Monday, October 22, 2007

The Street of DOOOOOOOOOM!

(Mission Impossible theme music playing)
My mission: Cross the "Street of Doom" with 2 kids, a baby, and the maid without getting plowed over by a lunatic.
Last year I was delighted to learn that the new American friend I just met lived in my neighborhood. If I stand in the street outside my house, I can see hers. I thought it would be great, we could walk back and forth to each others houses and this whole messy issue of finding a ride wouldn't interfere in our plans. There's only one problem, there is a major street that runs between us that may as well be the Berlin Wall running through Al-Hassa for how it keeps our two families apart.

This street, which has now been dubbed "The Street of Doom" by my friends, is four lanes wide in each direction, brand spankin new pavement and a long clear stretch of road which is conducive to speeds not seen outside of the Indy500. It's not really a highway; the patch that runs by my house has a roundabout at one end, a traffic light at the other and is only a fraction of a mile in actual distance. For the most part this street isn't very busy. It's easily navigable in the sparse traffic of the scorching hot broad daylight however, it becomes increasingly dangerous as twilight descends and the heedless youth of the country rouse from their daytime slumber to inflict nocturnal vehicular chaos.

Although my friend and I both acknowledge the danger this street could possibly pose, we were perplexed, amused, then touched by how similar our husbands reactions were to the thought of us crossing this street on foot with our children. My friend and I are both mature, both drivers, and are of sufficient intelligence to cross streets unscathed. However, both of our husbands prefer driving us across the street rather than letting us walk.

Yes, you read it correctly, they both want to drive us across the street!

At first I was a bit dismayed. Initially my reaction was, "You don't think I'm intelligent enough to manage crossing a street for God's sake?!"
"No, it has nothing to do with YOU, it's everyone else that's stupid!", DD tried to explain to me.

After a while, my friend and I started to look at it as a chivalrous gesture and thought it rather cute that our husbands would fret about us so. And besides, I'd rather DD drive me anyway if the truth be told. It's damn hot out there during daylight hours and there's no way I'm crossing that street at night wearing an ALL BLACK abaya which assures my invisibility to already deficient drivers. I might as well sew a bulls eye to my butt first.


mezba said...

I have been reading your blog for sometime now, don't remember if I commented before.

I am in Dubai right now where at least that problem is not there - there is so much traffic jam that you can cross most streets even when the light is green - cars are bumper to bumper.

However, when the traffic is clear, crossing a small road, even a service road or a parking lot, is a bitch.

barbereally said...

Im back, please dont look at my mispellings.
Ive also been reading for a while but never have commented and even when i wanted to dam thing wouldnt let me ,, sooooooooo
just want to tell u how much i enjoy ur blog, i know exactly what u are talkng bout when u talk bout hassa, have in-laws there.traffic these days is getting crazy every where..congradualtions on ur new underpass, i see they already had a few wall slammers. maybe if they would nt go so fast!!!!!!!!! HELLOOO

Askandarani said...

:-) i remember one time i was in KSA crossing the street, and cars actually slowed down to allow me to cross without running, in egypt as soon as a pedestrian set foot in the street he is wearing the bulls eye and driver increase their speed.

Sprite said...

How ghastly! Maybe you could paint fluroscent yellow stripes on your abaya?

This reminds me of many a happy shopping trip in Khobar with my brother. We'd always follow the same pattern: shopper's bus to al-Rashid, then taxi to the al-Isha (sp?) mall to buy silver and then window shop all the way to Safeway where we'd buy donuts. Then...stand in dismay at that huge main road, wondering how we were going to get across to the Eden of fast food places on the other side. Sometimes we'd be waiting to cross so long we'd consider getting a taxi to take us!

Anonymous said...

Ok, I have to say/write this. Back home, we don't have any traffic lights/rules, so we just cross(yeah, running across the street)coz no one would stop unless someone decides to stop. Anyway, when I came to Canada, I completely forgot that they have *rules* and specially designated areas to cross. I would run across the street and my husband would get so upset! LOOOOOOOOL! It was due to habit but I have now gotten acustomed to the new rules after being here for 10yrs. When I went back home, I got scared crossing the streets with the cars speeding away not caring for anyone! :-) sf

Saudi Stepford Wife-Daisy said...

mezba- Dubai is insane!!! I loved it but would never want to live there...just nearby enough to visit OFTEN! Welcome to my blog and I hope to see many comments from you in the future.

barbereally- I have yet to see if all the time spent, and business along that road ruined, was worth it for that stupid underpass. I was joking with DD when it opened that whole purpose of the underpass was just to give visitors from the north (Dammam, Jubail) the false sense of modernity as they enter the city so they don't turn and run before they get sucked into the central part LOL!

Askandarani- the one place in the city we can get away with casually meandering across the street with a sense of regal entitlement is in the women's souk. It's crazy as individual women make 5 lanes of traffic grind to a halt as she calmly crosses only to have another start crossing from the other side before the first has completed her crossing before the traffic can restart.
Sprite- I've seen people killed on that strip right by the Safeway and Al Rashid!!!- walkers and drivers both!!! Having said that, it's one of my favorite places in the whole country:-)

sf- you sound like one of my friends in England who lived in an English village all her life and came to uni in the "big city". Girl couldn't cross the street w/o major stress.

DD- Daisy's husband said...

People driving in Saudia watch out! Latest statistics for Ramadan: in 10 years 85,000 deadly accidents and 225,000 casualties just in the time before sunset when people will break their fasts!

Anonymous said...

I am glad you are letting your husbahd chauffer you.
Since it is his insistance that he drive you, can you embellish a little and have him open your door and say, "Ma'am your carriage awaits".:)
Have fun and be safe!!!

Lianne said...

It looks like a winter day in Detroit but it was probably 110 outside.

Saudi Stepford Wife-Daisy said...

sf- if only it was done with such enthusiasm,LOL!

lianne- I think you've unintentionally alluded to your youth...I thought anyone at least my age 30+ would easily recognize that as the Berlin wall! It's my fault for not labeling it.

Intlxpatr said...

It does look like a great place for an underpass or a pedestrian overpass! (Even if it is not Berlin!)

As you know, we (women) can drive in Kuwait, but after dusk, it is so crazy I won't drive. Thank God for delivery - food, laundry, propane . . . etc!

Saudi Stepford Wife-Daisy said...

Intlxpatr- we badly need a pedestrian crossing/footbridge/something in the women's souk here. It's impossible to drive through it due to all the "chivalrous" drivers letting women slowly cross.