Sunday, November 27, 2011

To Sharjah with Farook

I had originally (see previous post) planned a short visit with Farook, but he'd bought me lunch, and I felt it would be rude to eat and run, so, when he said we had to go to Sharjah to meet a Philippina, I agreed.

As I said, we'd met a Philippino at Ibn Battuta Mall, and he'd said he wanted us to meet the Philippina, so Farook asked, 'Where Philippina?' and was told 'Sharjah.' So off we went.

Farook got on a road with no tolls (all the  major Dubai roads have tolls of about $1.25 every 15 kilometres or so, called Salek in Arabic) and we got into Sharjah.

Farook asked, 'Where Philippina?' The Philippino called on Farook's mobile and said, 'National Paint.' I thought everyone knew National Paint, but Farook honked and waved until someone stopped. He then asked in Arabic, 'Where National Paint?' and got an answer in Arabic.

So he honked and waved until another driver stopped. Same question, only this time in Urdu, and some answer in Urdu.


Finally, we drove for about a kilometre, and repeated the process ANOTHER FIVE TIMES.

Then we drove another kilometre, and, of course FIVE MORE TIMES.

Finally, we proceeded as directed all 15 times and came to National Paint.

We parked in front of Medina Supermarket, and Farook asked the Philippino, 'Where Philippina?'

As it turned out, she was waiting at Ramez Supermarket. So again, Farook honked and waved and asked five cars, 'Where Ramez Supermarket?' And we started. I saw a sign, RAMEZ SUPERMARKET and an arrow pointing left. Farook turned right.

We got back to Medina Supermarket, so, again, Farook asked, and was told to make a U-turn, which he did. Into a taxi.

So we had to wait for the police.

Who never came, this being Sharjah (in Dubai, they come within 10 minutes or less, usually much less). I called someone I know who lives in Sharjah, and he said, 'Just drive to the police station. They don't go to accidents.' But Farook said the police had to see the accident just as it happened, so we couldn't move.

Only we HAD moved from the intersection where Farook ran into the taxi to a parking space out of the way of the traffic. But Farook felt he could move that far, but no farther.

After three hours (and repeatedly calling the police number) the police finally answered and said to go to the National Paint police checkpoint about two kilometres from where we were. So we went.

As we were driving, Farook asked me, 'Whose fault?'

'Yours,' I said.

So, when we got to the police checkpoint, Farook said he'd turned into the taxi, and got a ticket for $54.

Then he drove us to his cousin's home in Sharjah.

Only the accident had demolished his steering, so he was driving as if completely drunk (in Arabic, sakran). To let people know he had a problem, he took an undershirt and waved it out the window. I expected a second accident (or an arrest for DUI) and another three hour wait, but we made it unscathed to his cousin's home.

Then he tried to flag one of the un-metered taxis that once took people from Sharjah to Dubai for $1. Their like have not been seen for at least five years, but Farook tried to find me one. It was nearly midnight, and I was not inclined to waste any more time, so I flagged a normal, metered taxi and made it home about 1 am, a mere 12 hours later than I'd planned.