So our wonderful city now has a Metro! I have to be honest, when the excitement was building about this architectural landmark in Dubai, I was quite indifferent.
I come from London you see and have probably spent about a third of my life on trains and a further quarter of the remaining time waiting for them. So for me, an announcement about a train was about as welcome as a weather report promising a week of wind and rain. Enough already! Added to this, I had people around me arranging special weekend trips to ride the new Metro as if it were a fun park ride. I started to feel as if I was the only person who could care less...
But miraculously all this changed, courtesy of a flat battery. A quick point before I get back on track (no pun intended!) Why is it that my car battery is only guaranteed to work for one year? My iPhone battery lasts longer than my car battery even when I've been playing Crazy Machines on it all weekend& I just don't get it.
Back to my point, the car battery goes dead, leaving me stranded in my underground parking, so Plan B kicks in and I jump into a taxi to make my way from BurJuman shopping centre to Media City.
As I ride along Shaikh Zayed Road, my eyes stray to the sleek train coasting above my head. I think to myself that in these testing circumstances I could do worse than try it for a day.
The next day, I set off from G*Nice Towers on foot to the terminal, which is a short distance up the road. I admit that I felt a rush of excitement for the first time, which was immediately amplified the moment I entered the station. Maybe it was the electronic trance music that was pumping through my iPod but as I descended from the elevator, I got the feeling that I had entered a futuristic space station. Zipping through the concourse, with the cool air conditioning and swish barriers opening before me, I realised that I was quite impressed.
As I got on the platform, I saw a group of fellow commuters who were in a similar frame of mind. It was as if we were all sharing the same experience, excitedly checking maps to see which stations en route were operational and how this new service would deliver us to our destinations. If the Metro achieves one thing to unite a travelling population through conversation and exchanged smiles it deserves a tremendous accolade.
By chance, I hooked up with my tailor, the ever-cool Mr Ramji from Satwa who I had only previously met hunched behind a sewing machine. We shook hands and chatted like old friends. Always looking for a deal, I suggested that I would happily wear one of his shirts with an advert sewed into the back to promote his wonderful business... if of course he cut me a sweet deal on my next batch of shirts!
The train arrived on schedule, and we all piled on in search of seats. The level of politeness meant that not many men were comfortable taking up seats that were empty between women. Now I'm strapped in and ready for the ride. The train glides off and we are away!
There's so much more to say, but I'm over my word count already, so I'll continue telling you about my incredible journey next week.