Published: August 13th 2012August 13th 2012
Ok, I just wrote a blog about 6 hours ago, but let me just say that those six hours have been among the craziest and most stressful of my life, but DEFINITELY during the time I've been here.
We had our group meeting at 10 before our manager goes on leave. I was able to finish some work before my taxi came at noon. He was right on time and we headed to my apartment so I could meet the Du installation tech at 1:00. It is a long drive that I've made a million times before, so I sat back and started reading my kindle. I looked up and Whoa! There is a car about 6 inches from my face to my left. He was apparently trying to get in our lane between our taxi and the truck in front of us. My driver was having NONE of it. He absolutely refused to let the guy in front of him, even though we needed to get into that lane anyway. He almost hit the truck in front of us about three times, slamming on his brakes and riding the guy's bumper. I actually thought he did hit at one point. I was very glad to make it a rule to wear my seatbelt with these psycho drivers.
Somehow our driver manages to speed up and pass the guy on the right, slip into his lane and then SLAM on his brakes. There was no one in front of us. Nothing happened, so he drives forward a little and slams on the brakes again. BAM!!! We were rearended. I was in total shock. It was so incredibly blatant and we were in the middle of lunchtime traffic in one of the busiest streets in the area - in the middle lane of three lanes. Cars were driving around, beeping.
He gets out of the car and goes back. I just there like, what do I do? We're in an industrial area, not too many taxis and I need to be home by 1:00. I had read something that said when you're in an accident in Dubai, you do not pull over to the side but wait for police to get there, no matter what. The driver gets back and is getting ready to pull away. Suddenly my door opens and this well dressed young asian man (he called them philippinos, but I think they were actually Korean) starts yelling at the taxi driver - "Give me your license!" It was obvious to him as well as me that the driver was going to leave (chances are there was not much damage). The driver starts to drive anyway, and the guy is gripping the back of his seat and yelling. The driver starts making a phone call and I'm just freaking out a bit. The korean guy keeps apologizing to me and I tell him not to worry about me, that it's ok.
At this point, I decide I really need to get out of this psycho's car, so I hop out the door and stand in the middle of the traffic. The two guys are still yelling at each other and the driver gets out. The girl from the other car comes around by me and we were kind of at a loss. Then my driver literally starts really shoving the korean guy, almost towards the traffic, (very unnessarily I may add - the korean guy was yelling, but he was still more polite than I would have been and I am NICE). I had to jump in to tell him to stop. A few cars drove by with guys mimicking throwing fists and another car drove by and looked concerned and asked if they could call the police. What a difference! They stood away from each other while yelling and making phone calls (the Korean guy was also looking to flag down a cab for me). The girl asked me to sit in their car in the A/C, which I did. The korean guy gets back in the car and I tell him he really needs to call the police. Somehow, they managed to pull over off the road and started going at it again. I finally saw an empty cab and flagged him. I told the korean couple that I was sorry, but I had a meeting and I left. I was shaking a lot. My driver was saying horrible things and crazy things, like "Are you my father?" when the guy asked for his license or "I want to beat you!!!" when he started shoving him. I really thought he was going to hurt the korean guy when it was my driver's fault the whole time. I don't even know that I can say "fault" - it was so deliberate!
So, I then get the nicest taxi driver in the world to take me the rest of the way. I text Sam and Jamie to tell them what happened and Sam calls me soon after. The driver is all like "I'm so sorry to interrupt you ma'am..." Haha. He then tells me quicker directions for next time in a very polite way. I kept wondering about the poor korean couple, wishing I had thought to give them my number in case they needed me to assist them or be a witness.
As soon as he pulls up to my building, I look around to make sure I got everything when HOLY CRAP I FORGOT MY LAPTOPS!!!!!!!!! I had taken both laptops to work today so I could start transferring everything over so Jamie could take Fugro's back to CA. And they were BOTH in the laptop case. Not to mention a few pictures of my nephews. I didn't know what to do!!! The driver gives me a number to call and says to call immediately, but not to worry - I will get it back. Yeah, sure if you have a NORMAL driver and not a complete psycho.
I run up to my apartment and then I realize that my minutes on my phone are almost up. of course!!! Otherwise, it would be too easy huh? I contact Laila at Fugro and she gives me the mobile number of the actual driver (I really had hoped to never talk to him again) and she works on calling him too after I tell her about my limited minutes. I tell you, she was a lifesaver. The Du tech set everything up in record time (I think it was a total of 15 minutes...) and then I head to the Du office to reload my minutes. Then another crisis is that I accidentally added data credit instead of talking minutes - could this day get any worse??? I had to contact the customer service to get them to switch it over, which took another twenty minutes.
Finally both Laila and I had managed to talk to the driver, who was at the police station. The first time I talked to him, he told me the police wanted to talk to me and that I needed to tell them it was the "crazy philippino's" fault. Basically, he was blackmailing me. Which made me freak out even more because that guy needs to be off the streets and I had even considered calling the police on my own. It sounded like he was going to bring the cops to my place (apparently they were mad that the driver let me go in the first place), and I really didn't want to be stuck in the middle of that. I do not lie and I would have had to tell the cops everything with this guy watching and knowing where I live and work.
Between 12:30 and 3, I had talked to this guy about 3 or 4 times; he was at the police station the whole time and said he would call me when he left to bring me my laptop. That made me feel a little better - though he was still nuts so I didn't feel great. However, Laila had talked to the taxi company and since he was at the police station, they obviously had ALL of his info, so it was like he would get away with taking my laptop.
Basically, I was just going to freak out until I got my lap tops. And at 3:20, I did! PHEW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Well, as soon as I can stop shaking, maybe I can start laughing about this whole experience... Only in Dubai...