Whenever anyone needs directing to our villa here in Dubai, I grab a pen and a piece of paper and start drawing a detailed map with arrows, landmarks and my phone number for when they get lost.
Addresses in Dubai are really basic. There are no street addresses, no zip/post codes or area codes – and no postal service. Our mail goes to a PO box at DH’s company headquarters, so no junk mail through the door at least, but lengthy delays in receiving post if DH isn’t able to check it for a while (just got the Christmas cards, thanks!)
As for finding places, addresses such as “Past the mosque, first right then turn left after the cat sitting on the wall” are commonplace.
If you’re having something delivered, stores often provide a space on the form for you to draw a map to your home to avoid confusion.
Directing people to our villa has another set of problems, however.
In a previous post, I touched on how a massive roundabout by our compound disappeared overnight – probably while drivers were on it – meaning everyone coming home the next day got totally lost.
Getting home has never been the same since. We now have to join a 6-lane highway in the wrong direction, make a u-turn, get on the highway again, do ANOTHER u-turn, then join the highway one last time – passing our compound a total of three times.
Confused? So is everyone who’s ever visited us.
And, because our road is literally at a right angle off a mega-highway, you have to pull onto the motorway hard shoulder – keeping one eye out the whole time that you don’t get rear-ended by a poo truck – then turn right after a brown sign and traverse some rubble before getting onto our road..
Try explaining that to a kamikaze taxi driver who’s never been here before. It’s the ride of your life, I tell you.
Of course, adding 10km onto our route home really annoys everyone so we cheat. For those who know Dubai, we can go through Global Village, but the best thing to do if you’re in a 4by4 – and there are no police around – is to go off road. Here’s what it looks like … (just don’t try this in a car!)