The sun has set on our time at the Royal Ramee apartment hotel. (Photo is the view from our window last night.) We’ve been in this one-bedroom flat for three weeks.
I think there have only been two incidents of yelling and crying. Both of which took place at 6:55 a.m. in the throes of trying to get out the door…
…and into a cab.
Sadly, our favorite driver, Xavier from Uganda, was too busy to commit to us. We have to hail a new one everyday, hop inside, and then pray all the way. As I understand, the regulation of Abu Dhabi taxis has come a long way, as has the regulation of traffic in general. Case in point is the calming message that automatically comes on when a driver is going too fast. You are now crossing the speeding limit. Please slow down. The good news is that the message works. The drivers always slow down.
At issue, however, is the practice of slamming on the brakes at the last second when the car in front has stopped. It seems to be a surprise to drivers EVERY SINGLE TIME. In fact, they seem to continue to accelerate as if there is no threat whatsoever until just before we crash into the rear end of the car ahead when the great brake-slamming routine begins all over again.
And every time, the automatic sardonic voice in my head comes on and says: Oh, wow, the car in front actually had to turn, so SURPRISE, we have to slow down or stop. How could this happen? I hope it never happens again, so let’s speed up again at full blast and head into the next group of cars as if none of them will ever stop. Woa, look at that, another one is stopping, which OMG means I have stop suddenly. Now that is crazy. Phew. Okay, now that’s passed, I assume I will never have to stop ever again. Let’s put the pedal to the metal. Oh, brake lights are on up ahead, let’s speed up.
Over and over again.
Sometimes I take pictures from the window to distract myself. I recently captured this one of the Sheikh Zayed Great Mosque. The structure is an absolute architectural marvel. Gazing outside my cab, the Great Mosque brings me serenity, as does listening to the 4:30 a.m. call to prayer at the smaller mosque outside the Royal Ramee hotel.
I will miss the employees of the Ramee. All of whom are so kind to us, especially Mary at reception who has ordered a private van for me to get our possessions over to the new apartment. Everyone here seems to go the extra mile for us–like the housekeeper who arranges the stuffed animals just so. Occasionally, his dioramas take a diabolical turn, but we laugh and enjoy the show.
The time has come to make Abu Dhabi more like home than a hotel. So that means saying goodbye to the good people of the Ramee and saying hello to the high-rise known as Mangrove Place.
I’m hoping the private driver of the van KNOWS that a cars will be slowing down between here and there. Maybe even a few will come to a complete stop and we’ll need to do likewise.
Shukron. (Thank you.)