, much like our Sunday in the West–some shops are closed in reverence until 2 or 4pm. I can remember, as a kid, when most shops were closed on Sunday in America—it seems like a LONG time ago, but it wasn’t–I’m young, the UAE and I are babies. LOL. Sunday store closures reminds me of Blue Laws. In certain East Coast towns in America all commercial activities were prohibited on Sundays. They still exist in a few places.

Getting back to the weekend here though… Ideally, Saturday should be like Sunday here—a day of rest and relaxation–but it’s not. Does that make any sense? Probably not, let me try to explain. Friday is technically the day of rest here. For me, it’s the day I want to get stuff done, but I can’t. Many places are closed just like Sunday used to be when I was a kid growing up in my pretty conservative part of America. You were forced to “rest” because there was nothing else to do. Here, that’s Friday, leaving Saturday to be the day when you have to Go Go Go! I don’t like this very much. I would prefer Friday to be my busy day and Saturday to be the restful, family day. What can you do? Having said that, I am getting very used to Thursday being the new Friday. It feels a little naughty to have so much fun on a Thursday night to me still. TGIT!

Emirates' Post Box

Emirates’ Post Boxes line the town. Where the cards dropped go, no one knows!!

2.   There Is No Standard Address System in Abu Dhabi. For real. How do we get mail, you ask? The answer is we don’t, though I did receive one Christmas card (of 6) sent to my husband’s PO box at work. Thank you A & L.

How do we find places or each other’s home, you may ask? The answer is with landmarks—just like in the olden days. Or, we find them with a GPS Garmin—just like in the Modern days. I tend to rely more on landmarks here though because this cityscape is constantly shifting much like the sand upon which it’s all built. Everything’s always changing here. Last month you may have visited a place and you remember you went through three round-abouts and took a left to get there. The Garmin may even tell you to take the third exit at the round-about. You get there and–boom—there is NO third round-about. It’s gone! You MUST intuit this to take a left at the traffic light at the brand, spanking new intersection there which recently replaced the circle, and no one—not a soul—bothered to inform Garmin.

This also makes delivery services a challenge. Instead of a line for address, there is a space to draw a map or leave instructions such as this: “I live on the street after the airport road, but before the roundabout, Go past the mosque and make a U-turn. It’s the second house on the left.”

There is talk about us eventually having a state-of-the-art  address system—it will no doubt be unrivalled in its modernity and design—by 2015. Fingers crossed.

Abu Dhabi Road map

Abu Dhabi Road map

3.   Ever-Changing Road Names.  Just when I was starting to get to know my way around the city proper of Abu Dhabi—confidently differentiating between my Sheik Zayed the First street from my every other Sheik Zayed the somethingth Street, the city decided to change the name of all the roads?! WTH? How can you just do this to people? Easily, I guess. It’s their city, and they can do whatever they want.


Hot, hot, hot in Abu Dhabi!!

4.  It’s Never Not Hot in Abu Dhabi. The average summer temperature is 104 degrees Fahrenheit, and in January the average high is 75. This is probably because the city is near some massive desert dunes.

5.   The Red Traffic Signal Leaves Enough Time To Read War & Peace in its entirety (the Cliff Notes version, at least) while you wait. Are you wondering what I am doing right now as I type? Yes, I am just waiting at a stop light. There is no Right On Red here, so I am waiting… I had time to unzip my computer bag, check my face, and edit a blog post all while I wait (though putting on make up while driving has just been banned here, thankfully). I am not sure who in the Department of Transportation here decided that any person, ever, needs over a minute and a half to cross the street, but someone did. My time living in New York City did not help my inability to sit at a traffic light for longer than 20-30 seconds, I’m sure. Sometimes, I believe I was sent to Abu Dhabi as an exercise in the Cultivation of patience.

Om. Om. Om… This light still has NOT changed.

Om, Om, Om. This light is never gonna change.

Om, Om…. Screw OM! This light is never gonna change, and I blow the light.

No cameras there. I’m all right. Waves of adrenaline. Yeah, that’s about how a bloody minute and a half feel at a stoplight here in Abu Dhabi, don’t they understand that no one on earth needs that long to cross a street? I’m getting mad again…

If this was another of life’s tests in the Cultivation of Patience, I failed. Sigh….


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